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Return to normalcy, or GOP smackdown?

November 8, 2017

It wasn’t exactly a surprise that Democrats won governors races in New Jersey and Virginia, both states that voted against the Republican candidate in 2016.

Both states voted against Trump in the 2016 election, and are known to lean toward Dems in most political races. Statistically, Virginia has voted Democratic over 8% more of the time since 1900 (54.17 to 45.83).  Gillespie lost by a little over 9 points.

New Jersey was almost a foregone conclusion, given both its party registration totals and that Chris Christie managed to tick off members of both parties on a regular basis.

What about Virginia? It is widely thought to more closely resemble the nation’s political picture, with its most populous northeastern counties heavily dependent on the Federal government for both economic health and employment mirroring the east and west coasts while the rest of state is demographically more like middle America.

What will be telling is how many Republicans and independents in Virginia actually turned out to vote. If those numbers show a marked decline from 2016, the GOP may have itself a problem.

While that is not unusual in itself (the party that loses a presidential contest is almost always more motivated to vote the next time around) it is disturbing that Gillespie ran on a typical law and order establishment Republican platform and yet failed to come within even three points of Northam, in spite of the tasteless attack ad that even mainstream Democrats rushed to disavow.

People are tired of politics in general. Pre-internet, you voted for a president every four years,  and then things settled down for two or three years before you had to wade through the slime every night just to watch TV. Now it never ends.

Voter fatigue may be more important in 2018 than any candidate’s platform.

On the other side of that coin, never has the country been made more aware of how sleazy, self-serving and anti-democracy politics really is, on both sides.

Republicans and independents may have thought that they could make one big statement by electing Donald Trump and it would change the system. Now they know better.

Their fight isn’t against a person, it’s against the machine that controls them.

In an unintended political metaphor on another subject, one man said wryly  “Hell, why not self-driving cars? We’ve already got a self-driving government.”

This is of course being portrayed as an anti-Trump result in the MSM. It’s more than that.

When given a list of his campaign promises alongside a list of how many of those promises he has fulfilled, Trump actually comes out pretty OK with GOP voters, especially in those areas he has had the power to change by himself.

The Republican party on the other hand is still getting a solid thumbs down, often being viewed as being as just as anti-change as the Democrats. They point to Republicans refusing to repeal Obamacare, and now the intra-party rivalries over the new tax plan as proof that the fix against the people is still in.

That’s the perception Republicans have to change if they want to win these contested elections and so far, they are doing a lousy job of it.

From → op-ed

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