The Democratic Party is currently 0 for 5 in special congressional elections, thanks to defeats in South Carolina and, especially, Georgia. The Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff poured $30 million into the race for the Georgia 6th congressional district with a result that he lost to Karen Handel by almost four percentage points, 51.9 to 48.1 percent according to the New York Times. The Democrats claimed that the race was a referendum on President Donald Trump, an assessment that the president’s partisans were pleased to agree with.

What did Karen Handel win?

Handel won for two reasons. First, she was a better candidate that Ossoff, a political novice who did not even live in the district that he was running to represent, a fact that Republicans were pleased to mention frequently. He had no message or reason to be elected, other than he was not Donald Trump. Second, the Georgia 6th congressional district was not a good fit for a liberal Democrat, no matter his youthful, good looks and boatloads on money raised from Hollywood. The 6th has been represented by the likes of Tim Price and Newt Gingrich, not a friend of Nancy Pelosi.

Who else won the special election?

Handel, obviously won and is headed for Washington to represent her district in Congress.

But, President Donald Trump also won, since the Democrats were incautious enough to make the election about him. They had hoped to puncture the president’s mandate and to foster a narrative that the American people were turning against him, just as they did in Kansas and Montana. Just like those two states, the Democrats came up short and, instead, enhanced the president’s political capital.

Speaker Paul Ryan also won the election. If things had gone the other way, his caucus would have gone into survival mode and would have become skittish about taking hard votes on Obamacare repeal, tax reform, and infrastructure. Now Ryan can tell Republicans that they can push ahead with President Trump’s agenda and not only survive, but prevail in 2018.

What do Democrats do now?

Clearly, total resistance to Donald Trump is not working for Democrats. Trump is not the Galactic Emperor, and they are not the plucky rebels flying their X-wing fighters, The Trump is evil narrative is not going to win elections. The Democrats are going to have to figure out why they deserve to be handed back political power. Thus far they have not given enough people a reason to trust them. A realistic view of politics in America should cause the Democrats to rethink their agenda and their tactics going forward.