Tuesday’s election offered some respite for nervous Democrats who have begun to wonder whether President Joe Biden could lead his party to victory in next fall’s presidential election.
Democrats won crucial races in Virginia and Pennsylvania – states seen as bellwethers for the 2024 vote – as well as in Kentucky, where the governor won by a wider margin in his re-election bid than in his previous bid. of his first round, defeating a supported rival. by former President Donald Trump.
Tuesday’s election tested many hot-button national issues — including abortion, crime, election administration and, yes, even the impact of the war in Israel.
Some takeaways from Tuesday:
Abortion boosts Democrats in key races
Since the Supreme Court last year overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade and eliminated federal abortion protections, a coalition of pro-abortion rights voters supported Democrats in races across the board while winning a slew of abortion-related ballot initiatives in red and blue. States.
This trend continued unabated on Tuesday.
In Ohio, voters passed a ballot initiative which enshrined the right to abortion in the state constitution. In Virginia, Democrats regained control of the Legislative Assembly after Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin campaigned on passing new abortion restrictions if the GOP wins back the state Senate. In Pennsylvania, a Democratic Supreme Court nominee was able to expand Biden’s margin of victory in 2020 to win a race in which abortion rights were at the forefront.
Clearly, the issue remains relevant to the electorate – a major concern as the 2024 election approaches.
Biden can breathe after disappointing polls
One of the first Democratic leaders to achieve victory on Tuesday was the president himself.
“Across the country tonight, democracy won and MAGA lost,” Biden tweeted. “Voters vote. Polls don’t. Now let’s go win next year.”
The tweet followed a New York Times/Siena College Poll that caused dismay among Democrats during the weekend. He trailed Trump by notable margins in five swing states and led in only one — Wisconsin, which he would be likely to lose if he fell in places like Nevada and Michigan.
Even though Tuesday’s election was fought almost entirely at the local and state level, Biden needed some good news to highlight. And that’s exactly what the victories brought.
A bad night for Youngkin
For months, rumors have been circulating that the Virginia governor could enter the presidential race late. As Trump’s rivals failed to chip away at his lead in the GOP primary campaign, donors considered Youngkin, whose 2021 victory shook the party and offered hope for a path forward in a post-Trump environment, as a viable alternative.
But even though a late entry into the race seemed unlikely as filing deadlines approached, Youngkin’s national future quickly became tied to his party’s performance in Virginia on Tuesday night.
It didn’t go well.
Youngkin helped lead efforts for months to flip the state Senate and give Republicans a winning trio at the state level — one that would help him implement a broad Republican agenda.
Instead, Republicans not only lost the state Senate; they lost also control of the State House.
Although Youngkin may still have a national future after his gubernatorial term ends in 2025 (Virginia governors cannot run for two consecutive terms), Tuesday marks an important step down the road.