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It Starts Here



Just one data point, of course, but still encouraging:

MIDDLETOWN, Del. ― This is what democracy looks like.

It’s been a chant that has animated marches and protests around the country since the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated president, but it’s been more aspirational than descriptive. On Saturday, in a state Senate district in Delaware that stretches from Middletown to Newark, the voices in the streets turned into votes in the ballot box.

In the most expensive special election in Delaware history ― a contest to decide which party controls the state Senate ― Democrat Stephanie Hansen was on track to annihilate her Republican rival on the back of extraordinary turnout.

The last time her opponent, John Marino, ran in this district, in 2014, he lost by just 2 points. Hansen’s 58-42 percent victory over Marino on Saturday ensured that Democrats will maintain control of the state Senate. It also notched a big Donald Trump-era win for a new generation of Democratic activists shocked into action by the November election.

There were roughly six billion DEMOCRATS ARE DOOMED stories written after the 2016 elections, with an urgency heightened by an undemocratic electoral system awarding the election to the popular vote loser. Of course, the same stories were written about Republicans in 2009, when they got 163 electoral votes, lost 21 House seats and were reduced to 40 Senate seats, and had full control of 14 state legislatures. Part of what happened since then might be explained by superior tactics and organizing by the Republican Party. But the much larger factor is that all things being equal being the presidential out party is an advantage elsewhere, and that goes double when the incumbent president is as unpopular as Trump. Regaining this structural advantage doesn’t guarantee anything, but it’s a major opportunity.

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