Politico, a liberal website inside the swamp that is Washington, D.C., was positively giddy with delight after Tuesday's election returns rolled in.
"Democrats euphoric after Tuesday election romp," blared the headline, with a subhead that read: "Wins in Virginia and across the country buoy the party's hopes about the 2018 midterms."
The campaign was a long and bloody battle (as a Virginia resident, I can attest that the deluge of dishonest ads — from both sides — was disgusting). But in the end, the outcome was not surprising, for this one simple fact:
There are now more Democrats in Virginia than Republicans — by some accounts, a LOT more.
Sure, there were other reasons Ed Gillespie lost by nearly 9 percentage points to Democrat Ralph Northam, 53.7% to 45.1%. Gillespie is about as Establishment a candidate as one could find; he shunned President Trump (who never popped across the Potomac River to campaign for the Republican), and, truth be told, Gillespie is boring, both on TV and in person.
But the real reason Gillespie lost was simple numbers — more Democrats = loss for Republicans.
The Washington Post interviewed nearly 3,000 voters as they came out of the polls. Here's what they found:
- 41% identified as Democrats
- 30% said they were Republicans
So, the fact that Gillespie even got to 45% is against the odds (28% of those surveyed said they were "independent or something else").
But there's more. Northern Virginia, one of the population centers of the state, voted more heavily for the Democrat than ever before. Northam won huge in places like Fairfax County (67-32) and Alexandria (78-21). But he also crushed in the growing suburb of Loudoun County (59-39) and took Prince William County 61-38.
A personal tale: I started out as a young reporter covering politics in Prince William nearly 30 years ago. Back then, the bedroom community 35 miles outside of D.C. was solidly Republican. But over the years, it has morphed from bright red to pale purple to deep blue. The Democratic base in Northern Virginia has now expanded far into the suburbs, and the Post notes that "the area gave Northam a vote advantage of more than 260,000 votes, expanding the region’s dominance over the rest of the state."
So there's that. Turnout was also the highest in 20 years for a gubernatorial race, the Post says. Some will argue that Democrats were simply more motivated in Virginia on Election Day, but the bottom line is that the party now dominates in the commonwealth as never before.
Democrats took away 14 legislative seats from Republicans across Virginia, which certainly can't be fobbed off on Trump. What's more, the first transgender candidate to run for state office won in — where else but Prince William County.
There are other reasons Gillespie lost (The Daily Wire's Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro breaks it down here), but the bottom line is pure math: Virginia, once a Republican stronghold, has shifted to bright blue — like it's neighbors across the river, D.C. and Maryland — and it's not likely it'll ever shift back.