While yoking themselves to Donald Trump did indeed help Republicans take control of Congress and the White House, it now looks like they may have to pay a steep price for being associated with such a divisive figure.
With midterm elections just around the corner and control of Congress in the balance, the recent losses in Virginia have many Republicans worried that longtime party members may dump the party to express their total disgust for Trump.
Chesterfield County, Virginia, The Washington Post reports, voted for a Democrat for governor for the first time since 1961, and a big part of the reason is because women showed up in huge numbers to register a protest vote against the president. Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist, explained:
“That’s a huge red flag for Republicans and an opportunity for Democrats. There’s opportunity in these traditionally conservative suburbs with college-educated white voters who are unwilling to back a Republican candidate. It’s a function of and proof that Trump has tainted the rest of the Republicans running for office.”
Ferguson’s remarks were echoed by GOP election analyst Chris LaCivita, who fears the 2018 midterm election could be a political bloodbath for Republicans:
“Midterm and off-year elections are defined by whose base is more animated and engaged and right now it’s the Democrats. You’re going to have to work harder than ever if you’re a Republican in this environment.”
Kim Drew Wright, a mother of three who helped form the Liberal Women of Chesterfield County after the 2016 election, said opposing Trump was the reason she became politically active after sitting on the sidelines for years:
“I wouldn’t have done this every day for the past year if I hadn’t gotten so angry about Trump. Once you wake up and see how important local elections are, it’s hard to go back to the shadows and stick your head in the sand. Now we have our eye on everybody, from dogcatcher on up.”
The GOP is now the Party of Trump. That may have helped them gain control of the executive and legislative branches of government in 2016, but it could also wind up destroying the party in the long run.
Featured Image Via NBC News