Let’s swing our gaze to New Jersey first, where I had predicted in the New York Post yesterday there might be an upset in the making (“And don’t overlook New Jersey. While media attention has been focused on Virginia partly because it is in the shadow of the DC-centric media, polls show a tight, single-digit margin between incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy and unknown Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli. . . a Ciattarelli upset in New Jersey can’t be ruled out”).
It appears that Murphy will hang on by the skin of his teeth, but Republicans have made strong gains in the state legislature, even in districts where the GOP candidate was unknown and barely campaigned. In other words, there was a strong generic swing to Republicans. After which the broader question should arise: If you are a Democratic U.S. House member from a district in New Jersey or elsewhere that was close in 2020, or that Trump carried, how are you feeling this morning about voting for the progressive “Build Back Better” budget-buster right now? I think the chances for passage just went down significantly. If nothing else, I expect Manchin’s position has hardened further.
There is one thing that vulnerable Democrats think just might save them in states like New Jersey and New York (aside from gerrymandering—the 2022 maps are still not done in many states): a big tax cut for the rich and upper-middle class.
I’m not kidding. While all the election drama was going on, down in Washington the sausage-making over the Build Back Better plan apparently includes a repeal of the state-and-local-tax (SALT) deduction cap that was part of the Trump tax reform of 2017. It is a huge giveaway to the rich in high-tax blue states. And a number of progressives aren’t happy about it, starting with Bernie:
And check out the anguish of Jason Furman, the Harvard economics professor who was chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers:
More broadly, as one could have easily predicted, the left is simply doubling down on everything, saying the problem is that Democrats like McAuliffe weren’t progressive enough, and Congress should have passed the Build Back Better plan sooner. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
And also, racism of course:
And also their smug elitist superiority:
Meanwhile, let us savor a few loose ends from the whole scene:
Also this blast from the past (May):
I’m sure Harris is working her best Emily Litella imitation right now.
UPDATE: Here is the New York Times map of Virginia’s “red shift.” Every part of the state, including northern Virginia, moved red. This ought to terrify Democrats.