Barack Obama joined his Democrat confreres who celebrated their party's victories on Tuesday. Obama congratuled Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy for their respective gubernatorial wins in Virginia and New Jersey. The former president tweeted, "This is what happens when the people vote. Congratulations to Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy. And congratulations to all the victors in state legislative, county and mayors' races. Every office in a democracy counts!" Obama personally campaigned for Northam before the election, which Northam won by 9 points.
This is what happens when the people vote. Congrats @RalphNortham and @PhilMurphyNJ . And congratulations to all the victors in state legislative, county and mayors' races. Every office in a democracy counts!— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 8, 2017
Joe Biden also tweeted his congratutions: "A resounding defeat tonight for President Trump. Voters around the country rejected the ugly politics we have seen this past year. Instead, they chose candidates who unite and inspire us." He then individually congratulated Democrats who had made victories across the country, including mayoral and statehouse contests.
Hillary Clinton retweeted herself on Tuesday night. She thus reminded her followers of a tweet she sent out on the day after she lost the presidential election in 2016. She retweeted herself saying, "Yes!" to her tweet: "Scripture tells us: Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart."
Political analyst Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia was somewhat more sanguine about the election than were Democrats and establishment media who saw Tuesday as a referendum on President Donald Trump. He said that Republicans must seek to energize the Trump base without energizing Democrats, saying that GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie retained Trump's rural voters. It was the Democrats, despite not having Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama at the head of the ticket, who came out to win the governorship and 14 seats in the state House of Delegates.
On Fox News Channel's "America's Newsroom," Sabato said:
"Virginia is certainly becoming bluer. We used to describe Virginia as a purple, competitive state, and I am dropping that. Virginia is now a blue state --a light blue state. California, New York, and New Jersey are deep blue, so let us make that distinction, but look: Here's what happened. Gillespie did about as well as Trump in percentage terms in rural Virginia -- he kept the Trump vote.
"He actually got 170,000 more votes than the last Republican candidate for governor. Here's what won it for Northam. He got 335,000 more votes than Terry McAuliffe got four years ago. Turnout went up, but it was mainly Democratic turnout. They were the ones energize this year, just like the Trump Republicans were last year."
Trump lost Virginia by 6 points in 2016 in a state that is becoming demonstrably more Democrat. But it is a Democratic Party that at the very least adopted a small part of Trump's agenda: last week, Gillespie vowed that if elected, he would sign legislation banning sanctuary status for illegal immigrants should one be presented to him.
But the election of a transgender person to Virginia's lower legislative chamber shows that for the most part, Democrats are unrelentingly moving to the left in Virginia and elsewhere. For example, Danica Roem -- a man who began transitioning to a female persona several years ago -- ousted Virginia’s most socially conservative state lawmaker, thus becoming one of the country's first openly transgender elected officials and a vocal opponent of everything Del. Robert G. Marshall stood for in the House of Delegates in 13 uninterrupted terms. Marshall once called himself a "homophobe." Celebrating the victory on Tuesday, Roem said, “Discrimination is a disqualifier...This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias . . . where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”