Local election echoes haunt Republicans
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?