Wednesday, July 12, 2017
On Tuesday, Democrats won a shutout victory in special elections in the Oklahoma state legislature.
More generally, Oklahoma is one of the most heavily Republican states in the country. It is one of only two states in which Trump carried every single county. Right-wing extremism is heavily entrenched in the state legislature -- one Oklahoma lawmaker made national news for calling Islam "a cancer on our nation that needs to be cut out," and another proclaimed from the House floor that "I've seen many people of color who didn't want to work as hard." Democrats are usually so uncompetitive in the Sooner State that last year, they did not even run candidates in 21 state house races. But there have been recent signs of growing Democratic strength in Oklahoma. In May, another special election in a house district Trump won 73 to 23 points was breathtakingly close, with Republicans only winning by 2 points. This year, Republicans managed to hang on to congressional districts in Georgia, Kansas, Montana, and South Carolina with intense political spending. But at the state level, Democrats have been drubbing them. The GOP failed to flip legislatures in Delaware and Connecticut. They lost local elections in Illinois and Virginia. They lost heavily red seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the New York State Assembly. After years as the dominant political force in state politics, Republicans are suddenly finding themselves playing defense in the age of Trump. Democratic victories in Oklahoma are the latest sign of a shift that is only just beginning.
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