Updated: Nov 9, 2019
The results are in, and it’s not good news for the Republican Party. Despite, or perhaps in spite of, support by Donald Trump, Republicans went down to defeat in the once impenetrable state of Kentucky, a state where he trounced Hillary Clinton by 30 percent. Democrats also flipped both chambers of the Virginia legislature, shocking their Republican rivals.
Could this be a portent of the 2020 election?
Since 1955, there have only been three occasions where Kentucky did not support a Republican candidate for president. Put into context, Trump visited Kentucky the day before Election Day, which makes this apparent Democratic victory even more of a head scratcher.
Putting aside that incumbent Governor Matt Bevin was tremendously unpopular, the fact that Trump has an 89% approval rating with Republicans should have been enough to push Bevin over the top. During his campaign speech, Trump made reference to his own political ad as a reason to support Bevin, reasoning that you don’t always have to be popular to have a winning strategy.
Indeed, in true Trumpian fashion, he made a potential Republican loss all about him, stating “You can’t let it happen to me” in reference to a potential defeat.
And then there is Virginia, where Democrats returned to power for the first time in decades. So, while Hillary Clinton won in Virginia in 2016, the recent allegations of wrongdoing and/or poor judgment by both the Democratic governor and lieutenant governor should have been enough to doom Democrats in this election. Instead, they were propelled to victory in both houses of the Virginia legislature.
Since the election, Trump has been uncharacteristically silent on the results. Meanwhile, fellow Republicans see this as a wake up call that could signal possible vulnerabilities in the 2020 election.
While no one can truly predict which way the political winds will blow next, the results of these recent elections might just be a glimpse into Trump’s future. And, it doesn’t look all that promising.