Last Night Wasn’t Vindication for Trump but That’s How He’ll Read it
It’s disappointing but it’s just one election. That’s politics-you win some, you lose some.
I did myself wonder the last few days if expectations weren’t too high. For a long time you’d hear warnings that you can’t read too much into special elections. But now some are reading everything into them.
But though Trump and the GOP will claim vindication it’s hard to see how or why:
“President Trump’s hopes of steadying his presidency and his agenda on Capitol Hill were given a lift Tuesday when a Republican won a special congressional election in the Atlanta suburbs.”
“Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, retaining a seat that has been in GOP hands since 1979 after a grueling, four-month campaign that earned the distinction of being the most expensive House race in history.”
“Handel won by almost 11,000 votes and by more than four percentage points, and Ossoff failed to reach the 48 percent mark that he topped in the initial round of voting in April.”
“Handel’s win will bring fresh attention to a beleaguered Democratic Party that has suffered a string of defeats in special elections this year despite an angry and engaged base of voters who dislike Trump.”
“It may also embolden Republicans in Washington to press ahead on an ambitious policy agenda that has yielded few legislative victories since Trump’s inauguration in January. Most immediately, the election result could bring momentum to Senate Republicans’ efforts this week to craft their version of a major revision to the Affordable Care Act.”
“Handel’s victory, however, revealed as much about Trump’s lingering problems among Republicans as it did the challenges facing Democrats. In a ruby-red district that her Republican predecessor won in November by 23 points, Handel struggled with Trump’s looming presence over the race. She won not with an embrace of the president but by barely mentioning his name.”
True, she had pretty much forgotten his name during the election. And it depends how you look at it. Yes Ossoff failed to improve on Hillary’s two point loss in November. But Ossoff did gain 19 points from the margin Tom Price had won back in November.
But it’s tough to claim victory for Trump as she didn’t mention his name or Trumpcare as she didn’t run on it:
“Ossoff lost over nonsense.”
“Karen Handel didn’t argue that the Republican Party’s health care bill is a good idea (it’s very unpopular) or that tax cuts for millionaires should be the country’s top economic priority (another policy that polls dismally). Instead, her campaign and its allies buried Ossoff under a pile of what basically amounts to nonsense — stuff about Kathy Griffin, stuff about Samuel L. Jackson, stuff about his home being just over the district line, stuff about him having raised money from out of state — lumped together under the broad heading that he’s an “outsider.”
“Much of this was unfair or ridiculous. And the stuff that wasn’t unfair — like the location of his home — is honestly pretty silly. None of this has anything to do with the lives of actual people living in the suburbs of Atlanta or anywhere else.”
A lot of people really think that ‘not from the district’ thing had a deadly effect. I don’t buy it. He was literally two blocks from the district and grew up in it-unlike Ms. Handel. The way to respond to GOP nonsense is not to take it to heart.
As for the Democrats-of course it’s always Nancy Pelosi’s fault.
Her four years as Speaker were a heroic triumph, but after tonight I think House Democrats need to think hard about the Pelosi Question.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) June 21, 2017
True the GOP still uses her name to demonize Democrats seven years after she lost her gavel, but do you honestly think they won’t demonize the next Dem House Speaker?
Ok, Pelosi was terrible but we have to admit that new Dem House Speaker is totally upstanding and we have nothing bad to say about him/her?
In any case, Ossoff ran away from her name just like Allison Grimes did Obama’s name in the Kentucky Senate race against Mitch McConnell. People need to stop internalizing disingenuous GOP attacks.
I think Josh Marshall is on the right track:
Caring only about a majority instead of justice is a great way to get neither. https://t.co/kSj2Qp8UpA
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) June 21, 2017
I'll ignore the insult. Tough loss. Best to learn from it &move on to next fight than bathe in empty self-validation https://t.co/zgIiT8cXZn
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) June 21, 2017
I also like Seth Abramson’s reaction:
Good attitude. People who are so ready t throw up their hands over one close loss in a historically tough district aren't worth listening to
— mike sax (@evilsax) June 21, 2017
No matter how you want to read last night’s results-and they clearly weren’t a vindication for either Trump or his agenda-Jon Ossoff was right in what he said in his concession speech:
“In the first opportunity in this country to make a statement about values can still unite people at a time when politics has been dominated by fear, hatred and scapegoating and division, this community stood up,” Ossoff said.
“This is not the outcome any of us had hoped for, but this is the beginning of something much bigger than us…the fight goes on.”
P.S. So the Gravis poll against Peter King NY2 and it has good news-almost too good to believe.
In my March poll I trailed King by 11 and thought that was very good news. Now Gravis has me up by 10? Still, the moment of truth is next week when Gravis writes up the press release.
I can use any help I can get at this point-volunteers or supporters who live in NY 2. Donations whatever your zip code. These days we can’t just support a local Dem we need a Dem Congress. Which is why I’ve donated few hundred to Jon Ossoff.
Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House-$5 or $10 can do so much.
If you feel that you can’t I, of course, understand-who is rich these days? But please do me one favor: ask yourself privately, mentally, if you really can’t spare $5 dollars. If you can honestly say you can’t, no worries.
We can have a Dem Congress, we must have a Dem Cogress, and we will.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.