Well, nice try everybody. I thought we had a pretty good night, but I guess that whole “Blue Wave” thing was just wishful thinking. Turns out there are fine voters on both sides, and the American electorate is evenly split. Half of us are angry, aggrieved, gullible lunatics who believe Hillary Clinton is using George Soros’ ATM card to fund an invading force of leprosy-ridden brown babies from South America, and the other half of us — you know, those who are capable of breathing with our mouths closed — apparently did little more than sort-of cancel out a potential Red Wave. At least, that’s what it seemed like based on much of the Election Night coverage I saw.
Now here’s what really happened: A majority of Americans cast their ballots for Democratic candidates in what was nothing short of a nationwide repudiation of Donald Trump, who had urged people to vote as though he himself was on the ballot … and we did. Wish granted, pumpkin.
Make no mistake: The 2018 midterms will go down in history as the point at which Trump’s aberrant and malignant presidency finally was contained. It is the point at which American democracy wrestled itself free from the stranglehold placed upon it by an unfit conman and the obsequious, greedy, racist party that has been all too happy to help him do the strangling.
The importance of the Democratic party reclaiming the United States House of Representatives can not be overstated. Build the wall? Nope. Repeal and replace? Fuck that noise. Too soon to talk about gun control? Not anymore.
No, Trump’s spastic, unfocused, built-on-a-whim legislative agenda — which, during the first two years of his presidency, has yielded nothing except an ill-advised, deficit-ballooning, reverse-Robin Hood tax cut — is now officially dead. Sayonara. Thanks for playing. Don’t forget to grab a gift bag on your way out.
Of course, beyond the legislative implications of last Tuesday’s Democratic victories, there also are the investigatory implications. The House Intel Committee, whose faux Russia investigation was simultaneously headed and obstructed by Trump sycophant Devin Nunes? Yeah, we’re gonna go ahead and reopen that under the auspices of new committee chairman Adam Schiff, with assistance from prosecutorial pitbull Eric Swalwell … or, as I like to call him, “Not Trey Gowdy.”
Lock her up? Not unless by “her” you mean “Ivanka.”
Hey, Don Jr. and Jared and Roger Stone and Comrade Nunes and everyone else involved in Team Trump’s Russian fuckery (not to mention Trump’s cavalcade of corrupt Cabinet members): YOU get a subpoena and YOU get a subpoena and YOU get a subpoena! EVERYBODY GETS A SUBPOENA!
No, despite what Racist Grandpa said during his delusional and unhinged press conference last Wednesday, the 2018 midterms were not remotely close to being a “complete victory” for him or his grotesque Republican party.
I know, I know: They picked up a seat or two in the Senate, Beto lost to a guy less likable than a weeping herpes sore, and, as of right now, neither Andrew Gillum nor Stacy Abrams appear to have won their bids for governor (though, contrary to what was called on Election Night, neither race has yet been decided). The reality, however, is that the Democrats weren’t expected to take control of the Senate, Texas is still Texas (but a lot less Texas-y than it was before), and much of the South still wishes the Confederacy had won. Be that as it may, last week’s election marked the Democratic party’s biggest pick-up in the House since Watergate, and the very real blue wave that washed dozens of Republicans out of the lower chamber also washed over many state-level elections.
Here in Pennsylvania, for example — one of three swing states where Trump barely eked out an Electoral College victory thanks to what, at the time, was (but no longer is) an electoral map heavily gerrymandered in favor of Republicans — my vote helped replace the white-male Republicans in my U.S. congressional and Pennsylvania house seats with new U.S. Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan and new PA State Representative Melissa Shusterman.
Congresswoman-elect Houlahan is one of four women who will be heading to Washington D.C. as part of what previously was Pennsylvania’s all-male congressional delegation, and Representative-elect Shusterman is part of a state-level Democratic shift that, in addition to netting 10 new seats in the PA House, has now broken the Republican party’s supermajority in the PA Senate.
Other Pennsylvania winners included incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Casey, incumbent Governor Tom Wolf, and Lt. Governor John Fetterman, all of whom I voted for.
Need some more blue-wave evidence? OK, here goes: In addition to holding on to a net total of all but one or two of the 26 Senate seats they had to defend (versus just nine that the Republicans had in play), Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema flipped outgoing Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s seat in Arizona, a state that hasn’t had a Democratic senator in more than 25 years.
Meanwhile, back at the state level, Democrats held on to all seven of their contested governorships; defeated incumbent Republican governors Chris “I Love Voter Suppression!” Kobach of Kansas and Scott “So Do I!” Walker of Wisconsin; flipped more than 300 state legislative seats; reclaimed the majority in seven statehouses; and secured trifectas in three states.
More? Fifteen House Republicans with an “A” rating from the NRA lost, and all 15 were replaced by Democrats with an “F” rating.
Still more? Of the 33 candidates President Tweets-a-Lot endorsed on Twitter, 21 of them were defeated. (I’ll say it for you, Rick Wilson: “Everything Trump touches dies.”)
Yes, Trump is still president. Yes, Republicans still control the Senate. Yes, a Trump-friendly political operative is now overseeing the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation and a Trump-friendly judge credibly accused of attempted rape now sits on the Supreme Court. So, I get it: All of that darkness makes it difficult to see just how large was the blue wave that swept across the country last week. But trust me: It happened … and America is incalculably better off for it.
With 7 fam. mbrs living with me since they lost their homes/jobs/all but the clothes on their backs due to the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA, we’ve loved having the “Prez.” drag his fucking feet approving FEMA to come here due to Forest Svc./CalFire “mismanagement” & telling us to “Get Smart.” Betcha you can guess what we think *he* should get…
Carlos Stivers says
Good piece. Too much emphasis on high profile senate and governor races in Florida, Georgia and Texas left many feeling underwhelmed. Thanks for reinforcing the real gains made by Democrats. It’s true, the Trump endorsement was more of a detriment than bonus.
Being one to pick nits, I have to point out that Scott Walker is Gov of Wisconsin, not Minnesota. And as you pointed out, soon gov of nuthin! As a proud resident of Arizona, I’m proud to see Krysten Sinema elected. Now to get hands on Trump’s taxes, see what magic Mueller sheds light on (SOON!!!) and what good work the House can push through. I feel like I get to breathe a little for the first time in 2 years. I’m hoping for a legislative answer to Citizens United, an end to Gerrymandering, maybe even the end of the Electoral College! The place coud soon be shaping up!!
Jon Zal says
Wait, Wisconsin & Minnesota aren’t the same? ? (jk. Can’t believe I did that. Thanks for pointing it out. And congrats on your new Senator!)
Minnesota also flipped the state House of Representatives back to Democratic control and retained a the governor’s mansion. We are going the right way.
Jon Zal says
Pamela Zesotarski says
Came here via The Bloggess because I was familiar with your “Daddy” Blogger name… I am pleasantly surprised to find out you live here in PA. As a fellow member of your legislative district and Houlahan/Fetterman/Wolf/Casey voter, I would like to thank you for your help in keeping our corner of a significantly less gerrymandered PA blue!
Jon Zal says
My pleasure! Thank you, too! And thanks for coming over from Jenny’s site. Cool to hear you recognized my old blogger name. 🙂
Ruth Feiertag says
While I agree that this election will provide some changes that cannot come too soon, as long as the Republicans in the Senate keep loading the judiciary with far-right judges, I don’t think we can say that “The 2018 midterms will go down in history as the point at which Trump’s aberrant and malignant presidency finally was contained.” The Supreme Court is already skewed heavily to the right with two Trump appointees and is not unlikely that there will be another before Trump (or Pence) is out of office. How are we to contend with the lasting impact these appointments will have on our country, no matter who is elected in 2020?
The races that brought us this “blue wave” were extremely close, and unless the Democrats can do more than wedge a door-stop under some of the more outrageous legislation proposed by conservative members of our government, I can easily see the 2020 tide turning back the other way.
So while we can, indeed, rejoice that there is a chance for some sanity and balance in the House, we shouldn’t get too comfortable.
Jon Zal says
Yes. Took a lot more than just one election to get us into this mess, and it’ll take a lot more than one election to get us out of it. The lesson of 2016 is that we must be ever-vigilant if we want to avoid a similar such nightmare in the future.
Ruth Feiertag says
I appreciate your taking the time to respond. We must be like Mad-Eye Moody and practice “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!” It does get exhausting though.
For what it’s worth, I found you via Jenny Lawson too. I’m sorry I wasn’t aware of your site earlier.