There was mostly bad news for Republicans in Tuesday’s elections, but the most concerning of all for party leaders should be the steady march by Democrats in converting suburban America into a political stronghold during the era of President Donald Trump.

Virginia’s dramatic and rapid transition from red to purple to blue is a story of the growing support for Democrats in the suburban areas of the state, particularly around the District of Columbia and Richmond. The apparent defeat of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in Kentucky was powered in part by the strength of support Democrat Andy Beshear attracted in that state’s suburban counties.

For the president, the results underscore that his best hope for re-election in 2020 will be to expand the electorate as much as possible in the small-town, rural and exurban areas of the battleground states. Scouring those areas for every vote possible will be the campaign’s highest priority.

For Republicans looking beyond the president’s re-election campaign, the deterioration of support in the suburbs should be cause for major alarm. Democrats won control of the House in 2018 by flipping suburban districts, and there was nothing in the results Tuesday night to suggest that the anti-Trump energy that powered those victories has slackened. Trump is a master of motivating voters — both those for him and clearly those against him.

“This is an overwhelming Trump phenomenon,” said a gloomy Republican strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment of the party’s problem. “Trump has accelerated everything. There is no path in a swing, suburban district for a Republican — male, female or minority … It’s not a challenge, it’s a hill … There’s no strategy to climb it.”

This strategist said she worries now about the GOP losing more suburban swing districts in 2020. If that turns out to be correct, she said, the diversity of the Republican conference in the House will be reduced to “white men with white hair and white men with gray hair and a few token women, and when [Rep.] Will Hurd, [R-Texas], leaves, no African-Americans and only a couple of Latinos.”

The Republican problem in suburban America is a Republican problem among female voters, particularly college-educated white women who long have been targets of persuasion efforts by both parties in national elections. Whether known as soccer moms, security moms or some other label, suburban women have been a critically important swing group of voters. Today, Republicans are running sizable deficits among suburban women.

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll highlights the current state of suburban voters. In a head-to-head test between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, suburban men side with the president by 51% to 43%. Among women, however, Biden leads by 28 points, 63% to 35%. Matched against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Trump is leading among suburban men by 54% to 42% but losing among women by 60% to 34%.

“Republicans have a big problem heading into 2020 — and that could impact states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, North Carolina, Arizona and so on,” Christina Reynolds of EMILY’s List wrote in an e-mail Wednesday morning. “We saw those persuasion swings in 2018, and based on last night we feel good we’ll see them again in 2020.”

The depth of the anti-Trump sentiment in suburban America extends down the ballot, as Tuesday’s results around the country showed in local races in places like the Indianapolis and Philadelphia suburbs. Even with a historically low national unemployment rate, voters in these areas have chosen to send a message of displeasure with the president and the spillover is hitting the Republican Party at many levels.

“Every election, in every locality, is played in the key of Trump,” Russ Schriefer, a GOP strategist, wrote in an e-mail Wednesday morning.

Tuesday’s results come with the normal caveats about off-year elections. It’s always risky to read too much into the outcome. Kentucky isn’t turning from red to purple as a result of the apparent election of Beshear, whose father Steve Beshear served as governor before Bevin. As many Republicans, including the president, pointed out late Tuesday, the rest of the statewide races in Kentucky went to the GOP.

Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is up for re-election next year and whose favorable ratings are net negative, will be taking nothing for granted.

“The biggest red flag I’d be worrying about is Pennsylvania,” Schriefer wrote. “Key, targeted state and critical to the Trump coalition. Yet Democrats cleaned up in the suburbs, sweeping in Delaware County … an area filled with college-educated, upper/middle income, primarily white voters that were once the bedrock of the Republican Party.”

That’s the broad message from Tuesday’s results, just as it was the broad message from the 2018 midterm elections. It’s certainly possible that Trump can win re-election in 2020, but he will have to do it over the opposition of many suburban voters.