Going into the midterm elections later this year in the U.S., Democrats don’t just hope to hold onto their present portions of political power across the nation, they hope to expand them. Every formerly Republican-held seat that a Democrat can flip is a boost to those efforts, both through invigorating them and through proving them to be working.
There have been dozens of such flipped seats since Trump took office, and now, there’s another one. After Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was ordered to hold a special election to fill the seat by a judge, a Democrat has now won the race to represent the state’s 1st Senate district.
That Democrat is Caleb Frostman; he finished with about 51.4 percent of the vote, finishing in preliminary vote counts not even 1,000 votes ahead of his opponent, Republican André Jacque. Frostman is the first Democrat to win the seat in over 40 years, and as recently as 2016, it was Republican-leaning enough for Trump to win it by 18 percent.
In other words — your vote counts.
It’s a saying that’s often repeated, but it really cuts to the heart of the matter quite efficiently. Certain Republican interests around the country are fond of seeking to suppress voter turnout because — as one Republican from Wisconsin itself put it at one point — the fewer people who vote, the more Republicans win.
Although it’s true that anger with the current Republican U.S. president pushes some people to try and get around GOP suppression and get out and vote, that’s not what drove some of the Frostman supporters spoken to by the Green Bay Press Gazette. What did drive at least one of them, rather, is the way in which he connected with people.
Social worker Jessica Holland commented:
‘Caleb wanted to meet people like me. He was interested in all people, he understands the contributions many voices have.’
The race to represent Wisconsin’s 1st state Senate district proves something then that should be self-evident from the above. To win in midterm elections later this year, Democrats don’t necessarily need to go on and on against Trump. They just need to connect with people; they need to replace the contrived connections he maintains with their own.
For some Democrats running in areas with vast segments of anti-Trump fervor, that might be less pressing and their way might be easier, but for the many others running in areas where the populace isn’t so overwhelmingly anti-Trump, that might not be the path for them.
Going into November, the seat that Frostman won will again be up in an election; his victory only covers the rest of the current term, which does not include any planned state legislative sessions or actions.
‘This has been a lot of work but worth every minute. We’ll rest up for a couple days and give voters a break and then we’ll be back at it. I enjoy the interaction with voters, getting out there and hearing their stories.’
Republicans as led by Gov. Scott Walker furiously sought to avoid calling a special election to fill the seat, which was vacated when Republican Frank Lassee resigned last year, but their efforts — which perhaps included concerns about an impending public humiliation should they lose the seat in question — failed and Walker was ordered to do so.
Featured Image via KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images