I was relieved to see that Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam will be the next governor of Virginia. Ed Gillespie, his Republican opponent seemed to be gaining momentum over the past month. There are a lot of articles out there dissecting what happened…why Northam carried the day…why this was a Trump referendum…why the Dems are getting their shit together…etc, etc, etc. [DNC: don’t spike the ball yet]

This victory and the numbers/margins that go with it give me pause about what we saw a year ago. And it strengthens my position that Hillary Clinton needs to go away. Something that I have been discussing on social media with other pundits and activists today.

This is an off year election. But not only off year, an odd year election. Elections that are notorious for low voter turnout and low Democratic voter turn out. Apparently Democrats only like to vote for president. But not only did Mr. Northam win, he beat Hillary Clinton in several metrics.

“Northam’s vote margin in Hampton Roads was more than 4,000 votes bigger than Clinton’s last year, a surprise since so many more people vote in presidential elections. Northam’s military background and hometown on the Eastern Shore may have provided extra momentum in that region,” Dan Keating and Kevin Uhrmacher explain. “Northam’s margin in Central Virginia around Richmond was similarly more than 4,000 votes bigger than Clinton’s there. His margin in Northern Virginia did not top Clinton’s, but it was bigger than [Obama] won it by in either of his winning campaigns

Nonwhite voters turned out at presidential election rates in Virginia, surprising the experts who were trying to model the election on both sides. African Americans accounted for 21 percent of voters, according to the exits, the same as in 2016. When McAuliffe won four years ago, nonwhite voters accounted for 28 percent of the electorate. On Tuesday, they made up 33 percent of those who voted

“He drew larger portions of the vote than Clinton did in every region of Virginia, outperforming her especially among young people and white women with college degrees, according to preliminary exit polls. But Northam failed to make gains in Democratic weak spots such as with rural and less-educated voters.”

and from Jennifer Rubin:

Northam ran ahead of Clinton, who won the state by 4 points. It’s one more indication that Clinton was simply not able to generate the kind of enthusiasm Democrats now need to defeat Trumpists.

Tom Perriello, who lost the Democratic primary to Northam, earned a ton of goodwill in his party. Instead of moping, he worked extremely hard for Northam, helping to turn out a big liberal vote (28 percent of the electorate).

So my take away? No matter how much affection the party might have for Hillary Clinton it can’t look back and continue to use the Clinton name or Clinton style to run campaigns. The numbers in Virginia seem to indicate that she is exactly the divisive candidate many pundits said she was. Northam out ran her record in an off year election. She failed to bring out the vote and inspire voters to cast their ballots period…much less cast their ballots for her. And Mr. Northam couldn’t be more moderately moderate for even a Democrat.

And the party has to stay unified ala Mr Perriello post primary if we want to win the generals.

And I am going to ignore all the it’s an anti-Trump tidal wave…we can’t run against anymore…Clinton did that…we have to stand for something.

6 Responses to One Quick Take Away From the Virginia Gubernatorial Contest

  1. Gregory says:

    I would argue to some extent Northam used the Bill Clinton model of a middle way to run and of course won big. Northam plowed a middle furrow in the political field and saw his crop come in as hoped. That too is a lesson.

  2. All1dr says:

    “So my take away? No matter how much affection the party might have for Hillary Clinton it can’t look back and continue to use the Clinton name or Clinton style to run campaigns. The numbers in Virginia seem to indicate that she is exactly the divisive candidate many pundits said she was. Northam out ran her record in an off year election. She failed to bring out the vote and inspire voters to cast their ballots period…much less cast their ballots for her. And Mr. Northam couldn’t be more moderately moderate for even a Democrat.”
    It seems to me the divisive candidate was Trump. The media, Comey, Russia, and your beloved Bernie didn’t help much either. I’d say the massive turnout is due to the fact that Democrats and sane voters learned their lesson in 2016. Votes count. If you stay home, the entire country loses.
    In addition, what is your problem with Hillary Clinton? Good God, you’re worse than the Republicans. She has been supporting and encouraging ‘everyone’ to run, and I’d say it showed on Tuesday and it is proving true in WI. I understand that Hillary-bashing has become a national past time, but I really expect better from you. Knock it off.

    • Ed Heinzelman says:

      All1dr,

      If you’ve read me before you know that I have never been a BernieBro. And I am disappointed that Ms. Clinton lost the election. If you had read my previous post that I linked in this one you would have seen this: “Full disclosure: I supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries with my vote and my wallet and I repeated that in the general election.”

      That being said, I still think it is time that we all moved on and allow Ms. Clinton to be the elder statesperson of the party and let the next generation run the thing.

      I am reticent to put all of this on the anti-Trump bandwagon…as I said in my opening graph: “[DNC: don’t spike the ball yet]” I don’t want to return to the complacency that fatally hurt us in 2016. It is going to take a lot of hard work and unity to win in 2018.

      And I hardly think that suggesting that Ms. Clinton step back and let the party pursue a new strategy is Clinton bashing. I really don’t. I just think I am stating a fact based on the events we just witnessed.

      If we want to credit the improved turnout…some of it belongs to former President Obama.

      And lastly…please stop by and comment more often!!

      • onevote says:

        This “BernieBro” meme, Ed, you keep promoting is tired and less than true. It’s the same idea that HRC pushed in 2008 against Obama, meaning that if you don’t think all Hillary, then you’re sexist, or in the case with 2016, you’re also racist.

        Truly, Sanders brought all sorts of Independents into the Democratic sphere, and Hillary would not have won the popular vote without thoses terrible Sanders thinkers that followed what Sanders told them to do–vote for the Party nominee. ‘Twould certainly be better than Trump.

        This is not hard to understand, and it’s the reason that Sanders took the Wisconsin primary, winning 71 out of 72 counties in our State. It was a rejection of HRC, along with what our DPW politics has been operating with for a long time now.

        • Ed Heinzelman says:

          I understand your point and I should have been more clear. When I use BernieBro, I am not thinking about the majority of the people who support Senator Sanders. I did in fact mean it as a pejorative against those fanatics who continue litigating the 2016 election. I will try to clarify my use of it (if I use it again) in the future.

  3. All1dr says:

    Mr. H.,
    My ‘beloved Bernie” was not a personal comment about your political views. I have read many of your posts, although not all of them. But my objection has nothing to do with who you supported in 2016. I object to one more person spouting off about how Hillary needs to go away. I hardly think that Mrs. Clinton is keeping the party from pursuing a new strategy or any other pursuit they might entertain. Once again, there is an assumption that she is such a manipulative, powerful, untrustworthy woman, that you need to tell her to go away. I chose to refer to a few of the forces that hampered her campaign. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have the sense to see, rationally, that many factors were responsible for the outcome in 2016, including decisions that she made. Regarding Mr. Perriello, Mrs. Clinton was the ideal former opponent in 2008 when she campaigned tirelessly for President Obama. In terms of explaining the turnout in VA, I meant that many people learned a bitter lesson last year when they stayed home on election day. We are all suffering the consequences. Additionally, hundreds of grassroots movements have sprouted and flourished as a result of that election.
    Mrs. Clinton is the elder statesperson and deserves so much more respect and gratitude than she will ever receive, apparently even from supporters.

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