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Daily Reads: Nine Key Victories From Democrats’ Big Election Night

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Nine Key Victories From Democrats' Big Election Night

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#Winning –> According to multiple news reports, Democrats like winning much better than losing. And win they did in the first general elections of the Trump era. All eyes were on Virginia, where Ralph Northam beat Ed Gillespie by 8 points in what was expected to be a very close race. Even more of a surprise, and perhaps more consequential, was their performance in Virginia’s House of Delegates, where they wiped out a 32-seat GOP majority, picking up at least 15 seats with several more too close to call or headed toward a recount. Michael Martz has more at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

At The Nation, Joan Walsh writes that one lesson Democrats should take from Virginia is to run everywhere, even if you’re new to the game. She notes that there appears to have been “reverse coattails” in the race, with House candidates driving up turnout and ultimately raising the numbers for Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and AG Mark Herring. “A stunning wave of first-time female candidates won races for the Virginia House of Delegates Tuesday night,” she writes, and they “helped propel their all-male slate of statewide candidates to a decisive victory.”

Last night’s results may lead Virginia to re-open a debate over expanding its Medicaid program, a move that Republicans have so far blocked. Meanwhile, lower-income Mainers got another consequential win, as a referendum on expanding that state’s Medicaid program passed last night. Sarah Kliff writes at Vox that 89,000 people in the Pine Tree State will become eligible for coverage.

Another win took place in Washington state, where Manka Dhingra flipped a Republican state Senate seat in King County, and in doing so, won Democratic control of the legislature. That was the final brick in a West Coast “Blue Wall,” with Democrats enjoying unified control of California, Oregon and Washington. Late last week, Alexander Burns and Kirk Johnson reported for The New York Times that “Democrats have sketched an aggressive agenda,” and are talking “about enacting policy across state lines. The three states’ Democratic governors have spoken regularly about policy collaboration, and over the summer began coordinated talks on climate change with foreign heads of state.”

Other victories of note: Danica Roem was the first openly transgender candidate to win a seat in the Virginia state House, defeating Bob Marshall, who, Buzzfeed notes, “has served 11 terms and sponsored a firehouse of bills catered to the religious right.” Larry Krasner, a progressive civil rights lawyers and criminal justice reform advocate, became Philadelphia’s new district attorney. Democrat Vi Lyles “easily defeated Republican Kenny Smith on Tuesday to become Charlotte’s first African-American female mayor.” Hoboken City Councilman Ravi Bhalla became New Jersey’s first Sikh mayor. Democrats picked up two open seats in the Georgia House that had previously been held by Republicans. And New Hampshire Democrats picked up two more seats last night, bringing their record in special elections during Trump’s first year in office to 8-2.

There were other, less talked-about races across the country…

Muted bluster –> As protesters gathered outside, Donald Trump offered North Korea some tough talk in a speech to the South Korean legislature last night. But his tone was muted when he was on-script, and David Nakamura reports for The Washington Post that when he went off it he ended up plugging one of his golf courses.

Apparently, the speech was also a bit…. stilted

And Trump lands in China today, where according to one expert quoted by the Los Angeles Times, “the Chinese strategy will be to treat Trump with enormous respect and give him nothing.”

Wealth and power –> Ronan Farrow follows up on his New Yorker exposé of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged abuses with a remarkable piece detailing the spies, fake journalists and legal flacks the former Miramax mogul hired in a desperate attempt to keep the story of his predation from being published. This one is really a must-read.

And Olivia Messer reports for The Daily Beast that “women in Texas’ statehouse created their own secret spreadsheet to chronicle abuses in the capitol, which allegedly range from violent groping to sexual assault.”

Points for honesty –> Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) “acknowledged on Tuesday that he’s facing pressure from donors to ensure the GOP tax-reform proposal gets done,” reports The Hill’s Cristina Marcos. “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” Collins said.

Ben Caselman and Jim Tankersley report for The New York Times that “nearly half of all middle-class families would pay more in taxes in 2026 than they would under current rules if the proposed House tax bill became law, and about one-third would pay more in 2018.” They call it “a striking finding for a bill promoted as a middle-class tax cut.”

And then there was one –> “Syria announced during United Nations climate talks on Tuesday that it would sign the Paris agreement on climate change,” writes Lisa Friedman for The New York Times. “The move, which comes on the heels of Nicaragua signing the accord last month, will leave the United States as the only country that has rejected the global pact.”

Another local news source bites the dust –> At In These Times, Kate Aronoff writes that Wall Street billionaire Joe Ricketts, who last week “shuttered the Gothamist and DNAinfo media empire he conglomerated in March” after their newsrooms voted to join a union, is a poster-boy for laws that set a maximum income.

Parts –> At Pacific Standard, Peter Andrey Smith takes a somewhat macabre look at the business of human remains. While it’s illegal to sell a human body, brokers charge service fees for trafficking in donated corpses. “The United States is an excellent place to be in the body business,” Smith writes.

On the way to lizardom –> Scientists have unearthed a “beautifully preserved, nearly complete fossil” that is “shedding new light on the evolution of the aquatic members of a small, enigmatic group of ancient reptiles called pleurosaurs.” Pleurosaurs were not yet fully adapted to aquatic life like a modern amphibian, but “bridged the gap between land and sea.” Sid Perkins has the details at Science.

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.



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