The night before the election in Kentucky, Donald Trump held one of his hate rallies in that state in support of Governor Matt Bevin and said, “If you lose, they will say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. You can’t let that happen to me, and you can’t let that happen to your incredible state.” Last night, Kentucky voters let that happen to him.
Don’t misread the results in Kentucky. Bevin was an extremely bad governor and highly controversial. One anonymous Republican was credited for saying last night that it’s “slightly worse in Kentucky to be an asshole than it is to be a liberal.” Democrat Andy Beshear had goodwill from his father’s tenure as governor, and he didn’t run on a liberal platform or against Trump. His campaign focused on Medicaid expansion. Republicans did win every statewide seat except the governor’s mansion.
But Bevin was a chaos candidate who wrapped himself around the chaos of Donald Trump and tried to nationalize his campaign as one on conservative grievances against the impeachment of Trump. Trump defended his support by giving himself credit for Bevin having a near loss instead of a massive one. The message here is: Invite Trump for a hate rally and you’ll only barely lose.
Trump will win Kentucky in 2020. But there are alarming signs for Republicans from last night. Mostly that the suburbs, which used to be solid Republican, are continuing to trend toward Democrats. And if being an asshole is worse than being a liberal in Kentucky, what does that spell for Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020? In case you’re a Republican and haven’t noticed, they’re both assholes.
Perhaps an even bigger loss for Republicans is what happened in my home state of Virginia last night. As predicted, Democrats won control of the state house and senate. With a Democratic governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, Democrats get to rewrite congressional districts. Last night, they won in districts drawn by Republicans. It was also what they call an “off-off year” for an election, as neither presidential or gubernatorial candidates were on the ballot. Despite that, there was a strong voter turnout. For the GOP, Virginia is gone.
Virginia is the only state of the old south that voted against Donald Trump in 2016. It will again in 2020. The only other two states Democrats can compete for will be Florida and North Carolina. Sorry, Dems. Texas and Georgia aren’t there yet.
Republicans are hoping to use the impeachment of Donald Trump to rile up their base in 2020. But even in Kentucky, where Trump won by over 30% in 2016, the impeachment didn’t have an impact. It probably won’t have much sway in tighter states Trump won like Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan.
The blue moon of Kentucky shone last night. Hopefully, voters will “let it happen” to Trump again in 2020 and we’ll never have to see his orange moon again.
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