News & Politics

Is the South Ripe for Democrats' Picking?

Virginia Democratic Gov. elect Ralph Northam addresses supporters and at the Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Following Virginia, Democrats smell blood in the water. All their special election losses before are completely and totally irrelevant because they won Virginia. Now it’s smooth sailing from here through the midterm elections next year.

At least that’s what some Democrats are thinking, and even Politico is feeding that narrative.

“National Democrats are seeing glimmers of electoral hope flickering across the deep red South for the first time in years,” Gabriel Debenedetti starts off. That’s a fair assessment. The morning after the Virginia returns, Democrats all over the country suddenly ignored their staggering losses over the previous year and suddenly felt invincible.

Even while Virginia is a southern state by geography, it is not necessarily southern by any other metric.

Virginia, with its close proximity to Washington, D.C., tends to be far bluer than any other part of the South. Northern Virginia provides a left-leaning balance to the redder rural parts of the state, and on Tuesday that balance tipped in the Democrats’ favor. It didn’t help that Ed Gillespie was a milquetoast candidate whom even the most ardent Republican had trouble getting excited about.

Democrats won Virginia, but the rest of the South isn’t as easy a win as Democrats want to think.

Throughout the nation, southerners are watching antifa and other left-leaning activists set fires to communities, smash windows, and still get treated like simple activists rather than the urban terrorists they actually are. Southerners see it and are disgusted.

Oh, the cities are still as blue as they’ve always been, but while Democrats are hopeful that suburbs with similar demographics to key Virginia districts will also side with them, they’re dreaming. I live here in the South. I talk to people, and what I’m personally seeing and hearing isn’t a blue wave crashing over the Deep South.

Instead, I see people horribly distrustful of the Democratic Party. A good friend of mine who is a staunch liberal commented over dinner recently that she won’t be voting Democrat next year or ever again, not until they do some major reforming following information that the primary system had been rigged to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

It didn’t help that verification came from Donna Brazille rather than Fox News, not for the Democrats.

So what can the Democrats gain? The most they can hope for, based on what I’m seeing here on the ground and not in an echo chamber, is maybe a House seat or two. Maybe. It sounds possible that they might lose a few instead.

Forget the Senate, though.

Those handfuls of districts they’re hoping for gains in won’t be enough to swing an entire state’s politics, especially with how hated Democrats are right now. The deep political divide in this country may well motivate voters who normally skip the midterms to venture out and vote, thus negating any potential gains Democrats hope to make.

In other words, Democrats are guilty of wishful thinking … kind of like when they passed Obamacare.