It's GOP's turn for tears

It's GOP's turn for tears

Voters this week sent a message that President Donald Trump almost certainly will ignore.

Tuesday was a big night for beleaguered Democrats still smarting from the self-inflicted wounds of last year's titanic defeat in the presidential election.

But the significance is not reflected in the party's wins in gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia. What got the attention of both Democrats and Republicans is the length and breadth of the Democrats' victory in Virginia — it was a landslide.

Local issues, of course, are key factors in state and local politics. But it's impossible to deny that virulently anti-Trump attitudes held by Democrats and many independents and a less-than-enthusiastic turnout by Republicans drove the outcome.

It seems clear that President Donald Trump's constant diva-style bloviations — whether delivered on Twitter or in public arenas — have gotten deep under the skin of the voting public.

That, of course, is manna from heaven for Democrats plotting their 2018 campaigns. They'll wrap President Trump around the heads of any Republican candidate from the U.S. Senate and governor down to dogcatcher in the hope of replicating the Virginia landslide.

The problem for the GOP is easy to diagnose, but no solution is available.

President Trump, a drama queen like no other who has ever occupied the White House, appears to revel in his impolitic and ego-driven comments — no matter who they're aimed at — and has shown absolutely no sign of reducing or moderating rhetoric.

Indeed, Trump was among the first commenters on the Virginia debacle, attributing the GOP's defeat to the Republican gubernatorial candidate's failure to enthusiastically embrace him during the campaign.

"Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don't forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!" Trump wrote.

There's one more factor in the Democrats' triumph that has not been discussed much, at least not so far.

Democrats were able to run without the millstone of failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton around their necks even as they attached the yoke of Trump around every Republican in sight. Remember, both candidates in last year's presidential race were widely disliked by the voting public, but only one is still politically active.

Democrats also enjoyed a solid win in New Jersey, but it wasn't particularly surprising or impressive because New Jersey, like Illinois, is a solid Democratic state.

Restoring a Democratic governor to power comes as naturally as breathing to the voters there. Indeed, outgoing two-term Republican Gov. Christ Christie only got elected in the first place because voters there finally had enough of Democratic governance failures there. Making matters worse for the GOP, Christie had worn out his welcome to the point that his lieutenant governor never stood a chance of being elected the state's chief executive.

There's a message from the New Jersey results for Illinois' Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner:

Unless Republican governors in Democratic states produce solid results, voters will inevitably support the Democrats they reflexively like and turn away from Republicans they only embrace as an alternative to a failed status quo.

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