How do you put Veterans’ Day and a short analysis of the 2018 election and its consequences together into a single brief article? Let’s explore.
I’ll commence today’s article with an apology to America’s veterans. Since the founding of this country many men and women have fought and in too many cases sacrificed life or limb so that I can vote. The numbers are still being tallied but it appears that the turnout in 2018 is in the neighborhood of 50% of registered voters. While that is a high turnout for a mid-term it is a slap in the face to those who sacrificed to protect that right!
Elections have consequences and we are starting to feel them. (This article is being written on Friday morning.) Before I get into them I’d like to explore a few of the individual winners and losers from Tuesday’s election.
The blue wave, and despite what President Trump says, make no mistake there was one, started when Jennifer Wexton beat incumbent Barbara Comstock in Virginia 10. Former Clinton Cabinet member Donna Shalala unseated her Republican opponent in Florida 27. Sharice Davids, a Native American lesbian, unseated Kevin Yoder in Kansas 3. That was no small feat! Kris Kobach lost his bid to become the governor of Kansas. Now maybe the Democrats will stop conceding fly over country. With Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s loss in North Dakota the last Democrat to vote against Manchin-Toomey is out of the Senate. People may not agree with your vote but they will respect an honest and well thought out stance.
One of the biggest disappointments of the night was Ted Cruz being reelected despite a spectacular campaign by Beto O’Rourke. Debating Beto’s future in the Democratic Party is one of the great post-election party games.
I actually let out a shout of joy when the Ohio Senate race was called for Sherrod Brown. My joy was stifled later in the evening when the Ohio Governor’s race was called for Republican Mike DeWine. I make no secret that I think Senator Brown would make a great 2020 vice presidential nominee but the practicality of that is significantly diminished with the election of a Republican governor in the Buckeye State.
Later in Virginia 7 Abigail Spanberger defeated Teapublican David Brat. Remember Brat defeated then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the 2014 GOP primary. Although in the next Congress the House Republican caucus will be in the minority it will be even more radically right. Another House Republican good ridden goes out to the Congressman from Russia, better known as Dana Rohrabacher who was unseated by Democrat Harley Rouda in California 48.
It wasn’t all good in the House. Indicted felons Chris Collins won reelection in New York 27 as did Duncan Hunter in California 50. Add to that the fact that Greg Gianforte won reelection in Montana’s at large seat. Remember Gianforte pled guilty to misdemeanor assault (on a reporter) in the days prior to originally taking his seat. The reporter committed the “sin” of asking him a question he didn’t want to verbally answer. Gianforte’s “reply” was to body slam the reporter breaking his glasses in the process. Trump not only endorsed Gianforte but also his actions. I guess you can’t take the WWE out of the man-child. The Republicans, and especially Trump, like to portray themselves as the Law and Order Party. Can you square that circle for me?
I eagerly anticipate the day that Devin Nunes is indicted. Despite his un-American activities the voters in California 22 are sending him back to Washington for another term. The final piece of good news I’ll cover before I get to the Senate is that Wisconsin finally got rid of Scott Walker. It takes time and too many lives are ruined in the interim but Americans have a way of getting rid of bad politicians and Walker is among the worst.
Shifting to the Senate for a bit we find it currently stands at 52-45-3 in favor of the Republicans. Florida (which the Democrats are defending) is headed to a recount. The Republicans are defending Arizona, which is still too close to call and Mississippi (2 as it is being called) which is headed to a runoff on November 27th. The worst case scenario for the Democrats is that the finally tally is 55-45 Republican. In any event Mitch McConnell and the Republicans have even greater control over the upper chamber and the Democrats will lose some committee seats.
House Tea Party Princess Marsha Blackburn won “promotion” to the Senate in Tennessee. In an interview in the aftermath of the California nightclub shooting her first comment was, “We have to protect the Second Amendment.” That tells me everything I need to know about the incoming Senate.
On Wednesday Trump claimed almost total victory. Did he take math lessons from Paul Ryan? He also offered to work with the new Democratic House majority as long as they first gave him everything he wanted. Does he know the definition of the words “cooperation” and “negotiation”? After refusing to answer questions about possible Cabinet moves he then exited the news conference and tweeted the announcement that he had fired (and that is exactly what happened) Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He simultaneously illegally and unconstitutionally named Matthew Whitaker as the acting Attorney General. These moves were made before the press conference; Trump just didn’t want to answer questions about them.
During the nasty news conference he got into a battle with CNN’s Jim Acosta. The White House then revoked Acosta’s press credentials and released an edited video of him to justify their actions. I guess Acosta should be glad he isn’t a Saudi journalist visiting his Consulate in Turkey. Donald Trump: defender of the free press.
Trump likes to portray himself as some magical politician who flies in, does a rally and has his candidate automatically win. He and especially surrogate Donald Trump, Jr. spent significant time in Montana but Jon Tester still won reelection. It seems like he lost his charm in Nevada where Dean Heller got knocked off by Jacky Rosen. Trump couldn’t save a Mormon male running against a Jewish female in Nevada? Florida looks like a three recount state, (Governor, Senate and Agriculture Commissioner). Mia Love, who was a Republican poster child when she first came to the House, lost a close race in Utah 4 despite voting with Trump 96% of the time. Why didn’t he work his “magic” for her? A Republican winning in Utah is not exactly shocking headline news. Could it be because she didn’t sufficiently praise him and committed the “sins” of being born female and black?
This is running long so I’ll leave you with something to keep an eye out for, a prediction and warning. It was no surprise that Mitt Romney won election to the Senate from Utah. He doesn’t need Trump for reelection which is six years off in the first place and I have to wonder if Romney will even pursue. I’m giving him what I call the Arizona test. Will he be independent like the late John McCain or all talk and in the final analysis just another enabler like Jeff Flake? I’m betting on the Flake imitation and hoping I am incorrect.
Here is a name to watch for, Letitia “Tish” James. She was elected as New York’s new Attorney General. Trump can pardon federal crimes but not state crimes.
I close with a warning: beware the lame duck period. Trump is desperate and he still has his enablers.
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