West Virginia’s administrator is switching parties. And Democrats only strike a new low.

In November, Republicans solidified and/or stretched their majorities during all levels of governance, and it looked like things couldn’t get worse for Democrats. Except, it usually did.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Thursday he is withdrawal a Democratic Party, usually 6 months after holding office, and apropos a Republican. An additional spin of a blade for Democrats: He’s doing it alongside President Trump, during a convene in West Virginia.

“Like it or not, yet a Democrats walked divided from me,” he told Trump supporters. ” … West Virginia, we can’t assistance we anymore by being a Democratic governor.”

It’s not immediately transparent since Justice is doing an about-face. But a fact he is underscores usually how frail Democrats’ reason on energy is. With one politician’s preference to switch parties, Democrats now reason a record low series of governors offices — and Republicans reason a record high.


Justice will be a 34th Republican governor, restraining an all-time high for a party. Republicans now control both a governors’ mansions and state legislatures in 26 states. Democrats have sum control in usually 6 states. (Though in 2018, they’ll have a possibility to collect adult governors’ mansions as Republicans are fortifying 27 of 38 seats, many in blue or purple states.)

Party switches, generally during a gubernatorial level, don’t occur really often. Justice is a initial administrator to switch from Democrat to Republican in two-and-a-half decades. And it’s not transparent he did it since of broader narrow-minded dynamics.

This appears to be some-more of a personal decision. Justice didn’t give his now-former celebration or his new celebration a heads up. He didn’t call a Democratic Governors’ Association, that spent $1.5 million to assistance Justice win election, and sources contend even some of his staff was held off guard.

The Democratic Governors Association indicted a billionaire, who owes millions in taxes and fines, of switching parties to enrich himself.

If one Democrat were to switch parties right now, Justice is substantially a Democrat you’d guess. He indeed is a former Republican. He was a first, and one of a only, big-name Democrats to contend he wouldn’t be voting for Hillary Clinton. It finished adult being a intelligent call. Trump won Justice’s state by some-more than 40 points, and Justice outperformed Clinton by some-more than that to win his election. Justice has been tighten to Trump’s children, generally Eric Trump, for some time. Just final week, Justice rode in a limo with Trump as a boss was in a state to speak to Boy Scouts.

Jim Justice. (Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald around AP)

In other words, Justice’s depart doesn’t meant Democrats are journey their celebration since they finally saw a light and motionless to spin Republican. In fact, maybe it’s the opposite, pronounced Carolyn Fiddler, a state politics researcher with a left-leaning blog Daily Kos.

“I’m astounded he’d opt to align himself with a celebration with such a shop-worn code right now,” she said. Trump has historically low capitulation ratings, and Republicans in Congress usually attempted to pass an Obamacare repeal, yet all they achieved was to make Obamacare some-more popular.

It’s not immediately transparent Republicans in West Virginia wish him. They derided a individualist billionaire during a discuss for not being good with finances.

“The people of West Virginia merit better,” state Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R) said of a administrator recently during a bill debate. “I don’t trust anybody who owes this state $4.5 million in delinquent taxes is in a position to tell a legislative physique that has responsibly managed a possess bill for decades.”

In terms of West Virginia policy, Justice’s preference won’t change many immediately. Republicans control a state legislature and they could have usually vetoed Justice anyway. (West Virginia is one of several states that requires a elementary infancy to overrule a governor’s veto.) “It’s not as yet Jim Justice was holding behind a waves of regressive legislation as a Democratic governor,” Fiddler said.

But he might have a durability impact on West Virginia politics. Republicans have prolonged pronounced that if they can spin West Virginia’s governor’s palace red, they could keep it Republican for decades to come.

Obama mislaid a state by double digits twice, and all yet one of West Virginia’s five-person congressional commission are Republicans. (And that sole Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, is adult for reelection in 2018 is one of Democrats’ many vulnerable.) The state legislature has been wholly tranquil by Republicans since 2014. Neighboring Kentucky is saying a same dynamics: In November, Republicans took control of a final state legislative cover in a South, a Kentucky statehouse.

As we wrote behind then, Democrats are fundamentally archaic in a South. Justice might have usually solidified that a small over north, in West Virginia.

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