The Virginia House and Senate flipped from red to blue overnight. The Democratic party is energized like never before.
There is no doubt that the United States is far more divided now than in recent times. With President Donald Trump at the helm of widening the dichotomy between the Democrats and Republicans, bi-partisanship has unfortunately become a distant goal. Nonetheless, the GOP as a whole must also be questioned — are their rhetoric and ideologies no longer popular among Americans? As the nation moves forward, perhaps its people are searching for forward-looking and progressive policies as well. There is nowhere this is better displayed than in midwestern Virginia, where the Democratic party just enjoyed a sweeping win. They managed to flip the State House, Senate, and Governor's Office to finally, after two decades, gain control of the Virginia General Assembly, The Washington Post reports.
The move became official on Tuesday, November 5, when several polls—though incredibly close—closed to affirm that Democrats had "flipped at least two seats in the state Senate and at least five in the House of Delegates to take majorities in both." Historically, this was one of the most expensive (and tight) elections to ever take place in Virginia. The majority win has largely been attributed to the funding national Democratic organizations and interest groups flooded Virginia with capital, boosting spending in the suburban race to levels comparable with races at the Congressional level.
Needless to say, the win has come as a severe blow to the Republican party who previously controlled both the House and the Senate as well as the President. Though the Republicans seemed reenergized when Trump assumed office in 2016, it appears that they have lost traction. According to former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, also a Democrat, this may not just be in Virginia either: "They’re not only losing Virginia, they’re losing America," he told reporters. "I think Donald Trump was humiliated tonight. Trump wasn’t on the ballot this year. However, his policies, his lunacy was on the ballot, and I think it energized Democrats."
And Governor McAuliffe could be right. The recent state elections saw unusually high turnout; When The Washington Post interviewed some of the Democrats who had voted, they all seemed to want to push back against Trump and the GOP overall — not just state candidates. David Shonka, a 78-year-old lawyer and lifelong Democrat, for instance, voted a straight Democratic ticket in order "to protest the behavior of Trump and the GOP." He said, "It really begins at the top, then it flows into the Senate, then it flows into the House, and then, yes, to issues at a more local level. The Republicans have lost the right to govern."
"The behavior of Trump and the GOP" have also claimed Republicans, converting them, ironically, to staunch Democrats. Such was the case with retired Richard Stark, 71, who also voted a straight Democratic ticket despite aligning with the Republican party for many years. He told The Washington Post that the GOP "abandoned the principles for which it stood when [he] was growing up." Does this signify a trend that might be replicated during the upcoming 2020 Presidential elections? The Democrats can only hope.