A week after Democrats sailed to victory in New Jersey and Virginia, party leaders are hopeful the races are harbingers of elections to come.

Republicans, meanwhile, are wondering whether the best strategy is to run with — or away from — Donald Trump.

“So far you can’t say that Trump’s magic formula has carried over to others,” Republican consultant Michael Fragin told Mishpacha. “The Republicans need to be worried about the 21 House seats that Hillary Clinton carried that are now held by Republicans, including suburban seats. Clearly, a majority of suburban voters don’t want Trump.”

According to Democratic campaign consultant Hank Sheinkopf, the next election will be a referendum on both Trump and Republicans who control both houses of Congress. “No one should count Republicans out,” Sheinkopf said. “But if they don’t pass laws, they are going to get knocked out. It’s in the Democrats’ interest for the Republicans to do nothing.”

But running against Trump, or turning up the heat on the Republican leadership in Congress, is not enough, Fragin explained. Democrats will need to find attractive candidates and give voters a reason to vote for them. “You always need a good alternative,” he said. “It’s not enough to run against Trump. You actually have to offer something, and Democrats are having a hard time articulating that.”

In addition, there’s always the possibility that Trump moderates his behavior and voters notice that Republicans alone aren’t responsible for the deadlock in Congress. “It’s a long time between now and November 2018, and someone will figure out that the Democrats are just as much to blame for the chaos in Washington,” Sheinkopf said. “But if Trump doesn’t moderate his behavior, then the Democrats will have a better opportunity to take back the House.”

Boro Park Hands Kalman Yeger a Huge Win

In Brooklyn, it was a bitterly contested race for a seat on the New York City Council.

Kalman Yeger, who was installed to run on the Democratic Party line to replace outgoing councilman David Greenfield, was challenged by Yoni Hikind, the son of Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Pundits suggested a close race in the chassidic-dominated neighborhood of Boro Park given Hikind’s popularity. But on Tuesday night as the results started coming in, it was clear that Yeger managed to overcome the challenge, winning by a significant 67% to 27% margin. In Boro Park, Yeger received 58% of the vote to Hikind’s 37%, according to the Board of Elections unofficial count.

“I’m grateful for the overwhelming show of support and vote of confidence by a majority of all communities in the district,” Yeger told Mishpacha following his victory. “We proved that if we are b’achdus, if we stand united and speak in one voice, we can achieve great things.”

And while his term only starts on January 1, Yeger has already hit the ground running, meeting with voters and community leaders and thanking them for their support. The goal: Unite the community after a pretty negative and bitter campaign. “I intend to reach out to all, even those who supported the other candidates, because that’s how I’ve always lived my life,” said Yeger. “Bringing people together and standing as one unified community is so important, and I’ll always work to do that.”

Outgoing councilman David Greenfield said he was thrilled with last week’s results. “The victory proves my long-held belief that we have a community that is very sophisticated and plays close attention to politics,” Greenfield told Mishpacha. “I am thrilled that my district will be represented by someone who has so much experience and integrity. As I end my term in office, I know that we are in good hands with Kalman Yeger.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 685)