Let’s review what’s happened over the past few days:
- Democrats won a huge victory in the House. Even with all the gerrymandering and voter suppression that Republicans put in place, they won by a popular margin of 7-8 percent. When all the counting is done, they will probably have won about 35 new seats and Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker of the House. This ends Trump’s legislative agenda for good.
- Trump immediately responded by holding an obviously unhinged press conference in which his nervousness and fear were plain to see.
- Halfway through, he instigated a fight with CNN’s Jim Acosta, a reporter he doesn’t like. The more we learn about this, the more it seems like the fight was carefully planned and executed by Trump’s communications staff.
- Following the fight, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders retweeted a video created by InfoWars, the most infamous source of conspiracy theories in America. The video appeared to be doctored to make it look like Acosta “karate chopped” a young intern. In fact, he did nothing of the sort, and his arm moved only in response to her effort to take away the microphone.
- Sanders then repealed Acosta’s White House pass.
- In other news, Trump nominated Matthew G. Whitaker, an obvious crackpot who has commented frequently on the Russia probe, to take over as attorney general. There are good reasons to think this is illegal, and protests erupted immediately all over the country.
- The Florida senate race continues to get tighter. The Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is still behind, but he’s getting closer every day. His opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, is melting down over this:
“Late Tuesday night, our win was projected to be around 57,000 votes. By Wednesday morning, that lead dropped to 38,000. By Wednesday evening, it was around 30,000. This morning, it was around 21,000. Now, it is 15,000….In Palm Beach County, there are 15,000 new votes found since election night.”
This is pretty normal as mail-in ballots are counted. If those votes are in liberal counties, then it makes sense that they might go against the Republican. And since there are lots of votes left still unopened, it’s quite possible that when all the votes are counted, Nelson might end up the winner. As a result, Scott is accusing the vote registrars of voter fraud and has filed a lawsuit to stop the counting. He can do this because he’s the governor and the person in charge of election integrity. But the bottom line is that he’s sailing a leaky boat. When all the votes are counted, Nelson is most likely to be the winner, and Scott will have to file a blizzard of lawsuits to try to overturn the result. Sound familiar?
- Elsewhere, Arizona is getting closer too. Democrat Kyrsten Synema is now 10,000 votes ahead of her Republican opponent. And Democrat Jon Tester has been declared the winner in Montana.
- Overall, Republicans flipped seats in North Dakota, Indiana, and Missouri. Democrats have flipped a seat in Nevada and are quite possibly going to flip a seat in Arizona. In Florida, they may well prevent Republicans from flipping another seat. Altogether, if the best case works out for Democrats, they will lose only a net of one seat, leading to a 52-48 Senate. That’s not much. It makes Mitch McConnell’s job easier, but it also means that Democrats have an excellent chance of winning back the Senate in 2020, when Republicans have 21 senators to protect while Democrats have only 14—all but one of whom is pretty unbeatable. Republicans, by contrast probably have 5 or 6 vulnerable seats.
- In the House, the race in the California 45th district between Democrat Katie Porter and Republican Mimi Walters is shrinking. Two days ago Walters was ahead by 6,000 votes. Today her lead was down to 4,000 votes with nearly 100,000 votes left to be counted. I mention this race only for personal reasons since I live in the 45th, and I’m pretty sure this is the first time in my life I’ve voted in a congressional race that was actually close. It’s very exciting.
- In state races, Democrats have picked up seven governor’s seats and hundreds of state assembly seats. This will be critical when it comes to redistricting in 2021.
- In legal news, a panel of judges ruled against a partisan gerrymandering by Democrats in Maryland. It will go straight to the Supreme Court and probably get combined with a Republican gerrymandering case in North Carolina. This is good, since it will allow the court to make a combined ruling that will appear nonpartisan. If the court actually does something to rein in egregious partisan gerrymandering, it’s good news for Democrats even if it’s not good news for Maryland Democrats.
- Another panel of judges ruled that Trump didn’t have the power to repeal DACA.
- And just today, a judge blocked the Keystone XL pipeline, one of the first things Trump tried to open up on his second day in office.
- Altogether, the Democrats won a big victory in the House, suffered a small loss in the Senate, and won a big victory in the states. They also seem to be doing very well in court cases around the country, and public opinion is very much on their side. Meanwhile, Trump’s ability to win races is getting weaker, but Republicans are stuck with him anyway. More about that in the previous post I wrote this morning.
That’s more than a dozen bits of truly bad news for Republican, and it’s only going to get worse as they stare down the long barrel toward 2020, where the Senate map is massively in favor of Democrats; the economy is likely to be on a downturn; and Donald Trump will probably have long-since worn out his welcome with his one-trick pony. In other words, they’re getting more and more desperate, knowing that a historic shellacking is probably headed their way in two years.
And this desperation is showing. Over the next two years Republicans can nominate some more conservative judges to the lower courts, but that’s about it. With Democrats controlling the House; the filibuster controlling the Senate; and a man-child controlling the White House, they’re in for a very rough two years.
So I’m curious: is there still anyone out there buying the Republican fable that this was sort of a 50-50 election? Believe me, it wasn’t. From the start it was a huge win for the Democrats, and three days later that win is looking even more remarkable when you account for the seats won, the economic headwinds they plowed through; the gerrymandering they overcame; and the obviously panicky reaction this has all gotten from Republican pols. Unless they change and change fast, Republicans might not win another election for a decade. That’s what they’ve always been afraid of—namely that racism couldn’t be a winning card forever as America steadily became less white—and 2018 might be the year that finally proves it. They held on longer than any party of old white men should have, and that’s a testament to their ruthlessness and political smarts. Eventually, though, the tide rolls in and Republicans are left sticking their fingers into the leaky old dikes of Fox News while Democrats are creating brand new barriers helmed by men and women of all races who are best suited to the job. Which party would you rather work for?