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.”
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.