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'Trump Is Not on the Ballot': Democrats' Big Win in VA May Not Be Referendum on the President

11-05-2019
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VA Gov. Ralph Northam says the state has been turned blue (AP Photo)
VA Gov. Ralph Northam says the state has been turned blue (AP Photo)

Democrats scored a major victory in Virginia's elections Tuesday, giving them control of both houses of the state legislature and the governor's office for the first time in more than 25 years. 

It's a big deal in many ways, but partly because Virginia's Democrats pushed this year for an extreme pro-abortion bill that would allow abortion up to the moment of birth. The only thing that stopped them was the slim majority held by Republican lawmakers. More about their expected liberal agenda in a moment.

But first, national Democrats are celebrating the win after liberal billionaires pumped millions of dollars into the state in hopes of turning the vote into some sort of referendum on President Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted about the Democrats' big wins. "Tonight, by voting in Democratic majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, Virginians sent a clear, powerful message that will resonate across this nation and shake the walls of the White House." 

While Democrats claim Virginia's election results are bad news for President Trump, CBN News Chief Political Analyst David Brody points out Trump lost Virginia in 2016, but still won the presidency.

"Hillary Clinton won Virginia in 2016 and how did it work out for her," Brody said during an interview with the CBN News show Faith Nation.  "Donald Trump is not on the ballot so as much as Democrats are making a big deal, but when he's on the ticket - it makes a big difference."

Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway is also brushing off the blue wave talk, saying, "It's been trending blue for quite a while now."

Suburban voters turned out in high numbers, particularly in the Washington, DC area. 

Polling showed that gun control was a major issue after a shooter killed 12 people in Virginia Beach in May.

"We ran on a very definite message, and that was we believe in conservative values," said incumbent House Speaker Kirk Cox (R).  Cox defeated his Democrat challenger Sheila Bynum-Coleman.

Democrat special interest groups poured money into the state in the final days. One week before election day more than $82 million had been spent making this the most expensive election in Virginia history. 

After the election, House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R), who won his race, issued a warning.

"Make no mistake: radical liberals from out of our Commonwealth will soon demand a return on tens of millions they invested to elect a far-left Democratic majority," he said. "Virginians should expect public policies that look a lot more like the train-wreck that is California than the Virginia of good fiscal management and common-sense conservative governance."

The agenda of Virginia Democrats includes stricter gun control laws, raising the minimum wage and more liberal abortion laws.

It also includes ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the US Constitution. Virginia is the final state needed for possible passage of the gender equality measure. As CBN News reported this year, many view the ERA as a Trojan horse for enshrining taxpayer-funded abortion in the Constitution.

While Gilbert promises the GOP will fight the agenda, the Democrats have the upper hand for the first time in decades.

"The voters like the process that we as Democrats have made over the past few years and they want us to continue that progress over the next few years and beyond," said Virginia's Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam. But the results weren't necessarily due to any popularity from Northam who had roiled the state in a blackface controversy and had publicly endorsed what many consider to be infanticide earlier in the year.


VA Gov. Ralph Northam says the state has been turned blue (AP Photo)

Meanwhile, in Kentucky Democratic challenger Andy Beshear declared victory in the governor's race over Republican incumbent Matt Bevin. The GOP governor is reportedly trailing by roughly 5,000 votes and is not conceding the race. President Trump campaigned for Bevin a day before the election, in a state that he won big in 2016. But Bevin came into the race with plenty of baggage after clashing with Kentucky teachers in a controversial way, and other Republicans in the state fared better than he did in this election. It's not clear if Bevin and Beshear will face a recount.

"There have been more than a few irregularities," Bevin says. Left with few options, Bevin could now carry Kentucky into a drawn-out legal battle contesting the results. 

The Trump administration is positioning Beshear's slim margin as a win – not a warning sign. "The president made that governor's race competitive," Conway says.

Marc Short, the vice president's chief of staff told CBN News the Democrats' strategy is set to backfire. "Democrats will focus on the governor's race and if they use that to pursue additional endless investigations and justification that what they're doing in Washington, DC is working, I think that's going to hurt them a lot in 2020," he says.

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