Tales of the resistance: Trump and bathroom hysteria take a beating | Arkansas Blog

Tales of the resistance: Trump and bathroom hysteria take a beating


THRASHES TRUMPISM: Ralph Northam, Virginia's new governor.
  • THRASHES TRUMPISM: Ralph Northam, Virginia's new governor.
What an election night for the Trump resistance.

An anti-Trump wave carried a Democrat to victory in the race for governor of Virginia. A Democrat also took back the New Jersey statehouse and black candidates were elected lieutenant governor in both states. Virginia Democrats erased a 32-seat Republican advantage in the House of Delegates, that state's version of the House of Representatives. Maine voters approved the Medicaid-expansion allowed under Obamacare. A lawyer for Black Lives Matter was elected prosecutor in Philadelphia. Opponents of the Billionaire Boys Club charter/voucher school agenda retook a Colorado school board. A lesbian was elected mayor of Seattle. A black woman won a huge victory in the mayor's race in Charlotte.

HISTORY MAKER: Transgender winner in Virginia House race.
  • HISTORY MAKER: Transgender winner in Virginia House race.
The Virginia anti-trump wave sent 10 women, including first-time Asian and Latina representatives, to the state legislature. Best for last: Danica Roem became the first trangender legislator in the U.S. with her victory over Bob Marshall, self-described as the homophobe in chief of Virginia. Marshall refused to acknowledge Roem's gender and made the race all about bathrooms. Roem got support for her historic role, but she talked mostly about traffic congestion in northern Virginia.

The bad news: Arkansas is not Virginia. Wins last night came in areas already generally blue. Pulaski County doesn't approach vote-rich northern Virginia as a counter-balance to the rest of the state. Trump's message played well in the rest of Virginia, with big margins for Trump, particularly among white voters (men especially, but the Republican also won the white women's vote 51-49 according to Virginia exit polls). In Arkansas, Trump enjoys a 47-40 favorable rating while he is deeply negative nationally.

But that doesn't mean there aren't lessons in Ralph Northam's generally centrist campaign for Virginia governor; the power of women candidates; the appeal of local issues over Trumpism's cookie-cutter appeals to bigotry and fear. Gains are possible in targeted districts. And be thankful for the inevitable results of time. Older voters, who lean Trump and his message, are dying. Younger voters, 18-29, gave the Virginia governor's candidate a 39-point margin. The youth vote is worth reaching — and is reachable — with a more inclusive message. It will take time — in Arkansas probably more than I have — but Tuesday proved the value of investment in resistance. In targeted races, you can even oppose the NRA. Northam did. So did a Virginia Democratic House candidate — his girlfriend killed on-air by gunshots — who ran on a gun safety platform. Weaponry is not considered a sacrament by all voters.

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