Donald Trump posted yet another demented tweet on Thursday night, this time accusing the Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia of being in favor of violent gangs. While the dishonest and absurd nature of Trump’s tweet may get the bulk of the headlines today, the real story here is that Trump’s preferred candidate in the Virginia race is in the process of going down in flames.
Trump has endorsed Republican candidate Ed Gillespie. According to the latest polls, Gillespie is down by as much as thirteen points to the Democratic candidate, Ralph Northam (link). That’s not to say that the race is over. Things can change in a month. Polls can be wrong. If the Democrats and the Resistance want Northam to win, they’ll need to spend every day between now and Election Day 2017 making sure he wins. But the upshot is that Trump’s support of Gillespie clearly isn’t helping him – and that’s become the pattern.
Last month we saw Trump emphatically endorse Luther Strange in the Republican primary race in Alabama for the U.S. Senate special election. Strange lost by around ten points to another Republican, Roy Moore. Trump even went down to Alabama and campaigned for Strange, but couldn’t motivate his own base to turn out and vote. Perhaps he’s too iconoclastic to be able to convince his base to vote for anyone whom they see as being part of the regular government. Or perhaps Trump’s base has simply become demotivated by his thoroughly failed presidency, which has seen him accomplish nothing, as he’s proven to be far more corrupt and scandalous than any regular politician.
In any case, the pattern in 2017 is clear: in every election whose demographics would traditionally make for a close race, the Democrats have been dominating. The Republicans have only been able to win special elections in districts that are heavily weighted to them to begin with, and even then, they’re barely winning those. If Democratic candidate Ralph Northam wins in Virginia, it’ll be fantastic sign for the party heading into the midterms – as well as yet another stinging defeat for Donald Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report