By Miriam Raftery
November 8, 2017 (San Diego) — Across the nation, Democrats scored decisive victories in elections held Tuesday. As CNN put it, “Across the map, in mayoral contests, state legislative races and ballot measures, everything broke Democrats' way.”
Democrats won Governor’s races in both Virginia and New Jersey, with Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy handily trouncing Republican opponents. Northam beat out a former George Bush aide and Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, who had been vocal in support of keeping Confederate monuments, while Murphy took back New Jersey’s gubernatorial seat from the party of Chris Christie.
The Democratic party also made gains in the Virginia statehouse, picking up 14 seats. Newly elected Democratic Virginia legislators include Danica Roem, a newspaper reporter who will be the nation’s first openly transgender lawmaker –ironically, she will replace Robert Marshall, who called himself Virginia’s “Chief homophobe” and had introduced a bill to restrict which bathrooms transgender persons could use.
Democrats also won mayoral races in major cities, legislative races in areas as diverse as Oregon and Florida, as well as key ballot measures. In every hotly contested race tallied thus far, the win has gone into the “blue” column. Republicans clung to wins in only a handful of solidly red seats. Even in Utah, where Republicans did win a special election to fill a vacancy in the House of Representatives, the winner was a former Democrat not aligned with President Trump on many positions.
The Democratic sweep could be a harbinger of serious trouble for Republicans when next year’s midterm Congressional elections are held, many political analysts predict. Polls found a vast majority of voters in Tuesday’s election said they opposed Trump policies and the President’s popularity ratings have dipped down into the 30s, according to reports in mainstream media outlets.
Some members, may see the writing on the wall. To date, 27 Republican members of Congress have announced they won’t be seeking reelection, making it even harder for the GOP to win open seats in those races next year.
The GOP still has solid control of the House, though only a slim majority in the Senate. Flipping the House has been seen as a long-shot, but the odds may have just gotten significantly better for Democrats.
As special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation broadens to ensnare more Trump team members on matters ranging from corruption to conspiring with Russia, if Democrats were to wrest back control of the House, the biggest loser could be Donald Trump—since Democrats would have the power to potentially initiate impeachment proceedings.