American elections provide major wins for Democrats and diversity

Outside of the USA, the media focus on American elections is concentrated on the four-yearly event when Americans elect the president, the whole of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate. There is some media interest in what are called the ‘mid-term’ elections when every two years voters again elect the whole of the House of Representatives and a different third of the Senate.

But, of course, in a very large, federal nation like the United States, there are always elections going on somewhere, most of them at state and county level but some of them with implications for the federal government. This week has been one of those times. And it’s been an excellent week for Democrats fighting back after Trump’s  election to the White House a year ago and for diversity at a time when Trump and his allies are so bigoted and discriminatory.

Sone of the bigger victories are as follows:

  • In Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie by nearly nine percent, the biggest margin of victory for Democrats in the state’s governorship election in decades.
  • In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy crushed Republican Chris Christie with a 14 percentage point lead.
  • In New York City, incumbent Democrat mayor Bill de Blasio won re-election, taking 67% of the vote.
  • In Boston, again the Democratic mayor; Marty Walsh, was returned with a good majority.

Furthermore, the elections brought a substantial number of firsts and near-firsts for racial and religious minorities, for the LGBT community and for far-left progressives.

You can check out 10 such victories  here.

But Democrats did not win every contest on Tuesday night. For instance, a special election in Utah kept an open House of Representatives seat in Republican hands.

Meanwhile President Donald Trump, currently touring Asia, has a disapproval rating of 59%, the worst figure for any president at this point in his term since modern polling began and the worst mark for his term so far. Yet 81% of Republicans still approve of his performance.

So what happens now?

Democrats will be focused on the election to the House of Representatives in November 2018 and stand a reasonable chance of securing a majority – but there is a lot of hard work to do. As a consequence of gerrymandering, money in politics and voter suppression, Democrats will face plenty of challenges next year.

As far as the White House is concerned, I can’t see a ‘smoking gun’ appearing from investigations into the relationship between Trump and Russia and I can’t see a successful impeachment of Trump, but I could imagine him resigning either through scandal or frustration. The trouble is that he would be succeeded by Vice-President Mike Spence who is ideologically probably even worse than Trump. But at least we might have some basic competency in the Oval Office.


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