Democrats had a strong election night yesterday, winning the race for governor in Kentucky and taking back full control of the Virginia legislature for the first time in nearly a quarter century.
Some caveats: The Kentucky race is within the margin for a recount, and the Republican incumbent governor, Matt Bevin, is not conceding. Also, Bevin was among the most unpopular governors in the country, and other Republican leaders in the state outperformed him on Tuesday.
But Democrat Andy Beshear’s win was still a big loss for Trump, who campaigned in Kentucky just a day before the election, explicitly tying Bevin’s race to his own reputation. The results also showed that Democrats in Kentucky were fired up — Beshear outperformed the 2015 Democratic gubernatorial candidate in many areas of the state.
Democratic successes Tuesday in the vote-rich suburbs of Philadelphia were also cited as another example of Republican trouble in Pennsylvania, which Trump won in 2016. In the critical Delaware County suburbs, Democrats held on to all five seats on the county council and the party also did well in local races in nearby Bucks County.
How does all this affect Trump’s political fortunes? Do Republicans take a look at Tuesday night’s electoral results and rethink whether they want to stick with the president on impeachment? (I suspect not) Will it affect Trump’s 2020 campaign strategy or his governing posture? Will the president look, in any way, to try to partner with Democrats on something popular, or will he continue his current posture, which is he’s being impeached for doing nothing wrong, and there’s nothing really the two parties can work on?
Well, I suppose there are two ways to look at it. One way: Rs can say they won the Mississippi governor race, and they won almost the entire slate of races in Kentucky and Bevin lost because he was unpopular. All of that’s true — but just part of the story. The other way to look at it is: Pennsylvania is slipping away, Virginia is gone and Kentucky — a state Trump won by nearly 30 points in 2016 — has elected a Democrat in a race where impeachment was center stage.
What’s going on in all these states? If there is a common factor, it is that Democrats are (1) voting more in off-election years; and (2) Democrats are making significant inroads into the suburbs and even rural areas adjacent to the suburbs. Is this because of Trump? Maybe.
Breakdown of governors, by party, on that fateful day of 1-20-17— Maggie Jordan (@MaggieJordanACN) November 6, 2019
After tonight’s elections
Trump was right. 👇 Wait until 2020https://t.co/15jVz7ZesE
Here’s Trump saying at his rally in Kentucky last night that Matt Bevin losing “sends a really bad message” and pleading with his fans, “you can’t let that happen to me!”— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 6, 2019
Welp, it happened. pic.twitter.com/LUHSUAgSnB
It's not the most important win of the night, but it is my favorite. https://t.co/TsQYMYlsF2— jess mcintosh (@jess_mc) November 6, 2019
Trump tried to put a positive spin on it….
Based on the Kentucky results, Mitch McConnell @senatemajldr will win BIG in Kentucky next year!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2019