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Virginia victory a referendum on President Trump

The Roanoke Times on Democrats’ victory in Virginia serving as a referendum on President Donald Trump:

Donald Trump lost Tuesday. Bigly.

He wasn’t on the ballot in Virginia but make no mistake, he’s the reason the race turned out like it did.

In a normal year, Democrat Ralph Northam would not have won as easily as he did.

In a normal year, Northam may not have won at all.

Four years ago, Terry McAuliffe won with just under 48 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Even then, the McAuliffe barely scraped by against Ken Cuccinelli, a polarizing figure who turned off many moderate voters.

This time around, Republican Ed Gillespie was as mainstream a Republican as you’d find. He seemed well-positioned to win back the suburban moderates who first defected from Cuccinelli and then recoiled from Trump a year ago. And yet none of that seemed to matter, not with Virginia voters feeling the way they do about Trump. They didn’t vote for Trump a year ago and in exit polls Tuesday they made it clear they liked him even less. In the only poll that matters – the one held at the ballot box – voters went for Democrats in a way that seems impossible to explain except as a reaction to Trump.