Results of Tuesdays state and local elections show that Democrats are winning voter support because they are backing popular positions that will build a better future for ordinary Americans, while President Trump and his fellow Republicans are vulnerable to voter dissatisfaction in elections a year from now.
Strong Democratic showings were an unmistakable sign that Trump will not win reelection with clever slogans, insulting nicknames for rivals, Twitter tirades, or posturing as a tough guy and self-proclaimed very stable genius and chosen one. He needs to deliver real accomplishments to win another four years in the White House.
In 2016, as a political newcomer with no record to defend, Trump could promise anything and everything. He told voters Mexico would pay for his border wall, he would replace the Affordable Care Act with somethings incredibly superior, he would spark massive job growth, and on and on and on.
BEVIN REQUESTS KENTUCKY RECANVASS OF GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION, CLAIMS IRREGULARITIES
But today millions of Americans including many loyal Republican voters are concerned that health care and education are inadequate and far too costly; that farmers and manufacturers are suffering huge losses because of Trumps trade war with China and his tariffs on other countries; and that regulations to protect the environment and reduce climate change have been thrown out.
While the presidents brash and divisive rhetoric, fabrications and likely impeachment and Senate trial are major concerns, it is his unpopular stances on substantive issues that could be his electoral undoing.
With strong showings in the elections Tuesday, Democrats now have reason to be energized moving into the 2020 election cycle.
In ruby red Kentucky, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear had a razor-thin lead of about 5,000 votes over Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in race still too close to call. A recanvass of votes will be conducted Nov. 14.
Trump endorsed Bevin, who attempted to cut million from the state budget that was to be allocated for textbooks and other classroom materials, and abruptly cut teacher pensions.
In Trumpian fashion, Bevin absurdly referred to teachers who have devoted their lives to helping children as thugs and inexplicably blamed them for children being sexually assaulted in their homes. If Bevin loses, he will be the second Republican governor after Wisconsins Scott Walker to pick a fight with teachers and lose his job at the hands of angry voters.
Many people in Kentucky also realized that Bevin was not working in their best interest when he tried to add a work requirement to Medicaid, despite evidence that the vast majority of Medicaid recipients work. Low-income work is often not steady work, and the way Bevin designed his work requirement did not account for that fact.
While Kentuckians may not like former President Barack Obama, they do like how the Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid for 400,000 Kentucky residents. Democrats are the party arguing for universal health coverage either through revision and expansion of the Affordable Care Act or through the more progressive calls for Medicare-for-all.
But many Kentucky Republicans believed that despite Bevins intense unpopularity, he would still beat a Democrat in a state that President Trump won by 30 points.
A large number of Kentucky voters concluded that Democrats would do the best job meeting their needs, and cast Democratic ballots for that reason. The same thing happened in Virginia.
Democrats captured control Tuesday of both houses of the Virginia Legislature once considered reliably Republican.
It was only months ago that Trump supporters gloated over the dark cloud that covered Virginias Democratic Party due to assault allegations against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax and allegations that Gov. Ralph Northam wore blackface in college. Both Democrats rejected calls to resign and remain in office.
Virginia Republicans believed these circumstances would wash away memories of the hate-filled Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August 2017 and the tragic murder there of Heather Heyer, as well as the President Trumps disappointing response.
The Republicans thought Democratic voters would lack the enthusiasm to support their partys candidates, and that a moral equivalence had been established that would keep persuadable Republicans from jumping ship.
But Democrats won legislative races in Virginia because they ran on transitioning to green energy, fighting climate change and enacting sensible gun control.
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The Hampton Roads area of Virginia is seeing rising sea levels at an alarming rate that could potentially cause catastrophic and costly damage to the region.While Republicans express disdain for environmentalism and President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords, voters are taking climate change seriously.
Virginia Democrats are calling for lowered carbon emissions and job training programs to help workers transition from the old energy industry to a clean energy economy.Voters in Virginia were excited by such bold proposals, rather than by a mindset that puts limits on the possibilities of American ingenuity.
President Trump should be concerned that voters are less interested in his bravado and catch-phrases that make for slick viral hashtags, and more concerned about his failed leadership on important issues.
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Trumps temper tantrums, belief in absurd conspiracy theories, and behavior that many consider warrants impeachment and his removal from office certainly dont help his case for reelection, but arent even among the top issues.
A lot can happen in the next 12 months and no one knows if Trump will win another surprise victory in November 2020. But he has plenty to be worried about.
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