Former U.S. President Barack Obama was in a very good mood on Wednesday morning after major triumphs for the Democratic party in gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey on Tuesday.
Celebrating the victories of Democrats Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy, among others, Obama tweeted, “This is what happens when the people vote. Congrats @RalphNortham and @PhilMurphyNJ. And congratulations to all the victors in state legislative, county and mayors’ races. Every office in a democracy counts!”
In mid-October, Obama made visits to both Virginia and New Jersey to support Northam and Murphy’s campaigns. “Our democracy is at stake,” Obama said while speaking in Virginia on Oct. 19. “Elections matter. Voting matters. You can’t take anything for granted. You can’t sit this one out. It’s up to you.” In his appearances, Obama rebuked Trump’s worldview and urged voters to reject the politics of fear — and it appears to have paid off.
Northam defeated Ed Gillespie, a Republican candidate who embraced Trump’s hardline stances on immigration and crime while somewhat distancing himself from the president and his low approval ratings at the same time. Northam won by an even wider margin than Hillary Clinton’s 5 percent win over Trump in the Commonwealth just one year ago, a possible indication of Trump’s weakening position.
On the morning of the election, Trump had tweeted his support for Gillespie: “@EdWGillespie will totally turn around the high crime and poor economic performance of VA. MS-13 and crime will be gone. Vote today, ASAP!
After Gillespie’s defeat, however, Trump tweeted, “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for.”
Meanwhile, Murphy defeated Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, as New Jersey says goodbye to the chaotic tenure of Chris Christie. “This is the first major election since Donald Trump was elected. Tonight, New Jersey sent an unmistakable message to the entire nation — we are better than this,” Murphy said Tuesday night during his victory speech.
Northam and Murphy’s victories are being characterized as major defeats for Trumpism and the Republican party. Trump’s approval rating nationally is at its lowest point, and a large portion of New Jersey voters said they pulled the lever purely in opposition to Trump, according to CNN.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez celebrated his party’s success in Virginia alongside Northam Tuesday night. Perez told voters, “You have sent a message tonight not simply to the voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you have sent a message across the globe. … Donald Trump, you do not stand for our values.”
The next big test will come in the midterm elections one year from now.