Outside of Maine — which held the first-in-the-nation ranked choice voting — it was a somewhat uneventful night on the national level, but for the fact that it confirmed that the GOP is most definitely the party of Trump now. It’s not about policy or “conservative principles,” it’s about who shows the most loyalty to President Trump. And that was most apparent in South Carolina, where a true conservative, Mark Sanford, lost out to Rep. Katie Arrington, because he was an outspoken critic of Donald Trump (and Trump spoke out against him on Twitter late yesterday). In Virginia, Corey Stewart — a guy who basically ran on the Confederate flag — won his Senate primary.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic party, it’s the same-old, same-old, for better or worse: The Democratic establishment continues to win. In general, the more progressive candidates are not gaining the nominations. We saw it in Virginia, South Carolina, and Nevada last night: The Democrats backed by the party or endorsed by establishment Democrats (like Joe Biden or Harry Reid) continue to win their primaries. I don’t know exactly how to feel about that — I like to think that the more moderate, establishment Democrats will fare better in November, but I’m also cognizant of the fact that voters are kind of sick of the same Democratic party leaders, and we are in desperate need of an exciting (more progressive) candidate to lead our party. In a lot of ways, voters — especially independent voters — no longer vote on the issues. They vote on the personalities, and it’s beginning to feel like every major election is a “change” election, and I’d like to see more “change” candidates, Democrats who reject the wealthy elite and endorse things like a $15 minimum wage and single-payer health care. That’s what the party is about, and I hate to see Democrats ceding the white blue-collar vote to Trump. Unions and teachers — those are our people, and I’d like to give them something to be more enthusiastic about besides fucking coal mines.
In either respect, it looks like Trump controls the GOP, and candidates who want to win their primaries will need to suck up to Trump. What’s less certain, however, is how that plays out in November. I suspect that Red States will get Redder, the Blue states will get Bluer, but it’s the Purple states — like Virginia — where I hold out hope that moderate Democrats will trounce Trump Republicans. It seems to be going that way in Wisconsin, at least, where Democrats flipped their 44th state legislative seat when Democrat Caleb Frostman won in a district where Donald Trump won by double-digits. It’s the second such flip in Wisconsin this year.
If there is a Blue Wave, it’s going to be thanks to states like Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
VA Republicans now have a big problem. If the race goes as expected—IF—and Kaine wins handily, the undertow for the GOP could produce 2 or 3 gains for Ds in House seats. That’s a real one-state contribution to the +23 seats (net) Dems need nationally.— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) June 13, 2018
If we can just flip one Chamber of Congress, you guys, everything will change.
Five more months.