As Virginia Democrats were getting pantsed on Tuesday of this week, another, even more alarming (for them) scenario was playing out in New Jersey as Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy struggled to hold onto his seat; he only just eked out a win yesterday:
Philip D. Murphy was re-elected governor of New Jersey by a slim margin, overcoming an early deficit, public pushback over his coronavirus emergency orders and the unpopularity of President Biden in a race that recent polling had suggested he would win by double digits.
Yes indeed, Murphy was predicted to win the state "by double digits," and he barely managed to scrabble together a one-point win! That's bad news enough for Democrats under any scenario, but it's even more of a mind-freak when you consider Murphy's standing four years ago [emphasis added]:
Former Goldman Sachs executive and major Democratic donor Phil Murphy will replace Chris Christie and serve as New Jersey's 56th governor, after he defeated Republican Kim Guadagno by a comfortable 14-point margin in the election Tuesday.
That's right...14 points four years ago. Fourteen.
To be sure, Murphy pulled off one upset: He broke a long streak of failed Democratic re-election bids in the state, becoming the first Dem reelected in several decades.
Yet the utter narrowness of that win—the most razor-thin margin in a gubernatorial election there in nearly thirty years—after winning the race by a blowout just four years ago is not a good sign for Democrats: It indicates voter frustration, decreased Democratic enthusiasm, and a potential catastrophe going into 2022, where 12 seats in the U.S. House are up for grabs.
After Tuesday, in other words, Democrats should feel more or less like Indiana Jones right now: They've got the golden totem they were after, but there's a massive stone rolling down right behind them and it's gonna crush them if they're not careful.
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