Disappointment for everyone But all in all, the Republicans dodged the bullet
So much to be outraged about, so little time. The election results, The New York Times said with more than a little understatement, “it wasn’t necessarily the night of either party’s dreams.” The Democrats got the House, though the blue wave that was supposed to wipe out Republicans for a generation was nowhere to be seen.
The Republicans kept the Senate, but winning fewer reinforcements than expected. Civility, which was the garlic everyone imagined would force improvement in tone and polish to the conversation, evaporated before the vote-counting was finished. Garlic might ward off Count Dracula but it’s never effective with politics, and Democrats seem determined to weave a noose of impeachment for the president.
The election returns yielded the usual rich fare of surprises and sensations. There was a wipeout celebrity and show-biz candidates. Beto O’Rourke lost to Ted Cruz in Texas, and now can leap from defeat there to a run for the White House two years hence. He dropped several f-bombs in his concession speech, demonstrating that he’s really hip and can speak the language of the hip. Florida voters restored voting rights to felons, which is expected to add more Democrats to the voter rolls. A dead whorehouse owner was elected post-mortem to the state legislature in Nevada, an Indian lesbian was elected to the House from New Mexico, and Colorado elected the first male gay governor.
The Democrats are entitled to be the most disappointed, since the pollsters have been telling everyone for weeks, even months, that the approaching blue wave would sanitize everything and leave Republicans beached, like whales. The Republicans were told to run for higher ground, if they could find any. The Senate they kept would only be the firewall between the new House and the insanity promised by certain Democrats.
The gift of sweetest revenge went to Brett Kavanaugh, who watched three senators who drank the Kool-Aid served up by the likes of Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly take a thrashing from their constituents and exiled to the island of lost senators (with all their luggage). The new justice on the U.S. Supreme Court is entitled, having watched Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer do their worst to destroy his reputation and his family with made-up “evidence” they knew was made up. Nevertheless, as The Wall Street Journal observed, “the bruising and successful battle to seat Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court helped the GOP expand its Senate majority, which in turn allows the seating of more jurists like him.”
Some Democrats would clearly resort to repealing everything Mr. Trump did, if they could, just to spite the president whom they loathe with a fierce and unyielding hatred (hate now, civility after the last rites), but it’s difficult to imagine anyone, even an unhinged Democrat, wanting to sack the economy just to sour the cream in Mr. Trump’s coffee, with all the consequences that would invite from voters Democrat and Republican alike.
For his part, the president says he can work with Democrats. He has said before that he can be presidential, and sometimes he can be, with as much eloquence as almost any of the presidents before him. No doubt he can. He has a gift for picking his fights with exquisite timing, something new for every news cycle.
Firing Jeff Sessions on the morning after diverts the attention of anyone bitterly disappointed by the election results. Mr. Sessions can return to Alabama for muchdeserved relief from duty at the Justice Department, and a new attorney general can deal with the president just as foolish Democrats promise to make good on their campaign vow to impeach the president.
This will give the president, who relishes a good street fight, new targets for his ire, which can be considerable. Those, like Barack Obama, who said the survival of the republic might be at stake in this election, can take heart. Oblivion can wait. There’s always next year.