Nov. 8th, 2018

defrog: (onoes)
And there you have it.

Mostly. According to FiveThirtyEight, there are still over a dozen races that are too close to call, but none will change the basic result of the Demos taking the House. They might widen that majority, and narrow the gap in the Senate back to where it was before the election. Which would be gravy. But in any case, the House is theirs.

So, a few thoughts:

1. Good for them. It’s a good sign that the (slim) majority of the country hasn’t lost its collective mind, and that white nationalism isn’t the only game in town.

2. On the other hand, the fact that the GOP won anything at all is fair warning that a major chunk of the electorate is still firmly onboard the Trump Train and its message of autocratic white xenophobic batshit. And that would be true even if the GOP lost every seat. Whichever Repubs lost, their constituents are still out there, and they’re still angry and scared. And I’m sure every little thing the Demos and the FakeNews™ media do from now to 2020 will make them even more angry and afraid. Fox News and NRATV will see to that.

3. I only had skin in the game as far as the TN race went, and I can’t say I’m surprised at the results. Apart from Memphis and Nashville, TN is firmly in Xenophobe TrumpWorld and so is Marsha Blackburn – indeed it was her main campaign message, and Trump held several of his rallies in TN to help drive that message home. Phil Bredesen was a reasonably successful governor, but that was eight years ago – a lifetime in politics – and the landscape has changed so much since then. In fact, his whole campaign strategy was to run on the issues in order to contrast Blackburn’s pro-Trump batshit – clearly the majority of Tennesseans prefer histrionic batshit. So it goes.

4. TX is not my state, but I confess I was disappointed to see Beto O’Rourke lose, though to his credit he made Ted Cruz fight for it. Granted, I’d love to see almost anyone give Cruz a walloping. But I have to admit I liked O’Rourke’s campaign style, and there’s no doubt he brought a lot of badly needed youthful energy to the base. I also admit it pains me to think that Cruz’s “Beto O’Rourke will take away yr BBQ and force you to dye yr hair and eat tofu” schtick might have actually worked. Still, it only just barely worked, so I guess that’s something.

5. Speaking of O’Rourke, he’s not the only progressive candidate who lost, but some did win, and those that lost generally didn’t lose by much. There are two schools of thought as to what this means: (1) Demos should take this as a warning that progressives lose elections and Demos should avoid them in 2020 if they want to win the White House, or (2) Establishment Demos owe their 2018 victories to progressives energizing the base in ways the Establishment couldn’t do, and they need to do more to accommodate them in 2020.

I lean towards the latter option. I don’t believe the Demos need to go fully hardcore Left to defeat the GOP – the center still matters. But it arguably doesn’t matter like it used to, and the Demos stand a better chance if they can integrate progressives into the party better – and in a meaningful way, not just an exploitative one. 

6. I know some liberals shudder at the idea of Nancy Pelosi being speaker because they associate her with the Establishment who backed Hillary over Bernie (as though we wouldn’t be in this mess if they’d nominated Bernie), or because she’s talking about bipartisanship and common ground and the Left is all: “WITH NAZIS ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME THEY SHOULD BE IN FUCKING JAIL WHAT ARE YOU NEVILLE FUCKING CHAMBERLAIN” etc and so on.

Personally I would rather see some fresh leadership from someone more attuned to the 21st century, or at least someone whose political worldview wasn’t shaped by the Cold War and Vietnam. But I’m not sure who else is available who fits that bill and has the political clout to challenge her.

7. As for the impact of the mid-terms on Trump’s agenda, to be honest I’m not sure how much of a difference it will make. Most of Trump’s ‘accomplishments’ in the last two years didn’t involve Congress at all – the tax bill is the only one I can think of offhand. He will continue to rule from the weird twisted fantasy world where his brain lives regardless of which party runs the House. And you can pretty much forget about impeachment.

Also, it's hard to call the House flip a blow to his admin when all it really does is give him a scapegoat for everything else he screws up between now and 2020. (Granted, he did that even when his own party controlled Congress. Still …)

I think any meaningful impact on Trump will depend on how willing the House Demos are to use their power to start holding Trump accountable on things like, say, his tax returns. Trump has decidedly been aided and abetted by an all too willing GOP-controlled Congress who have been happy to go along with just about every fool thing he does or says, occasionally denouncing some tweet but otherwise being unwilling to actually do anything about it. Sure, they’ll play the victim card and scream about witch hunts, but they scream that all the time, so let ‘em scream.

So it’s up to the Demos to make their victory matter. But I do think – at least theoretically – a Demo-controlled House could restore some balance to the Force if they choose to do so. If nothing else, the House Science Committee won't be run by someone who thinks rising sea levels are caused by rocks falling into the ocean.

So, you know, progress!

Disorder in the house,

This is dF


defrog: (Default)

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