Obama's 2017 Election Response Is Filled With Gratitude
Early Wednesday morning, in his first on-the-record response to the landslide progressive victories of Tuesday night's election, Obama wrote on Twitter: "This is what happens when the people vote." The former president also took a moment to congratulate two of the big winners of Tuesday night, Virginia's governor-elect Ralph Northam and New Jersey's governor-elect Phil Murphy, adding: "Congrats
@RalphNortham and @PhilMurphyNJ. And congratulations to all the victors in state legislative, county and mayors' races. Every office in a democracy counts!"
Obama's response is careful to congratulate not just Democrats who claimed victories in Tuesday's election, but, presumably, Republicans and independents as well — and yet there's a decidedly partisan note to his first statement: "This is what happens when the people vote." It may be a veiled shot at those who did not vote in 2016, losing Democrats the White House and a handful of coveted Senate and House seats. (Although voter turnout in 2016 overall was equivalent to 2012 for many demographics, black voter turnout hit a 20-year low.)
On Tuesday, the president again implored Americans to go out and vote: "Every election matters - those who show up determine our future. Go vote tomorrow!" he wrote on Twitter.
As of Wednesday morning, Obama is no doubt thrilled about the outcome of the election, which saw gains for Democrats and progressives across the board. The two most poignant national wins were that of Northam and Murphy, whom Obama named in his congratulatory tweet: Both Democrats claimed relatively easy victories what were thought to be difficult and hard-fought races.
Although the governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia were the most high-profile of the many races across the country Tuesday night, they were far from the only battles in which Democrats claimed victory. Democratic women and minorities across the board celebrated a flurry of successes Tuesday night, including the election of Virginia's first openly transgender state lawmaker, eight of the first black mayors of their respective cities, and a Sikh American mayor in New Jersey.
The results were thought to be a pre-midterm referendum on President Trump's one-year-old administration, and come as a desperately needed boost for Democrats as the tail-end of 2017. In spite of unprecedented protest and other forms of what's been dubbed the "resistance" since the shock election of the GOP nominee one year ago, the GOP have retained full control of both the House and the Senate throughout Trump's presidency — giving the party vast control over legislative decisions.
Should the 2018 midterms follow the path set by this election and swing in the Democrats' favor, potentially even awarding one of the congressional chambers to the party, Democrats will take back much of the decision-making control they lost in 2014 and 2016 — and set the stage for potentially an even greater victory in the 2020 national election.
In the meantime, Obama and the Democrats can breathe a sigh of relief over the outcome of Tuesday night's election. The victories give them not only a morale boost, but a entrance to fundraising on the eve of a year in which Democrats badly need all the successes they can get.