Democrats—who’d had little to celebrate since Donald Trump’s shocking election a year ago—are exulting in last week’s sweeping victories in Virginia and New Jersey, the first signs that the party can spin Trump’s abysmal public approval ratings into electoral gold.
Yet there’s also a danger of over-interpreting these odd-year election results. New Jersey is a deep blue state, and a combination of demographic change and political pragmatism in Virginia has made Democrats ascendant once again in the Old Dominion. More fundamentally, however, the party can’t engineer a political comeback solely on the strength of an anti-Trump message.
That’s because Democrats’ core dilemma – their lack of competitiveness across America’s broad midsection – is structural. It started before Trump burst onto the political scene and reflects deep cultural and economic changes that have left rural and working class voters feeling forgotten and left behind.
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