Prologue: On Tuesday, November 7, one year after Donald J. Trump was elected president, the American people sent him a resounding rejection message. Women and men across the country voted in droves against his policies, programs, statements on TV and incessant tweets that revealed his incompetence, bigotry and ignorance of the duties of president,as defined in The U.S. Constitution. They had watched as his policies and programs were halted or banned by the Courts, and voted down by the Congress. Trump experienced daily “checks and balances” of the executive branch. Signing “executive orders” has been his favorite means of flexing power, surrounded in the Oval Office by supporters and photographers taking his picture as he holds up the latest order.
Virginia Election results: Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, a low-key physician and Gulf War Army veteran defeated Republican Ed Gillespie, a corporate lobbyist, in a racially charged campaign by nine points. Trump, very unpopular in Virginia, had not been invited to appear with Gillespie. Voters ranked Health Care as one of their chief issues. Democrats also captured the Lt. Governor and Attorney General positions. The VA House of Delegates with 67 Republicans to 37 Democrats was hit by a tsunami. Fifteen Republican incumbents, all men, were defeated by first time Democrats, eight women and seven men. One seat remained contested. It was possible that the Democrats would gain control and would challenge gerrymandered districts. Danica Roem, a transgender woman had unseated Bob Marshall who described himself as the “chief Homophobe” and had written the state’s transgender bathroom bill. He had refused to debate Roem, and insisted on calling her “he” and “him”. After she won, Roem said,” I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is one of my constituents now.”
New Jersey Election Results: The Governor’s race was won by Phillip Murphy, a former Wall Street banker without any government experience. He defeated Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, whose closeness to Governor Chris Christie dogged her throughout the campaign. Christie, ending a tumultuous eight years fighting with the Democratic legislature, carried the Bridgegate scandal and close connections to PresidentTrump. He now holds the lowest approval rating of any state governor in modern history at 14 percent. Murphy campaigned as a progressive, promising a $15 collar minimum wage, legalization of marijuana and a vow to stand up to the policies of the president. In Hoboken, Ravi Bhalla became the state’s first Sikh mayor by overcoming an ethnic smear campaign with his image in a turban and the slogan, “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town.” In another New Jersey local election to the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders, John Carman, Republican incumbent, lost his seat to Ashley Bennett, a 32 year old health care worker. He had watched the Women’s Anti- Trump March on January 21 and mocked it on Facebook, asking “whether the protest would be over in time for them to cook dinner.” Ashley Bennett decided to run against him when she heard his question.
Suburban and City Voters Chose Democrats: From the East coast to the West, Republican voters in suburbs and cities deserted Donald Trump, choosing Democrats for local and state positions. Representative Charles Dent,a leader of the moderate Republican caucus in the House is not running next year. His comment on the election results:”Voters are taking their anger out at the president, and the only way they can do that is by going after Republicans on the ballot.” He also commented on the fact that 29 House Republicans will retire this year in contrast to seven Democrats, “Do they really want to go through another year of this?” In Washington State, Democrats took control of the State Senate in a special election. This meant the entire West coast, California, Oregon and Washington are now in Democratic control. Chris Vance, former chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, completely blamed the president when he said, “Among college educated suburbanites, he is a pariah.”.
In the Deep South, Georgia Democrats won two House seats where no candidates had run before. They also won a Senate seat in a suburban district of Atlanta. Far North in Maine, the Republican governor, Paul Le Page, had blocked Medicaid for 80,000 low income families available under the ACA. . Through a ballot proposal, 59 % of the voters approved versus 41%. Racial barriers fell in many cities; Charlotte, North Carolina elected Vi Lyles, former city administrator as its first black female mayor. Kathy Tran, a Vietnamese American, was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. She said, “This election was a clear rejection of bigotry, hatred and racial violence.”
Epilogue: Donald Trump was far away on his Asia trip when the American people sent him the powerful rejection message with their votes. Millions of men, women and children had watched the Charlottesville events over four months earlier. They had heard President Trump hold citizen protestors of Neo Nazis and Ku Klux Klan marchers in their city described as equally responsible for the violence and ultimate murder of a protestor. “Both sides” responsible, he said. And “both sides had fine people”. His comments sent shock waves throughout the country.
Governor Ralph Northam expressed the strong feelings of the American people who cast their votes in this significant election when he said, “We live in a very diverse society. It is getting more diverse every day. It is that diverse society that makes our country great.”
………………………………………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson