That was a wave, and Trump lost

The Washington Post - - FREE FOR ALL - JOE SCAR­BOR­OUGH

Pres­i­dent Trump lost. And it was not even close. On Tues­day, the pres­i­dent and his al­lies paid a high po­lit­i­cal price for their pre­pos­ter­ous claims about car­a­vans filled with lep­rosy, Mid­dle Eastern ter­ror­ists, His­panic “breed­ers” and gang in­vaders. Those lies cost the hob­bled pres­i­dent ev­ery bit as much as his vi­cious at­tacks on the free press and his foul cam­paign calls to im­prison po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­saries. De­spite all claims to the con­trary, Trump Repub­li­cans faced a bit­ter reck­on­ing at the polls in dozens of con­gres­sional races and hun­dreds of leg­isla­tive bat­tles across the United States.

Trump­ism proved to be so po­lit­i­cally toxic that Repub­li­cans likely took their worst shel­lack­ing in U.S. House races since the dark­est days of Water­gate. Trump Repub­li­cans lost at least 30 seats in Congress and took a beat­ing na­tion­ally. In state leg­isla­tive races, the tally was even worse, with more than 300 Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors watch­ing their po­lit­i­cal ca­reers get washed away by the blue wave.

In states such as Ne­vada, GOP politi­cians paid a par­tic­u­larly heavy price for their fealty to the for­mer Man­hat­tan Demo­cratic donor. As the Ne­vada In­de­pen­dent’s Jon Ral­ston noted Thurs­day, his state’s six Repub­li­can con­sti­tu­tional of­fi­cers were re­duced to one. Ne­vada no longer has a Repub­li­can rep­re­sent­ing it in the U.S. Se­nate and just one in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and Trump’s party also lost seats in the Ne­vada Assem­bly and in the state Se­nate. As Ral­ston noted with a dash of un­der­state­ment: “That is a wave.”

If enough of the re­main­ing un­de­cided races break their way, Democrats could soon con­trol a larger ma­jor­ity in the House than Repub­li­can Den­nis Hastert ever did dur­ing his eight years as speaker. Trump’s sag­ging for­tunes also al­lowed Democrats to pick up more gov­er­nor­ships than ei­ther party had done since the GOP land­slide of 1994.

Repub­li­cans who be­lieved Trump would never pay a price for his misog­yny, you were wrong. His­tor­i­cally wrong. When the new Congress is sworn in, more than 100 women will be­come elected mem­bers of the Peo­ple’s House. That will be the first time in his­tory that so many women will have a hand in run­ning the coun­try’s gov­ern­ment, and they will di­rect our fu­ture away from Trump’s dystopian vi­sion. Doesn’t that seem only fit­ting since their suc­cess is owed in part to Trump’s odi­ous at­ti­tude to­ward women?

An­other ques­tion that hangs over Capi­tol Hill is how Repub­li­can sen­a­tors will re­act to the drub­bing their col­leagues took in the House. The Se­nate map is shap­ing up to be al­most as chal­leng­ing for the GOP in 2020 as it was for Democrats in 2018, with Repub­li­cans forced to de­fend at least 21 seats while Democrats only have to de­fend 12. More im­por­tant, many of those GOP chal­lenges will be in swing states such as Maine, Colorado and North Carolina. Can the Repub­li­cans in those states af­ford to stick with Trump? Add to that mix a mav­er­ick Sen. Mitt Rom­ney, newly elected from Utah, and it’s pos­si­ble to imag­ine a Se­nate that fi­nally finds the courage to push back against Trump’s most ab­hor­rent schemes.

It is long past time that Repub­li­cans in Congress be­gin wor­ry­ing more about their coun­try’s well-be­ing than fret­ting over be­ing on the wrong side of one of Trump’s child­ish tweets. It is also past time for Repub­li­cans to un­der­stand that their fear of Trump only en­abled the pres­i­dent to act on his worst in­stincts and in turn fu­eled their party’s de­cline. The col­lec­tive weight of Char­lottesville, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Scott Pruitt, the pres­i­dent’s mul­ti­tude of lies, his thought­less cru­elty, his failed Mus­lim ban, West Wing chaos, White House cor­rup­tion and gross in­com­pe­tence on the in­ter­na­tional stage was too much for Trump’s con­gres­sional quis­lings and po­lit­i­cal al­lies to over­come. Vot­ers de­cided on Tues­day that if their rep­re­sen­ta­tives would not pro­vide a check on the pres­i­dent’s worst ex­cesses, they would use their vote to do it them­selves.

When the dust fi­nally cleared, Trump had lost. And it was not even close.

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