7 Takeaways From Election Day 2017:

7 Takeaways From Election Day 2017:

Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (right) and Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax greet supporters at an election night rally Tuesday after the Democrats’ victory.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democrats won up and down the ballot Tuesday night, notably in the governors’ races in Virginia and New Jersey. The victories were a much-needed sigh of relief for a party that hadn’t had any high-profile victories at the ballot box during the first year of the Trump presidency — despite his record-low approval ratings.

Here are seven takeaways from what happened Tuesday and what it means:

1. The resistance can win. Voters delivered Democrats their first rebuke of President Trump at the ballot box during his presidency. Before Tuesday night, Democrats had shrunk the margins in multiple special elections but came up short. Tuesday’s results will give what were nervous Democrats some much-needed confidence.

2. Trumpism has its limits. Democrats were able to hold the line and made inroads in suburban areas rich with professionals and those with college degrees. Tuesday’s results will be a big warning sign for any elected Republican in a Democratic or moderate-leaning state or district. Both governors’ races were rife with incendiary ads hitting on cultural issues and crime.

Despite Trump’s warning that Republican Ed Gillespie didn’t hew closely enough to Trumpism, the president was unpopular at the ballot box.

Almost 6 in 10 Virginia voters said they disapproved of the job Trump was doing (57 percent), according to exit polls, and twice as many people said they were motivated to go to the polls to reject him than those motivated to support him.

“I do believe that this is a referendum on this administration,” Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor of the swing Virginia Beach area told The New York Times. He blamed Trump’s “divisive rhetoric” for the sweeping losses statewide.

Democrat Ralph Northam won by 9 points, the widest victory for a Democrat in the governor’s race since Gerald Baliles won by 11 points in 1985, when the state was very different.

Watch for elected Republicans in these kinds of areas to give a second thought to using the kinds of Trumpian tactics that Gillespie, and to an extent Republicans in New Jersey, used. Remember: Trump lost Virginia and New Jersey, so being more like Trump in those areas doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

3. A shifting of old political lines continues. Democrats upped their margins in Northern Virginia and formerly swing suburban counties. Meanwhile, Democrats continued their slide in rural, western Virginia.


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