It goes without saying that the Republicans can take no comfort from the outcome of Tuesday’s primary and special elections spotted across the land. In almost every case, it was very bad news for them and their prospects for the critical November midterm Congressional elections.
There is a theme that has arisen out of this election round, too, that confirms the evidence of what others have been reporting in races earlier in the current era of Trump. That is, while Trump continues to soiling the national discourse at his increasingly-diminished big rallies, Democratic challengers against Trump supporters are being successful by zeroing in on real issues that impact voters in their respective districts.
The first huge example of this was the upset victory by transgender Virginia Del. Danica Roem against one of the most entrenched arch-conservative Republican members of the Virginia general assembly. For decades, Democrats have taken their best shot at unseating ex-Del. Bob Marshall without coming close to winning. The idea that someone as unconventional as a the transgender Roem could succeed where so many others failed was, at best, far out there in the minds of most. But maybe that’s because politics has become so image-oriented, and not viewed from the standpoint of the nitty-gritty matters that impact people’s lives.
In a small local jurisdiction like Falls Church, we get it better than most when it comes to our local elections and efforts to impact the decisions of our local elected officials. To bigshot Washington and media insiders, notions like where signal lights and crosswalks go are quaint, cute and way beneath their pay scale.
But when it comes to counting votes on election day, Roem proved that she could do the seemingly impossible, defeat Marshall, irrespective of anything else, mainly on the grounds of her relentless campaigning to fix real problems in her Manassas district to our west, such as alleviating the traffic on Route 28.
So this week, Democrat Danny Jay O’Connor running in a heavily-Republican central Ohio district special election for Congress, brushed off a last minute visit to the district from Trump by saying Trump knows nothing of the problems facing the voters in that district, the issues of roads, schools and the public health crisis around opioids. It was by zeroing in on these issues with a vigorous, energetic and compassionate campaign that O’Connor remains within a hair’s breadth of scoring a huge upset.
Let Democrats learn from the cases of Roem, O’Connor and many others. While the world grows increasingly impatient and disgusted with Trump, it is not simply by exploiting that contempt that will bring the kind of lasting results that are needed to restore our nation so damaged from Trump’s impact.
It will be done by restoring faith in the political process provided by candidates like Roem and O’Connor, candidates who are honest, credible and demonstrably dedicated to doing their jobs of representing the voters in their districts.