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With the November general election less than six months away, results of local and special elections are giving an eye-opening preview of possible voter behavior. While recent polls still show Democratic hopefuls, including presumed presidential nominee Joe Biden, edging out their Republican counterparts in competitive parts of the country, actual ballots are telling a very different story.

Special congressional elections in California and Wisconsin this month both yielded Republican victors after Democrats launched strong campaigns in both races. In California, Republican Mike Garcia beat Democrat Christy Smith by almost 10 points after receiving 10,000 fewer votes in the primary election just two months earlier. Garcia replaced Democrat Katie Hill, who resigned at the end of 2019, flipping a California House seat from blue to red for the first time in more than 20 years.

As stunning as Garcia’s resounding victory for Republicans in California was, however, a shocking GOP blowout in the Staunton, Virginia city council election this week has given Democrats a reason to be alarmed.

Like many cities in Virginia through the last several years, Staunton has trended toward liberal candidates in national and municipal elections, supporting Barack Obama in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, and Hillary Clinton in 2016. The city also helped buoy Democratic governors Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam to victory in the past two gubernatorial elections while consistently electing a majority of Democrats to the city council.

Following the 2019 ‘Blue Wave’ in Virginia legislature elections, however, residents of Staunton, which is supported in large part by private liberal arts college Mary Baldwin, came out in droves to support Republicans this week. Three Democratic council members lost to their Republican challengers in an unprecedented sweep by the GOP with a voter turn out that smashed previous election cycles.

More than 17,000 votes were cast in the in the election in which all four council members were vying to protect their seats. The last Staunton election for all four members was in 2016 in which fewer than 7,000 votes were cast. One Virginia political analyst, Chris Graham, of the Augusta Free Press described the results as “stunning almost beyond words.”

Noting the eye-popping voter turnout, Graham credited Democrats for getting more votes than they did in the last cycle. However, Republican voters left no chance for defeat, with a turnout “more akin to, not quite a presidential year, but approaching gubernatorial their rivals at polls,” according to Graham.

Following the 2019 Virginia election in which Democrats took control of the state senate and the House of Delegates, liberal policy pushes by local lawmakers and Governor Northam have soured residents of the state on many Democrats. Anti-gun legislation signed by Northam earlier this year drew massive protests in the state capital of Richmond and have drawn a line in the sand between residents and progressive lawmakers.

Northam also angered Virginians at the onset of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic in the state, becoming one of the first Democratic governors to enact strict lockdown orders and called for a shutdown into mid-June just weeks into the crisis. He has since eased on his stringent orders for the state, but as he keeps the most populous counties in the northern part of the state on continued restriction and continues with a very slowly phased reopening plan everyone else, criticism against him remains at a fever pitch.

Election analysts and representatives of the August County Republican Committee agree that the unpopular gun legislation and Northam’s response to COVID-19 factored into the GOP shellacking in Staunton this week.

“I’m rarely shocked by something that happens in politics, but I have to admit, I didn’t see this one happening,” Graham said in a post-election analysis.

“This turning point for the city shows that the citizens want a change in their government,” Austin Armentrout of the ACRC told Townhall. “Many people are getting involved in politics and making their voices heard around our country, and it is resulting in Republican victories. The Staunton City Council Election was one of many in the Commonwealth of Virginia that show a growing momentum for Republican candidates that will carry through into November when President Donald Trump and Congressman Ben Cline [R-VA 06] are re-elected.”

With Republican victories in California and Virginia already on the books for 2020, Democratic Party operatives will be forced to look at how to reach voters clearly frustrated with state lockdowns that are almost entirely perpetuated by Democratic governors. Likewise, Democratic congressional candidates and incumbents must stand behind their actions during the last two years in which they pushed an unfounded impeachment of the president and blocked attempts to help Americans during the pandemic.

The trouncing in Staunton, a city that has supported almost every Democrat for more than 15 years, is a bellwether that Democrats across the country would be foolish to ignore.

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16 Comments
  • rcb says:

    Can you say tsuaml…..sure you can….

  • CF

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    Nikki Haley Breaks with Trump: ‘We Shouldn’t Have Followed Him, and We Shouldn’t Have Listened to Him’

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    Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, believes that former President Donald Trump “let us down.”

    Haley’s remarks come as the former president’s legal team prepares to present its defense of Trump during his second impeachment trial in the Senate.

    In a Politico interview published Friday, Haley, former South Carolina governor, said that “we shouldn’t have followed” Trump.

    “We need to acknowledge he let us down,” she said in an extensive profile. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

    She also told the outlet that she has not spoken to Trump since the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, and takes issue with his remarks condemning former Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to reject the Electoral College vote.

    “When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement,” she expressed. “I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.”

    The former ambassador, who many people are speculating may run for the White House in 2024, also added that Trump will never accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.

    “There’s nothing that you’re ever going to do that’s going to make him feel like he legitimately lost the election,” she explained. “He’s got a big bully pulpit. He should be responsible with it.”

    Haley also warned that many people still love the former president and will not stop supporting him just because he is out of office.

    “I know how much people love Donald Trump,” she admitted. “I know it. I feel it. Whether it’s an RNC room or social media or talking to donors, I can tell you that the love they have for him is still very strong. That’s not going to just fall to the wayside. Nor do I think the Republican Party is going to go back to the way it was before Donald Trump. I don’t think it should.”

    Haley added that people, instead, should “take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party.”

    “[I]t’s bigger than the party,” she insisted. “I hope our country can come together and figure out how we pull this back.”

    Referring to Haley’s possible 2024 ambitions, Politico’s Tim Alberta wrote, “Since last fall, I’ve spent nearly six hours talking with Haley on-the-record. I’ve also spoken with nearly 70 people who know her: friends, associates, donors, staffers, former colleagues. From those conversations, two things are clear. First, Nikki Haley is going to run for president in 2024. Second, she doesn’t know which Nikki Haley will be on the ballot.”

    Haley also said that she didn’t believe Trump had a chance of winning in a 2024 election scenario.

    “I don’t think he can,” she admitted. “He’s fallen so far.”

    “I think his business is suffering at this point,” she added. “I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have. I think he’s lost his social media, which meant the world to him. I mean, I think he’s lost the things that really could have kept him moving.”

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    WATCH: Trump’s Defense Team Absolutely Ruins Democrats With 13 Minute Montage of “Fight” Word Like Trump Did

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    The Democrats demonized President Trump for using the word ‘fight’. Trump’s attorneys responded today with a collage of clips from each of the Democrats in the room using the word ‘fight’.

    This portion of today’s events on Capitol Hill was excellent. The Democrats claim that because President Trump used the word ‘fight’ in his speech on January 6th in Washington D.C. However, what every Democrat in that room forgot was that they too had used the word previously in political speech.

    The montage went on for 13 minutes. (The video montage starts at 7:10 timeframe.)

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    WATCH: Trump Attorneys Destroy House Managers on Lying to American Public and Using Manipulated Tweet as Evidence

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    President Trump’s defense team took the floor of the US Senate on Friday in defense of President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.

    Trump Attorney David Schoen absolutely destroyed the House Managers when he took to the floor of the US Senate.

    At one point Schoen played video of the Democrat lawmakers lying about a Trump tweet.

    House Impeachment Manager Eric Swalwell gave a riveting performance on Wednesday reading off Trump’s tweets with emotional appeal.

    During this theatrical performance, Swalwell read off a Trump retweet by Jennifer Lynn Lawrence.

    But there was one problem with the tweet. It was photoshopped.

    Jennifer Lynn Lawrence has never been verified by Twitter. Democrats faked that to make it look more important.

    On Friday Trump Attorney David Schoen destroyed Democrats for lying about this to the American public.

    WATCH:

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    White House Suspends Deputy Press Secretary For Allegedly Sexually Harassing, Threatening Reporter

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    The White House announced on Friday that it was suspending Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo after a report surfaced alleging that he sexually harassed and threatened a female reporter who was getting ready to publish a report revealing that he was dating a reporter who had previously been tasked with covering Democrat Joe Biden.

    “The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after [Politico reporter Tara] Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted [Axios political reporter Alexi] McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo,” Vanity Fair reported. “Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. ‘I will destroy you,’ Ducklo told her, according to the sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.”

    “During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was ‘jealous’ that an unidentified man in the past had ‘wanted to f***’ McCammond ‘and not you,’” the report added. “Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being ‘jealous’ of his relationship with McCammond.”

    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said following the report that Ducklo has been suspended for a week over the incident.

    “TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life,” Psaki wrote on Twitter. “He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President.”

    “In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret,” she continued. “With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”

    Reporters called out the administration over the incident, highlighting how the Trump administration did not treat reporters that way as well as issues with the timeline of events with regard to the White House taking action to address the incident.

    “The Vanity Fair piece indicates that Politico editors reached to the WH after the incident first occurred and the WH acknowledged it was inappropriate,” Spectator editor Amber Athey wrote on Twitter. “But they clearly didn’t have any interest in disciplining Ducklo until his behavior was made public.”

    New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi wrote on Twitter: “I covered Donald Trump for 6 years. It is saying something that this behavior — from a Biden official — shocks me.”

    Grabien founder Tom Elliott highlighted the following remarks that Biden made a few weeks ago: “If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot, on the spot. No if, ands, or buts. Everybody — everybody is entitled to be treated with decency & dignity.”

    CNN anchor Jake Tapper responded to the quote, writing: “Standards that are not upheld are not standards. They’re lies.”

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