Virginia and Kentucky were huge wins, but the most ominous warning for Donald Trump last evening may have occurred in the suburbs of Philadelphia, particularly in three of the four “bellwether” surrounding counties of Delaware, Chester and Bucks.
First, Delaware County, where something truly remarkable occurred.
In a victory certain to reverberate across Pennsylvania’s political landscape, Democrats on Tuesday gained control of the Delaware County Council, the controlling body of the historically red Philadelphia suburb.
Tuesday’s race was the first time in generations that Democrats presented a real challenge to the Republican machine that has ruled the county since before the Civil War. Buoyed by a general anti-Trump sentiment and encouraged by the historic win of two seats on the council in 2017, Democrats anticipated an easy victory.
Up until a decade or so ago, Delaware County was a reliably Republican stronghold. It has gradually turned blue, voting for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but up until this year had remained under firm, Republican local control. The Dems’ victory last night, as they assumed total control of the County’s Council, was nothing less than historic. The Democrats had never enjoyed a majority on the Council—now they make up its entire body.
The voting patterns, particularly the measure of enthusiasm, in these suburbs are historically indicative of Democratic prospects for success in the state. They mirror trends nationwide which suggest that better educated voters–including educated and wealthier white voters in particular– are increasingly energized and determined to defeat Trump and his GOP collaborators wherever they find them.
The Democratic victories around the country point to surging interest by liberal voters heading into the 2020 presidential election. That could be especially significant in Pennsylvania, which Trump won in 2016 — along with its 20 electoral college votes — partly due to a dip in Democratic enthusiasm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
For Republicans, the result was disastrous.
In Delaware County, the results for Republicans were catastrophic. All three Republican Council candidates and all four Republicans running for Common Pleas Court judgeships lost there. Incumbent Republican District Attorney Katayoun Copeland was ousted by Democrat Jack Stollsteimer, whose campaign received the support of liberal billionaire George Soros.
The District Attorney fight is worth nothing as the incumbent Republican, Copeland, bombarded the airwaves with vicious smear ads against the Democrat. There was clearly no lack of funding on the GOP’s part. Their efforts failed nonetheless, leaving a thoroughly demoralized Delaware County GOP chair spitting nails afterwards.
In brief remarks, Delaware County GOP chair Tom McGarrigle said local residents should be scared, particularly by Stollsteimer’s win.
“That should concern every one of you that has a home a family or a business in Delaware County,” McGarrigle said. “Because, you know what? You shouldn’t feel safe anymore.”
Proving even in defeat Republicans can’t even muster an ounce of class.
Democrats also scored a stunning victory in Chester County, another “bellwether” of Republican chances in the state.
WEST CHESTER, PA — Democrats are projected to take control of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, winning two of the three seats to flip it blue for the first time in years.
Chester County elected its first Democratic (and first female) District Attorney, Deb Ryan, Esq. Overall Democrats were the projected winners in every county level race.
And yet again, in traditionally more “conservative” Bucks county, the same result:
BUCKS COUNTY, PA — Bucks County Democrats appeared on the verge of taking control of the county board of commissioners for the first time in decades after Tuesday’s elections.
In all three counties—Delaware, Chester and Bucks, the victories were virtually straight down the line. And Democrats retained control in Montgomery County, the remaining suburban bellwether.
This is fairly unheard of. It is a Big. F*cking. Deal.
So while the national focus will be on Virginia and Kentucky, the GOP—and particularly Donald Trump– will privately be wringing their hands in despair about Pennsylvania.
They were just torn to shreds here.