Unlike Trump’s proposed “wall” on the United States border with Mexico, Washington, Oregon and California’s state governments will create a “blue wall.” Democrat Manka Dhingra’s lead over Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund will give Democrats a one-seat majority in the State Senate. Thus, Democrats will control all of the governorships, State Houses and Senates of Washington, Oregon and California come January 20, 2018.
“We've had good bipartisan successes in Olympia over the past few years and that will continue… I also look forward to action on some issues that have stalled for too long,” said Governor Jay Inslee upon hearing of Dhingra’s lead.
Though Englund worked to distance herself from President Trump, her connection to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane, a stalwart Trump supporter, ultimately could not stop the electorate from associating Englund with President Trump. Englund’s association with McMorris Rodgers left a red “T” badge on her jacket.
Republican strategist and Daily Beast columnist Rick Wilson describes the effect of the “T” badge simply:
“Annihilated in the suburbs, this is what Trumpism has wrought… The Republican Party is dying in urban and suburban America,” said former Republican Party chairman and King County Councilmember Chris Vance.
Vance and Wilson’s sentiments could not be more evident than in the results of Virginia’s gubernatorial election. Republican Ed Gillespie lost in a landslide to Democrat Ralph Northam. The biggest surprise and obvious indicator of the electorate’s disapproval of Trump is that Northam received more votes than any other governor in Virginia’s history. Generally speaking, fewer people turn out to vote on off-year elections, making Northam’s victory one of historical importance.
Moreover, Gillespie’s Trump-like campaign strategies ultimately caused his downfall. His fear-mongering, anti-immigrant rhetoric in historically conservative, Southern Virginia and his pro-business talk in wealthy, Northern Virginia apparently backfired.
“I don't know how you get around that this wasn't a referendum on the administration, I just don't… Some of the very divisive rhetoric really prompted and helped usher in a really high Democratic turnout in Virginia,” Rep. Scott Taylor, a Republican who represents Virginia Beach, told the Washington Post. Taylor described how both Democrats and Republicans registered their disenchantment with the Trump administration.
“Ed couldn’t escape being a proxy for Trump, which killed him… It’s a huge drag on the ticket. It motivated the Democratic base. Democrats came out en masse in protest. This was their first chance to mobilize the base. The lesson here is that Republicans have to get their act together. Ed did as well as he could do with the hand he was dealt,” said former Republican congressman Tom Davis who represented Northern Virginia.
“Discrimination is a disqualifier,” said Danica Roem, who will be the nation’s first openly transgender lawmaker upon defeating Virginia’s notorious “chief homophone” Robert G. Marshall in one of Virginia’s House of Delegates elections. Marshall is known for proposing a “bathroom bill” that would prohibit transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender of which they identify.
“Anti-Trump landslide,” Vance said, analyzing the results of this year’s election, “is just a preview of next year.”
Is Vance correct? Will the 2018 Election lead to a Democratic sweep, as the 2010 Election did for Republicans after Obama’s 2008 victory?
BY LAURA BRINDLEY, CASCADE FORUM POLICY EDITOR