It feels like The Observer hasn’t been able to breathe this deep since Nov. 7, 2016. That’s a long time to be holding your breath.
At this hour, the Wave Election that a lot of pundits and prognosticators have assured us was no wave rolls on, sweeping up Republicans and turning their political futures ass over teakettle all over this nation. Still, there seems to be a lingering sentiment among a lot of Democrats that perhaps this was not as much as it could have been, or even a failure.
Maybe it is disappointment that things didn’t turn out to be a reverse of how it went in 2010, when Democrats — assured they’d seen The End of Politics with the election of Barack Obama — stayed home for the midterms while pissed off Republicans showed up, flipping 63 House seats and six seats in the Senate, putting the GOP in charge of both chambers of Congress to this day, though not, thankfully, much longer.
What we got on Election Night this year was that Republicans actually showed up to defend their positions, voted in droves … and got soundly outvoted across the country. What we got is a slow-rolling, powerful boil that, while not made-for-TV dramatic as soon as the polls closed, is on track to claim more than 35 seats in the House (along with decisive control of that body and its investigative powers), flipped seven governorships from red to blue, made the majority of our country’s state attorneys general Democrats, and — with the announcement that Kyrsten Sinema had won the Arizona U.S. Senate seat occupied by long-suffering pearl-clutcher Jeff Flake — held net Democratic losses in the upper chamber to two in a year when the economy is riding high and the map of Senate seats Democrats had to defend in red states looking like a spook story liberals tell their kids around the campfire. Florida, meanwhile, overwhelmingly approved the re-enfranchisement of 1.4 million former felons. That’s more potential new voters than the total population of 10 American states, including Alaska, Vermont, Delaware and Montana. Because of our country’s shameful history of racist mass incarceration, up to 20 percent of Florida’s African-American population had been unable to vote because they’re former felons. Sign up the majority of those new voters and get them to the polls, and the notoriously swingy Florida has a shot to flip solidly Democratic in 2020 and maybe forever. That’s 29 votes in the Electoral College, and a state Trump won by 103,000 souls.
By nearly every metric, Election Day 2018 was a long-legged repudiation of Trump and the party that has coddled him, even as his prodigy for division has wrecked our nation’s standing around the globe and put Americans at each other’s throats. But still Democrats mope, still talk of “mixed results” and dab their eyes over Beto, who never showed a reliable lead in polling during his entire campaign and yet still got within 2.5 points of knocking off human polyp Ted Cruz in blood-red Texas. Come January, Kansas, Maine and Wisconsin will have Democratic governors, their execrable former or current execs Brownback, LePage and Walker, respectively, kicked curbside. Colorado, meanwhile, will have America’s first openly gay governor, who proudly introduced his “First Man” on Election night. California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who votes favorable to Russia so often that members of his own party have called him Putin’s congressman, is out the door after 30 years, part of a West Coast sweep that will obliterate the former Republican stronghold in wealthy Orange County. Kansas sent a lesbian Native-American former MMA cage fighter to the House. Minnesota and Michigan sent Muslim women. When life gets you down, imagine Mike Pence’s face as he swears in the later two on the Koran in a few months. Democrats also took control of seven more state legislatures and broke veto-proof GOP supermajorities in Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina, all of which will have Democratic governors come January. Remember the Georgia 6th Congressional District, where Democrat Jon Ossoff lost a massively expensive and bitterly divisive special election runoff in June 2017, leading White House gargoyle Kellyanne Conway to tweet on Election Night that she was #laughingherOssoff? A funny thing happened while we weren’t looking. Come January, that seat will be held by a Democrat — a woman who lost her son to gun violence and thus despises the NRA from a special blue hell deep in her soul. Wonder if Conway is laughing now?
Long story short: If this was a win for Trump and the GOP, please give us more winning in 2020, so we can kick several hundred more of his apologists and Agent Orange himself out the door. Chin up, Resistance. This was a wave and a win. Breathe. Fight on.