Expectations were high, and so the disappointments were sharp. A tsunami would have put Gillum and Abrams in the Florida and Georgia statehouses; it would have saved US Senate seats for Missouri and Florida and flipped another in Arizona; it would have sent Beto O’Rourke…but you never really thought that he could make it, did you?
But make no mistake about it: yesterday was a good day for Democrats and therefore a good day for the Republic. Lots of great and sometimes surprising things happened. The execrable Scott Walker got booted from the Wisconsin statehouse and the Trumpian charlatan Chris Kobach will be kept from the statehouse in Kansas. Kansas. All told, seven governorships flipped from Red to Blue. And there was a bright spot for the Senate: Nevada’s Dean Heller, who ultimately decided that he really, really likes Donald Trump, will be replaced.
There were many more bright spots in the elections to the House. Just to mention a few: Dave Brat, the far right wingnut who ousted the insufficiently reactionary Eric Cantor four years ago, mainly on the issue of immigration, lost in the midst of a presidential campaign that centered on immigration scare mongering. Trump sycophant veteran California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is out. In my own state of New York, three traditionally Republican congressional districts flipped.
The really big and consequential news is the Democratic takeover of the House. The power to investigate and subpoena will now be in the hands of men and women who have a serious interest in checking and balancing against a lawless and corrupt president. Trump’s tax returns will almost surely come under scrutiny. And, if Trump should be so foolish as to fire Bob Mueller, the House will just pick up where Mueller left off. As I started writing this, Trump was holding a press conference in which he undoubtedly did his best to spin yesterday’s results. Don’t be fooled: the road to 2020 just got a lot rockier for him.