Today is a better day than yesterday. What seemed like a Blue Ripple now looks like the much-anticipated Blue Wave.
When the 2018 election results started rolling in, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Three superb candidates were going down to defeat: Beto O’Rourke, Stacy Abrams, Andrew Gillum. I didn’t expect all of them to win, but a victory by just one would have been sweet.
The Senate results were looking poor. The Republicans quickly flipped seats in North Dakota, Indiana and Missouri. Democrats were losing in Florida, Arizona and Tennessee. Even Nevada appeared uncertain.
In the House, the Dems were projected to win just 30 seats — far better than nothing, but nowhere close to the 63 seats Republicans picked up two years into Obama’s first term.
Needless to say, even a one-vote Democratic majority in the House would have put a much-needed leash on our deranged, egomaniacal president. Even the smallest House victory would have been cause for major celebration.
Still, why was the Tea Party wave of 2010 so much bigger than the Blue Wave of 2018? Why would the Best President Ever lose more seats than the Worst President In American History? Why would so many Americans stand by a racist, misogynist, self-dealing, demagogic pussy grabber?
This victory seemed like a delicious cake with a stink bomb inside.
Two days later, the stench has begun to dissipate.
With late results still being tallied, the Democrats are poised to gain as many 37 seats in the House, in spite of the Republican gerrymandering that had rigged the game very much against them. Thirty-five House seats would be the biggest off-year election gain for the Democrats since Watergate.
Meanwhile, their Senate losses, in spite of a highly unfavorable map, could turn out to be as few as two. And they picked up seven governor’s seats, including one in deep-red Kansas, which has elected some of the nation’s most colossal right-wing assholes in recent years.
The results in Georgia and Florida are now so close that recounts are likely. The Democrats still have a chance.
All this despite despicable voter suppression efforts by Republicans and an economy so strong, it should have all but guaranteed victory for any incumbent. What seemed a glass half empty now seems more than half full. Encouraging signs are everywhere:
All in all, this turned out to be a much better election than I initially thought. The progressive coalition that powered Barack Obama to two victories is alive and well. Trump’s reactionary base — which truly would support him even if he murdered someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue — is a shrinking, pathetic, putrid force. The demographic changes that are making transforming America will continue to make our officeholders look more and more like the multicultural nation they serve.
Good piece, Ben.Florida was awful, yes. Sadly, racism and sexism live on, albeit not as bad as they used to be. Same story in the UK and Europe. A long way to go. But some progress, ably summarized by Comey in NYT three days ago.