The GOP’s Black Tuesday: Gillespie, Trump, Roem & The Triumph Of Reason Over Fear

Listen, Tuesday night did not go well for Republicans.

Ed Gillespie’s defeat in Virginia at the hands of Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam was an unmitigated disaster and was, without question, a referendum on Donald Trump. Here’s what Northam told supporters:

Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry — and to end the politics that have torn this country apart.

As soon as it became clear that Gillespie was finished, Trump did exactly what you would expect Trump to do: he threw Ed under the bus.

Ed

That tweet is important.

For one thing, it serves as a rather poignant reminder both to Republicans and potentially to those ensnared in the Mueller probe that while Trump demands loyalty from those around him, it will not be reciprocated when push comes to shove. Here’s what Trump tweeted before the votes were counted:

Vote

Note to Republicans and also to Michael Flynn: Donald Trump will abandon you in a heartbeat without so much as a second thought. And not only that, he’ll put you on blast in front of 41 million Twitter followers in real-time in your darkest hour, effectively rubbing salt in your wounds from a presidential megaphone.

In addition to that, Trump’s Tuesday night tweet (delivered, by the way, in the minutes before a speech in South Korea) is a lie – and on multiple levels. Gillespie did embrace Trumpism. Consider this xenophobic ad, shamelessly designed to play on voters’ fears and prejudices:

 

Not only is that entirely consistent with Trump’s message, it looks like it walked right out of a Geert Wilders rally in the Netherlands. Indeed, Trump sent out a robo-call to voters that echoed that ad on Monday and Tuesday night. Here’s what he said:

Hello, this is President Donald Trump, and so importantly I need you to vote for Ed Gillespie to be your new governor of Virginia. If you let Ralph Northam be governor, he will be a total disaster for your state. Northam is weak on crime, weak on immigration, and as your lieutenant governor, Northam has driven your economy right into a ditch, and he didn’t even show up to the most important meetings. He was always missing and nowhere to be found.

Like me, Ed is tough on crime and on the border. Ed will protect your family from crime, drugs and violence — something Northam will never do. And Ed loves the vets, loves the military, and loves your Second Amendment. With your help, Ed Gillespie will help make America great again, a phrase that I like a lot. Vote Ed Gillespie.

It’s bullshit. Blatant race-baiting, hyperbolic claims about the economy, and the suggestion that Northam would put families at risk from “crime, drugs and violence.”

And guess what? It backfired. Consider these voter testimonials as documented by The Intercept:

Chris White, a Virginia resident who came to vote with his family, said he was unhappy with Gillespie’s negative advertisements, and cast his vote for the Democrat Ralph Northam. “They were typical, wanted to placate to the lowest common denominator, fear, really,” said White. “On some level, they work,” he added, shrugging.

Catherine Hazimi said she thought the sanctuary city ads were “incredibly misleading.” After seeing a cascade of Gillespie advertising, she said she looked up the issue and found that Virginia had no sanctuary cities.

“You can’t turn on the TV without seeing a negative ad,” Hazimi said. The local media, with the exception of the Washington Post, she added, provided little context for voters. “They just want to do a numbers race,” she said, referencing local media’s obsession with publishing polls.

George Chavis said although he has become more conservative with age, he voted Democratic because he was concerned primarily with the state of the criminal justice and the system of bail, which he called “profoundly unjust.” The Gillespie ads, he added, were designed to pander to a conservative base but he found them to be “detrimental.”

“It’s just another sign of division. MS-13 gangs have always been an issue. They’ve always been around. Its just political propaganda,” said A.J., another voter who came to vote with his family.

Bruce Brown, a member of the Alexandria Young Republicans, said that he thought that the Republican campaign ads focusing on sanctuary cities and MS-13 “were terrible, they were stupid.”

Yes, “terrible and stupid” – Republican voters are now waking up the reality of Trump’s nationalism. It’s based on a divisiveness and fear and, at heart, on a message about white superiority.

“I do believe that this is a referendum on this administration,” Representative Scott Taylor, a Republican from Virginia Beach told the New York Times last night, adding that “Democrats turned out tonight, but I’m pretty sure there were some Republicans who spoke loudly and clearly tonight as well.”

I know folks that lost tonight who were going against candidates I’d never even heard of,” Taylor went on to say, driving home the point.

The Times goes on to detail how Gillespie was effectively forced to adopt Trump’s platform. To wit: 

The Democrats’ success here came as Mr. Gillespie, trailing in the polls, turned to a scorched-earth campaign against Mr. Northam in the race’s final weeks. Mr. Gillespie, a fixture of his party’s establishment who had once warned against the “siren song” of anti-immigrant politics, unleashed a multimillion-dollar onslaught linking his rival to a gang with Central American ties and a convicted pedophile who had his rights restored, while also assailing Mr. Northam for wanting to remove Virginia’s Confederate statues.

In his concession speech, Gillespie did not utter Trump’s name. That reflects the tightrope Ed attempted (ultimately unsuccessfully) to walk during the campaign – how to tap into the sentiment that won Trump the White House without directly associating himself with a message that everyone knows is inherently toxic. 

As the Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri sarcastically writes, maybe Trump is right – maybe Gillespie didn’t go “full-Trump” (as it were):

He forgot that there is more to Trump than just racism: There is also corruption and incompetence.

He did the first part just fine. His MS-13 commercials were exactly the sort of nightmarish dog-horn that is Trump’s specialty. But he forgot: That is not all that “Trumpism” is. Otherwise we would not need a special new -ism for it and could just say “racism.”

No, Gillespie barely even tried. Where was the paranoia? Where were the unhinged rants about wiretapping? Where were the attacks on the legitimacy of the free press? There was, naturally, some gleeful disregard for fact, and those lines about sanctuary cities were Trump-ish, but there could have been much more. Just to show he was trying. Where were the conspiracy theories? Where was Alex Jones?

Yes, “where was Alex Jones?” And that jab reminds me, also on Tuesday night, Danica Roem, a transgender woman, ousted Republican Del. Bob Marshall from the Virginia House of Delegates on the way to becoming the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature.

Marshall had sponsored a bill this year that would have restricted the bathrooms transgender people can use. Here was my immediate knee-jerk reaction, employing a clip from a recent InfoWars diatribe about transgender politics:

And of course it wasn’t all about Gillespie and Roem.

Democrats also won the governorship of New Jersey away from Republicans, rolled up two statewide offices in Virginia, and scored a victory in a New Hampshire mayoral race.

Finally, for the punchline: as New York Magazine reports, Ed Gillespie’s staff changed his birthday on Twitter in order to trigger the balloon feature in anticipation of a win:

Burst

Not to “take the air out” or anything but…

 

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7 thoughts on “The GOP’s Black Tuesday: Gillespie, Trump, Roem & The Triumph Of Reason Over Fear

  1. The near flip of the Virginia House of Delegates is the big story that is not being covered. No one expected that could happen. Keep in mind the maps are drawn specifically to keep GOP delegates in office, without that it would have been a rout.

  2. In addition to Roem, a seat on the little ol’ School Board in Erie, Penn., was won by Tyler Titus, who became the Keystone State’s first openly transgender person to hold office. Andrea Jenkins, the first transgender woman of color elected to public office in the U.S., won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council. Lisa Middleton won a seat on Palm Springs’ City Council to become the first trans person in California to win a legislative office. And that’s great for Democrats and America.

    When Trump throws a Republican under the bus, that’s great for Democrats and America.

    When a Republican embraces Trump as he did here and loses horribly, that’s great for Democrats and America.

    Ed chose not to have Trump campaign on the ground so that he could defraud the voters: campaign as a Trumpian in the Southwest and like a normal in the north. That’s not going to work for Republicans who must chose between Trump’s base or normal voters. Stephanie Morales, one of a very few prosecutors in this country to have brought a case against a white cop for killing a person of color, was re-elected in Portsmouth, Va.That’s great for Democrats and America.

    Rob Astorino, Westchester County executive, got destroyed by democrat, George Latimer, and County Legislator Jim Maisano, a New Rochelle Republican, said that Tuesday was the worst day for the county GOP since 1992, when he got involved in local politics. That’s great for Democrats and America. Of course, 1992, was the year of Bill Clinton!

    Democrats won two special elections in Georgia and one in New Hampshire state races. All three were unexpected pickups. In Pennsylvania, civil rights attorney Lee Krasner — who had been called “completely unelectable” — crushed Republican Beth Grossman 74-26, to become Philadelphia’s D.A..That’s great for Democrats and America.

    Democrats wrested control of the county executive office in New York’s Nassau county, a populous suburban pocket where Trump outperformed Mitt Romney. The Town of Hempstead, a jurisdiction of Nassau County with 750,000 residents, just elected its first Democratic supervisor — which is more like a mayor than a supervisor in the S.F. sense — in more than a century. That’s great for Democrats and America.

    Charlotte and St. Paul elected their first African-American mayors, and Virginia its first African-American lieutenant governor, both Democrats. That’s great for Democrats and America.

    Wilmot Collins, a Liberian refugee, unseated a 16-year incumbent in Helena, Mont., becoming the state’s first Black mayor. That’s great for Democrats and America.

    Hoboken, N.J., just elected a Sikh mayor named Ravi Bhalla, the first in the state and the second in the nation (after Charlottesville, Va., as it happens) and America.

    Democrat Joyce Craig won the Manchester, New Hampshire, mayoral race Tuesday, unseating Republican incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas, who was running for his fifth term. She will be the first ever woman to serve as mayor in Manchester.

    Just warming up ….. 2018!!!

    • WOW that is a great summary!! I was happy as hell before I read it – now I am jumping for joy! I will be sending your posting to a couple of my friends; I have to share it and I will be giving you all the credit!! and Heisenberg’s blog! Really Good, Marty!

  3. As a followup, this info came in from Bernie’s Revolution:

    Last night was historic. Our Revolution backed candidates claimed victories at every level of government. In cities, towns, and neighborhoods across America, voters showed up for Election Day 2017 and swept progressive candidates into office.

    Our Revolution won 21 seats and one ballot initiative, with more results yet to be finalized. None of this would have been possible without grassroots organizing. A growing and dedicated base of Our Revolution members volunteered to make over 132,000 calls and send over 373,000 individual text messages to supporters in key races. Thanks to this massive effort, you’ve helped elect progressive champions that will be part of the vital work of being responsive to the needs of their constituents and rebuilding our progressive bench from the ground up.

    These are the candidates you helped elect:

    Jennifer Carroll Foy, Virginia House of Delegates, District 2
    Elizabeth Guzman, Virginia House of Delegates, District 31
    Lee Carter, Virginia House of Delegates, District 50
    Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney
    Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis, Minn. City Council, Ward 8
    Carlos Menchaca, New York City Council, District 38
    Matt McLaughlin, Somerville, Mass. Ward 1 Alderman
    J.T. Scott, Somerville, Mass. Ward 2 Alderman
    Ben Ewen-Campen, Somerville, Mass. Ward 3 Alderman
    Jesse Clingan, Somerville, Mass. Ward 4 Alderman
    Will Mbah, Somerville, Mass. Alderman At-Large
    Jasmin Santana, Cleveland, Ohio City Council, Ward 14
    Tamaya Dennard, Cincinnati, Ohio City Council At-Large
    Tristan Rader, Lakewood, Ohio City Council At-Large
    Gina Morgenstein, Wallingford, Connecticut Town Council
    Ted Terry, Clarkston, Georgia Mayor
    Brian Nowak, Cheektowaga, New York Town Council
    Anita Prizio, Allegheny, Penn. County Council, District 3
    Mik Pappas, Allegheny County, Penn. Magistrate, District 31
    Anna Payne, Middletown, Penn. Township Auditor
    Noelia Corzo, San Mateo/Foster City, California School Board
    Mainers for Healthcare (ballot initiative expanding Medicaid access)

    This is only the start. The victories of this election cycle built upon our victories in 2016. This is what this movement is all about. Moment by moment, community by community, election cycle by election, we continue to create a political environment steeped in a commitment to do the work that transforms the lives of people generation after generation. And in 2018, we are going deeper.

    • Pretty damned impressive! Bernie’s support has grown! I assume he is a third party since he is no longer a Democrat so to speak and really never way. What is his party – Revolution??!! I still like Bernie but like I have said I really think his age is against him – he was 76 in Sept. He does seem to have good energy however!

      I am drawn to Liz Warren (68 yr old). She is feisty as hell and smart as a whip. As I have continued to tell Ted Cruz at least twice a month via messages to his office – it will be a cold day in hell when I vote for any Republican and that would have to be only if assface was not still in the WH. I sent him a note last night when I had heard all the election results….my note “believe me now?” referring to prior notes that America was going to overthrow all the Republicans because of trump! ta da! 🙂

  4. I feel your joy at R loses. However, while Ds can be a passionate lot, maintaining that D passion and focus is often likened to the effort required in herding cats. As an Independent, I think it’s a great start and I would generally rather a D than an R in most any elected office, but I would really like to see a competitive third party that would support campaign finance reform and close down the 24/7 campaign/election industry that has effectively destroyed US democracy – as most obviously demonstrated by the election of an incompetent to the Presidency. Clearly, campaign finance reform is not going to come from either Ds or Rs.

  5. I think having trump in the WH is the most ridiculous result ever of any campaign! The lack of morals and integrity is well known and even bragged about (!!) and still that disgraceful shit for brains was elected?!?!

    I know I feel as much outrage as I did way back to Vietnam and the drafting of 18 yr old boys to go die — most of them not wanting to go, no desire to fight a war and forced to go, like a slave. America the beautiful my ass. I feel like that again because of trump being the president! Except this is more like a war against the system that allows and/or accepts the results that are so clearly wrong…and is now allowing greedy lying assholes to take advantage of this mistake for as long as they possibly can. Like Bernie said, a Revolution.

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