Lo­cal elec­tion echoes haunt Repub­li­cans

The Review - - Opinion -

The echoes are still re­ver­ber­at­ing from theHills of Vir­ginia.

And out of the state­house in Tren­ton.

And across the Philadel­phia sub­urbs, where vot­ers made his­tory in Delaware, Ch­ester and Mont­gomery counties.

The echoes are voices of vot­ers who used their con­sti­tu­tional fran­chise to send a mes­sage – to theWhite House, to Congress and even their lo­cal county and mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments. Enough. Enough of the di­vi­sive talk. Enough of the par­ti­san bick­er­ing.

Enough of the ugly pol­i­tics that has been in over­drive since Don­ald Trump as­cended to the White House one year ago.

Vot­ers across the coun­try went to their polling places and elected Democrats in star­tling num­bers, a clear re­pu­di­a­tion of the ugly tenor set by Trump dur­ing his cam­paign and first nine months in the White House.

The first elec­tion since Trump took the oath of of­fice can only be seen as a sting­ing re­pu­di­a­tion of Trump World.

In Vir­ginia, Repub­li­can Ed Gille­spie, who adopted Trump’s hard-line rhetoric on im­mi­gra­tion and other is­sues, was re­jected by vot­ers. Demo­crat Ralph Northamwas elected the state’s new gov­er­nor.

Out­go­ing Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the for­mer head of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee, did not shy away from tak­ing aim at the pres­i­dent.

“Fear and di­vi­sion and ha­tred do not work,” McAuliffe said.

It wasn’t just the gov­er­nor’s race. Democrats also erased a GOP­ma­jor­ity in the Vir­ginia House of Del­e­gates. And it was not just Vir­ginia. In New Jer­sey, Demo­crat Phil Mur­phy swamped Repub­li­can Kim Guadagno, who had served as lieu­tenant gov­er­nor un­der Chris Christie. It’s hard to tell­who vot­ers liked less, Christie or Trump.

Mur­phy, who had never run for pub­lic of­fice, called it a re­pu­di­a­tion of Trump poli­cies on health care and im­mi­gra­tion.

Across the river in the Philly sub­urbs, lo­cal races were cap­tur­ing na­tional head­lines.

In both Delaware and Ch­ester counties, Democrats made his­tory by do­ing some­thing they had never been able to do.

In Delco, Democrats won two seats up for grabs on theDel- aware County Coun­cil, where noDemo­crat has had a seat at the ta­ble of power since 1980, when the Home Rule Char­ter ended the man­dated mi­nor­ity party rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Dems also cap­tured all three row of­fices, some­thing else that has never hap­pened be­fore.

One of theGOP’s most re­li­able strongholds, Ch­ester County, saw star­tling change with Democrats win­ning his­toric firsts in races for county row of­fices. No Demo­crat had ever been elected to a row of­fice in Ch­ester County.

Un­like other sub­ur­ban ar­eas, where voter reg­is­tra­tion has been chang­ing, Ch­ester County has re­mained solidly GOP. Yet for the first time in county his­tory, more Democrats cast their bal­lots Tues­day than Repub­li­cans.

You have to go back to the post-Water­gate elec­tion of 1974 to see such a seis­mic ero­sion of Repub­li­can power in the sub­urbs.

“Don­ald Trump­was on the bal­lot,” said Brian McGin­nis, chair­man of the Ch­ester County Demo­cratic Com­mit­tee. “Whether or not his name was there, he was on the bal­lot.”

Now all eyes are turn­ing to the 2018mid-term elec­tions.

Once again the sub­urbs will be part of the na­tional spot­light. Mod­er­ate Repub­li­can U.S. Reps. Pat Mee­han, R-7, of Chadds Ford, and Ryan Costello, R-6 of West Goshen, will face the mine­field that has be­come Trump pol­i­tics.

Bet on Dems link­ing them to the pres­i­dent at every turn, no doubt start­ing with re­minders that while they even­tu­ally re­jected the GOP health care plan, both ini­tially passed it out of their com­mit­tees.

It will be a huge elec­tion in Penn­syl­va­nia, where in­cum­bent Demo­crat­icGov. TomWolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, both Democrats, will be seek­ing an­other term.

Franklin and Mar­shall Col­lege poll­ster and pub­lic af­fairs pro­fes­sor Terry Madonna summed up the dilemma for GOP can­di­dates in the­wake of last Tues­day’s on­slaught of Demo­cratic vot­ers at the polls.

“The Repub­li­cans have a ma­jor chal­lenge in front of them,” Madonna said. “What do they do with Pres­i­dent Trump?”

And what do they do with those echoes from every cor­ner of the coun­try that have been ring­ing in their ears since last Tues­day?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.