Friday, November 9, 2018

Maybe not a blue wave, but definitely a blue swell: Facts & Observations about the 2018 election

First, lets start with some actual factual facts (as opposed to the alternative facts that Spanky & His sycophants prefer) ...

** Democrats have picked up 30 House seats, and it looks like the final tally (once California is fully counted and a few "too close to call" races get called) will be 34 to 36 added. That means the House will have gone from 235 Republicans and 193 Democrats (with 7 vacancies) to approximately 230 Dems and 205 Republicans.

** Republicans have picked up 1-3 Senate seats. The most likely scenario is 2 (assuming AZ goes to the Dems as it looks now and Fla goes to the GOP as it appears). That means the Senate will have gone from 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats to 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats.

** Democrats flipped 7 governorships, giving them 23. A couple other races might go to recounts/run-offs.

** Dems also have flipped 370-ish statehouse seats in the last year, including 300+ in this election cycle.

Now, a few observations:

++ Dems have made their biggest gains in the House since Watergate. They have a "comfortable majority," so even if a dozen legislators vote with Republicans on a bill, Dems still can play the obstruction game that the GOP perfected during Obama's tenure if they so choose.

++ Democrats also now will chair all the important House committees, including a few that likely will investigate Trump. And not the kind of "investigation" Spanky sycophant Devin Nunes pretended to conduct about Russian meddling in the 2016 election and Trump's role in it.

++ Trump actively campaigned for more than a dozen House Republican incumbents who lost their seats, all in districts Republicans have held for years. Numerous other races saw Republicans barely hold on in districts they have owned for decades. Republicans lost seats in red bastions such as Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and Arizona. Additionally, Conor Lamb showed he was no "flash in the pan" after stunningly winning a special election in 2017 for a Pennsylvania House seat in a red district. Overall, there was an obvious anti-Trump backlash in this House election. He said the election was about him, and he lost the House.

++ In the Senate, Trump personally installed his own candidate in the Nevada race, Dean Heller, and that candidate lost decisively to an unknown named Jacky Rosen. Trump or his surrogates made several trips to Montana to try to oust Jon Tester, who won anyway in a red state. Tiny furiously tried to get Joe Manchin out in West Virgina but failed.

++ Whereas several Democratic senators had to try to protect seats in deep red states that Trump won in 2016, the opposite will be the case in 2020, when many Republicans will be trying to protect seats in states that Clinton won. It will be a challenge for the Dems to regain control of the Senate in 2020 due to the givebacks this cycle. Still, it isn't unrealistic to think that, if Trump's disapproval rating remains high, the Dems can flip the 4-5 seats they'll need.

++ Among the governorships Republicans lost were those in Wisconsin and Michigan. The Dems also flipped two House seats in Michigan and three in Pennsylvania.  And Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf also was re-elected governor in Penn. Why are those states significant? Despite Trump's claims that he won in a "landslide," the fact is that he won by about 78K combined votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania -- three states he might not be able to count on in 2020.


++ In addition to the hundreds of statehouse seats that have flipped to Democrats across the nation, several other states that had huge Republican advantages have seen those advantages reduced. For example, in NC, the Republicans had such a large numerical advantage that they could override any veto by Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat. But those advantages have been significantly reduced, and now the Republicans no longer can override Cooper without also getting votes from Democrats.

++ Also in NC, two proposed amendments to the state constitution designed purely to take authority away from the Democratic governor and give it to the Republican legislature were soundly defeated. It was a power grab, and voters saw through it.

++ The major Dem gains in the U.S. House and in statehouses came despite rampant gerrymandering that resulted in amoeba-shaped districts favoring Republicans across the nation. Courts have struck down many of the districts repeatedly as being racist and/or unfair. There are gerrymandering cases currently before the Supreme Court, and it will be interesting to see the rulings.

++ It has been entertaining to hear Spanky & His Sycophants proclaim that it's actually a good thing for the Republican party that the House has gone from a 42-seat GOP advantage to a 35-seat Democratic advantage. Where's O'Reilly's No-Spin Zone when Republicans need it?!?!

++ Trump thinks that he might actually get more things done because Dems in the House will now have to legislate rather than obstruct. Hmmm ... winning the House in 2010 didn't turn the Republicans into legislators; it just made them more effective obstructors, so we'll see how that goes. 

++ Dems, in general, aren't as good at being obstructionists as Republicans are, and I can see something like a major infrastructure project getting approval in the next year or two. Everybody likes infrastructure projects, and the jobs they bring. The Dems are always willing to spend money, as are the Republicans despite their claims to the contrary. 

++ The election no doubt hurt Mitch McTurtle's plan to pay for the Tax Cuts For Billionaires and Military Industrial Complex spending sprees on the backs of seniors, kids and sick people. It also probably will keep millions and millions of people on health care that McTurtle & Gang would rather throw under the bus.

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