If you don’t believe that Donald Trump could be dead weight on the GOP in 2018, check out the stunning vote tally in last night’s special election in southwest Florida.
For the 36th time since the dark dawn of the Trump occupation, Democrats flipped a state legislative seat from red to blue — further confirmation that grassroots voters, repulsed by Trump and his supine party, are determined to right the historic wrongs of 2016. Revolts work best from the bottom up, and rest assured, Republicans fear it’s coming. As ex-Trump mouthpiece Corey Lewandowski said Sunday in Florida, Democrats “are winning elections in places where they shouldn’t be.”
Last night was a classic example. Newbie Democratic candidate Margaret Good — one of a wave of women running as Democrats in 2018 — easily snatched a red state House district where, in normal times, she likely would’ve been trounced.
This happened on the Gulf Coast, in diehard-Republican Sarasota. In the state House district that covers most of Sarasota County, registered Republican voters outpace registered Democrats by 10 percentage points. Trump won the district in ’16 by 4.4 points. James Buchanan, the Republican candidate for the open state House seat, is the son of local congressman Vern Buchanan and thus had a huge name-ID advantage over Margaret Good. The seat was open because the Republican who held it quit last year to spend more time with her family; in recent years, the seat was so red that local Democrats had trouble recruiting candidates. This year, Republican strategists confidently tied James Buchanan to Trump’s alleged coattails, imported ex-Trumpers Lewandowski and David Bossie, and the Sarasota County Republican chairman declared: “We believe Donald Trump is going to lead our people to victory” in the special election.
Big mistake, making the race a referendum on Trump. Trump led them over the cliff.
Margaret Good — buoyed by national Democratic money, and campaign literature that said it was important to “stop Donald Trump” — triumphed last night by an unthinkable 7.4 percentage points.
Fed-up women — Democrats for sure, but independents and crossover Republicans as well — flocked to the polls. Choosing a fresh female face (and local lawyer) over a boring guy running with his dad’s money appeared to be a no-brainer. And in the absence of exit polls, we have anecdotal info that Trump’s latest misogynistic disaster — the long indulgence of Rob Porter — was fresh in many minds. As one Good volunteer, an ex-Republican, said on Monday, Trump “is on the side of wife-beaters, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he cheated on his current wife.” (Um, yeah, he did. His personal lawyer paid off the co-cheater.)
Most importantly, the Sarasota results are part of a pattern. Tip O’Neill, the late Democratic House speaker, famously said that “all politics is local,” but that axiom is out of date. Today, all politics is nationalized. And the national zeitgeist is trending blue.
Last week, in the 35th red-to-blue flip since Trump’s ascent, Democrats won a special state House election by three points in a Missouri district that Trump had won by 28 points. In mid-January, Democrats won a special state Senate election by nine points in a rural Wisconsin district that Trump had won by 17 points. Even in the ’17 special elections that they lost, Democrats performed roughly 11 points better than they did in those districts on Election Day in 2016.
Of course, none of these grassroots races guarantees that Democrats will take the U.S. House in a blue wave this November. But it’s clear that Republicans are taking that prospect seriously — which helps explain why they’re currently flooding the zone in southwest Pennsylvania, trying to save an imperiled Republican congressional seat in a normally Republican district. That special election will be staged on March 13, and the good news for Democrats is that Trump himself will stump for the Republican seat next week.
Unfortunately for Republicans, it’s not easy being saddled by Trump as the party of wife-beaters and Russia appeasers. So perhaps two of their governors — Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Florida’s Rick Scott — have the right idea. They’re refusing to OK any additional special elections for vacant state legislative seats. They say it’s because the elections are too costly. Yeah, sure. I’ll simply say that it doesn’t bode well for a party to be so afraid of the voters.
Speaking of wife-beaters, yesterday’s developments in the Rob Porter case were priceless.
The Trump regime’s deaf-and-dumb claim — that it knew little about top aide Porter due to the purportedly “ongoing” FBI probe — was blown to bits when the FBI director swore under oath that the probe was essentially completed last July. And that the regime had been briefed and updated repeatedly. Which brings us to the quote of the week.
A reporter, texting a Trump official, asked whether the White House could’ve been more transparent and truthful about what it knew. The Trump official texted this response (which should be carved into the wall of the Trump presidential library):
“In this White House, it’s simply not in our DNA. Truthful and transparent is great, but we don’t even have a coherent strategy to obfuscate.”