Three days later: Repub­li­cans re­ally did get clob­bered

The Fresno Bee - - Opinion - BY JEN­NIFER RU­BIN

It turns out the 2018 midterm elec­tions were pretty much a rout. Count­ing all the votes makes all the dif­fer­ence in the world.

In the House, as of this writ­ing, the Demo­cratic gains are up to 30 with about five more races still to be called in which Democrats are lead­ing. A gain of 35 seats would be the largest House pickup for Democrats since the first post-Water­gate midterm elec­tion in 1974.

The Democrats picked up seven gov­er­nor­ships, with Stacey Abrams, as of now, still fight­ing to make it to a runoff in Ge­or­gia, and Andrew Gil­lum trail­ing by 0.4 per­cent­age points, enough to trig­ger a re­count in Florida.

In the Se­nate, Democrats may not quite have pulled off an in­side straight, but they had two aces – in Ne­vada and Ari­zona. With 26 seats to de­fend, many in red states, it now looks as if their losses will be small. Democrats won in Ne­vada and are now poised to pick up a seat in Ari­zona. In the lat­ter, Rep. Krys­ten Sinema surged into the lead as ad­di­tional Mari­copa County bal­lots were counted.

Mean­while, Democrats have an out­side chance to hold on to Florida. There, Repub­li­can Gov. Rick Scott leads by only 0.2 per­cent­age points over Demo­cratic Sen. Bill Nel­son. If Sinema and Nel­son win, Repub­li­cans, in a year with the most fa­vor­able map in re­cent his­tory, would pick up only a net of one seat (52-48); if Sinema wins but Nel­son doesn’t, Repub­li­cans would only eke out a net gain of two seats (53-47). That’s sim­ply remarkable con­sid­er­ing they had to de­fend in­cum­bents in the fol­low­ing in states Pres­i­dent Trump won, in some cases by dou­ble dig­its: In­di­ana, Ohio, Wis­con­sin, Mon­tana, Florida, Michi­gan, Mis­souri, West Vir­ginia, Penn­syl­va­nia and North Dakota. As con­ser­va­tive Quin Hil­lyer put it, one would rea­son­ably ex­pect “Repub­li­cans on this map, in this econ­omy … (to gain) at least five seats, with six or seven more likely than three or four.”

Sim­ply be­cause Trump did not see all th­ese losses on Elec­tion Night does not make them any less real or con­se­quen­tial for Repub­li­cans. Put dif­fer­ently, out­side the deepestred en­claves Repub­li­cans took a beat­ing up and down the bal­lot.

Re­mem­ber, states also passed bal­lot ini­tia­tives to raise the min­i­mum wage, to ex­pand vot­ing ac­cess and to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana; you have to won­der whether Trump and his ilk re­al­ize they are in retreat po­lit­i­cally and pol­icy-wise.

If you then turn to exit polls, vot­ers said by big mar­gins: they dis­ap­prove of Trump (54 per­cent to 45 per­cent); re­gard the GOP un­fa­vor­ably (52 per­cent to 44 per­cent); think the coun­try is on the wrong track (54 per­cent to 42 per­cent), thought Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies were too harsh (46 per­cent, with 33 per­cent say­ing they were about right and 17 say­ing not tough enough); fa­vor tougher gun laws (59 per­cent to 37 per­cent); think his for­eign pol­icy makes the coun­try less safe (46 per­cent to 38 per­cent); dis­ap­prove of Supreme Court Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh (47 per­cent to 44 per­cent); want to up­hold Roe v. Wade (66 per­cent to 25 per­cent); think it is some­what or very im­por­tant to elect more mi­nori­ties (72 per­cent to 24 per­cent) and some­what or very im­por­tant to elect more women (78 per­cent to 20 per­cent); think sex­ual ha­rass­ment is a big prob­lem (84 per­cent to 14 per­cent); and are more con­cerned about peo­ple be­ing de­nied the


right to vote than voter fraud (53 per­cent to 36 per­cent).

It drives Trump’s crit­ics to dis­trac­tion to watch him dom­i­nate every news cy­cle and re­peat lies that have long since been de­bunked. They should be up­set; the pres­i­dent’s lies, racism, mean­ness and ig­no­rance de­base the pres­i­dency. How­ever, Trump’s not help­ing him­self or his party. To the con­trary, Democrats just had an extremely suc­cess­ful elec­tion and are win­ning most ma­jor pol­icy de­bates. They should send him a nice fruit bas­ket or some­thing for the hol­i­days.

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