Tuesday, June 6

Five keys to local elections in the US that have given a blow to Biden and the Democrats

USA has lived this Tuesday a series of local and state elections, the largest elections until the legislative elections of 2022, which in cases such as the race for governor of Virginia were read as the first referendum on the presidency of Joe Biden. The result there, but also the highly disputed race for governor of New Jersey or decisions such as the refusal in progressive Minneapolis to end the police department, have ended up launching worrying messages for the Democratic Party. The search for the path that training will follow in the face of the elections of 2022, where its meager control of Congress is at stake, and the duel between its internal currents, intensifies from this Wednesday.

These are five keys to these elections.

Hit the Democrats in Virginia

The oldest blow for Biden and the Democrats has arrived in Virginia, a state that the president took by 10 points last November but where this Tuesday former Governor Terry McAuliffe, comparable to royalty in the Democratic Party, has been defeated by the republicano Glenn Youngkin, the first conservator who reaches the position of governor in the state in 12 years. It was the race that was followed with more interest and attention throughout the country because in it it is impossible not to read national codes.

In Youngkin the Republicans have found a potential formula for future careers in the conservative universe still dominated by Donald Trump that they will certainly try to emulate in both 2022 and 2024, exploiting Biden’s weaknesses and keeping Trump’s shadow at bay in states leaning Democrat.

Without criticizing the former president for not alienating his bases but at the same time striking the balance to convince the moderates, Youngkin, a financial businessman who has spent millions of his own pocket on the campaign, has remained away from Trump, shunning public functions together (although they have spoken frequently on the phone). Trump, for his part, has given him his support and has sought to mobilize voters, in this case putting aside the obsessive denunciation of a non-existent electoral fraud in his defeat that is central in his messages and turning his focus on the culture wars that Youngkin has made centers in the campaign.

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Those culture wars are also a preview of what Republicans can be expected to explode in upcoming electoral races. In the case of Virginia, where the economy was the primary concern of voters, Youngkin has focused heavily on denouncing the Critical Race Theory in schools (although in reality this academic framework is not part of the educational plans in the state) and in the role that parents should play in the school curriculum. Those are issues that are being central to the Conservative movement across the US, just like the rejection of the mandates of masks and vaccines, with whom Youngkin has aligned himself.

The democratsmeanwhile, they have failed in their effort to return Trump to the center of the campaign. And the worrying signals that come to them from the state are many. Many of the props what biden accomplished there now they have collapsed, including that of women. If Virginia voters gave the president a 23-point lead over Trump, this time they have supported McAuliffe just 1% more than Youngkin. And the Republican results have not only been reinforced in small and rural countiess but have closed distances with the Democrats in the most diverse and densely populated suburbss that were key to progressive victories in 2020.

McAuliffe’s strategy, which launched alerts about the regression that the state could experience in areas such as the abortion, the voting rights or the access to healthcare If Youngkin won, they have not caught on with the voters, and neither have the efforts to unleash enthusiasm among black voters that he made by accusing the Republican of stoking the racism and with the support of former President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris or Stacey Abrams in campaign events.

Negative surprise in New Jersey

Although the count continued at the time of this writing, the hotly contested race for governor of New Jersey Between Phil Murphy, seeking to be the state’s first reelected Democrat since 1977, and Republican Jack Ciattarelli, it was also a blow to Democrats, who expected a comfortable victory, and a negative surprise.

In that race, many lines similar to those of Virginia, with an effort by Murphy to link Ciattarelli with Trump, which as in Virginia has been a failed strategy, and with advances by the Republican in areas such as the suburbs where the Democrats had managed in 2020 to wrest the conservatives.

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Police in Minneapolis

A year and a half ago the murder at the hands of the George Floyd made Minneapolis the epicenter of a national movement to protest racist brutality in law enforcement and racial injustice. It was also in Minneapolis that the seed of calls to a deep reform of the police system in the US, with ideas like taking away funding or abolishing the bodies. The city proposed replace the Police Department with a new one for Public Safety that proposed addressing security from “a broad public health approach” but this Tuesday voters have rejected that proposal at the polls, with 13 points of advantage over those who supported her.

In a campaign in which Political Action Committees have invested millions of dollars and that has occurred at a time of increased crime in Minneapolis, part of the rejection has been due to the vagueness with which the amendment was drafted, which proposed ending a department with a minimum number of agents for the city based on population and proposed the replacement by the new department with more specialists in mental health and social services, and more control of the municipal council.

Also opposed were moderate Democratic leaders such as the mayor, Jacob Frey, who last night was fighting to renew his mandate, and who preferred the alternative of improving the current police department to ending it.

A socialist mayor in Buffalo?

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party may have suffered another blow in Buffalo, the second largest city in New York. There he won the party primaries in the summer India Walton, a 39-year-old black nurse and activist with no public office experience registered in the Democratic Socialists of America, who had the road to mayor in an eminently Democratic city open and would have become the first socialist leader of a large city since 1960.

We’ll have to keep waiting, at least until all the votes are counted, because the mayor Walton beat in those primaries, Democrat Byron Brown, declared himself the winner.

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Brown, another African-American who has been in Buffalo for four terms, decided to challenge the outcome of the primaries and ran as candidato “write in”, one whose name does not appear on the ballot but which voters can write. This Tuesday night, with the “write in” ahead in the count, but pending a laborious recount now ballot by ballot, he declared himself the winner. Walton, despite this, has not conceded defeat and has recalled that there are other candidates in the race.

The fight the two have fought represents the internal fight in the Democratic Party. Walton was supported by progressive leaders such as Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and others more associated with the establishment such as Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Other careers

Tuesday’s elections have also produced other remarkable results, some of which do bring joy to the progressive wing of the party and show a more representative face of the country’s diversity, especially for the minority of Asian-Americans.

The voters of Boston, for example, they have elected at the polls for the town hall for the first time to someone who is neither male nor white. The city will run the Taiwanese-born progressive Michelle Wu, 36, who had won support like that of Senator Elizabeth Warren. On Cincinnatiwhile the democrat Aftab Pureval, of a Tibetan mother and Indian father, will be the first Asian-American mayor from the city.

New York will not only have his second black mayor after the victory of Eric Adams but for the first time also a Afro-American will be in front of the office of the Manhattan district attorney, a position in which Alvin Bragg will inherit, among many other cases, that of the investigation of Donald Trump and his businesses.

In Ohio, meanwhile, a Republican supported by Trump and a Democrat have won the special elections that will take them to the United States Lower House.


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