Why yesterday’s election results are bad for Trump

The 2017 election didn’t change the fact that Donald Trump was elected as our nation’s president in 2016. But the November 7th election left some Democrats feeling reinvigorated. Considering only two states — New Jersey and Virginia — held major races, you might be wondering why the 2017 election results are a bad sign for Trump. Perhaps it seems like liberals are getting ahead of themselves by being so triumphant about the progressive wins from the 2017 election, but some political analysts agree that the tide may be turning against Trump.

Even before the November 7th election, Trump’s approval rating was at an all-time low. But the election results — particularly in Virginia, where Democrat Ralph Northam won the governor’s seat and Democrats beat Republican incumbents in the state legislature — may indicate that the backlash against Trump has real repercussions in the voting booths. As Marc Fisher for The Washington Post stated, the 2017 election “marks voters’ first major repudiation of the Trump administration.”

Aaron Blake for The Washington Post pointed out that the two Republican gubernatorial nominees in 2017 — former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie in Virginia and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in New Jersey — embraced Trump’s strong anti-immigration stance. And both Republican candidates lost to Democrats.

Following Gillespie’s loss, Trump tried to distance himself from the candidate by tweeting that Gillespie “did not embrace me or what I stand for,” which insinuates that he would have won had he been more aligned with Trump.


However, CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote, “There’s simply no empirical evidence in exit polling or the raw data that suggests that contention to be true.”

Cillizza continued:

"Half of the Virginia voters said Trump was a factor in their vote on Tuesday, with twice as many saying they wanted to send Trump a message of opposition as said they wanted to send him a message of support. In places like Loudoun and Chesterfield counties — exurban and suburban, respectively — Gillespie badly underperformed past GOP nominees. Adjusting for all variables, it's hard not to see how that difference is primarily attributable to Trump."


Cillizza also wrote that only 30 percent of voters in Virginia and 29 percent of voters in New Jersey identified themselves as Republicans. Cillizza said that this lack of Republicans voting is “not good if you are a Republican strategist trying to figure out how to win in 2018.”

Regarding how the 2017 election could impact next year’s midterm election, Andrew Prokop deep dove into that over on Vox. Prokop wrote:

"Even in normal times, it's difficult for an incumbent president's party to defend seats in midterm elections. These are not normal times. Virginia's results suggest Democratic voters have grown extraordinarily energized, particularly in the suburbs. And they suggest GOP control of the House of Representatives will be in real danger in 2018."

Prokop also noted that Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives in 2018 “would be a disaster” for Trump’s presidency.

Even beyond the federal government, local elections proved that progressives will not stand for Trump’s hateful rhetoric against people of color, the LGBT community, immigrants, women, and more with some historic wins. Just consider that the openly transgender Danica Roem defeated 13-term incumbent Bob Marshall, who opposes LGBTQ+ rights, to become elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

So while you have every right to feel wary about celebrating too much after the 2017 election, there were real, human reminders that we won’t be living in Trumpland forever.

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