Here are a few of the lessons I take away from the crucial Virginia elections. You may have others. Feel free to chime in.

First, the Trump message of ”American carnage” (the theme of his inaugural address) failed. Appeals to fear didn’t work. The blatant and latent warnings about crime, immigration, race, and insecurity lost. Virginians Close hope over fear.

Second, Trump phony themes of patriotism, delivered by references to athletes taking a knee and sacred Confederate statues, were not enough to overcome opposition to Trump and Trumpism. Voters are not dumb. They see through the smokescreen.

Third, Democrats win by uniting their base, including parents and teachers. Northam spoke positively about Virginia’s public schools and promised to reduce the burden of testing, to expand early childhood education, and to improve teachers’ Salaries. Not a word about charters or choice.

His pledge:

“Our kids deserve to go to schools where they feel safe and get the highest quality education. We can’t allow the Trump Administration to destroy the success of Virginia’s public schools, public universities, or community college system. Ralph will fight to defend our public schools and will support classroom innovation to develop new methods of teaching our kids the skills they need for a 21st century economy.

“As a member of the Children’s Cabinet, Dr. Northam and the McAuliffe administration are helping our most challenged schools combat chronic absenteeism and poor academic performance — but there’s still work to do. The commonwealth of Virginia spends, on average, $80 million per year to remediate students in kindergarten through third grade. We need to reevaluate how we test our youngest students and ensure we’re putting them on track for success at the beginning of their academic careers. A big part of addressing this issue is making sure quality pre-K is available to all young Virginians — though it also involves challenging conventional methods of student assessments and alternatives to having students repeat grades at early ages.”

There is more.

Every Democratic Candidate in 2018 should read Dr. Notham’s commonsense approach to education.