A political reality moment at the NYT
New York Times columnist David Leonhardt, in his November 13 column, "Democrats, Don't Be Fooled By Victory," reflected on Democratic election wins, particularly the re-election of a Democrat as governor of Virginia.
Leonhardt noted: "The reality is, the Democratic victories occurred almost entirely in areas that had voted for Hillary Clinton last year. In Trump country, Democrats continued to struggle." Leonhardt went on to cite Virginia, mentioning the study of "Patrick Ruffini, a savvy conservative pollster," that of the 15 legislative districts that flipped from Republican to Democrat, "only a single one of those 15 districts had voted for Trump." Leonhardt also pointed out that Ralph Northam, Virginia's governor-elect, did worse than the current governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, "outside of the big metropolitan areas," having "fared worse" than McAuliffe in 89 of Virginia's 133 counties and cities.
Leonhardt advised Democrats "to get the white working class to focus on the working-class part of their identity rather than the white part." This would require, first, that Democrats put an end to disparaging white voters and, second, that they shift their campaign pitch from demonizing President Trump to finding ways and means of seeking common ground with his voters.
An exchange on ABC's This Week on November 12, between Martha Raddatz and Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez indicates that a Democratic shift away from the politics of Trump-hate will not be easy for the left:
RADDATZ: OK. In our latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 61 percent of Americans say Democratic leaders are mainly criticizing Trump, not presenting alternatives. Is the Democratic message too much about Trump and not enough about your vision?
PEREZ: Oh, we were leading with our values in Virginia and elsewhere. And, again, we talked about health care a lot, because health care is a right for all, not a privilege for a few. And the number one issue for voters in Virginia was health care. They understand that the Republicans are trying to take their health care away.
RADDATZ: Let's go back to President Trump again – and again, 61 percent of Americans say Democratic leaders are mainly criticizing Trump. You say that's not true. Billionaire Tom Steyer, he's the single biggest donor to the Democratic Party in the last two election cycles, put millions of dollars behind an ad calling for President Trump's impeachment.
It is difficult to believe that the Democrats will not embark on a 2018 campaign to regain control so they can proceed with the impeachment and removal of office of President Trump. Seems to me that the immediate media reaction to November 7 attributed the Democratic wins to anti-Trump hate that fired up leftists. Question is, how many establishment Republicans will join the 2018 hate Trump campaign?