Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Democrats' Win

A commentator observed the other day that while a "blue wave" may not have characterized the election results, the election was a big win for the Democrats. He's right. The media, as usual, have failed to provide real analysis and instead decided to focus on a few elections -- Florida, Georgia, and Texas -- that fail to present the full national picture.

The Democrats gained seven governorships and at least 31 House seats, making the House gain one of the largest in history. They had the worst break in many decades in terms of how many of their Senate seats were up this time as compared with the Republicans so their modest loss there is less significant in depicting the tenor of the entire national result.

The Dems also gained hundreds of state legislative seats and started to make a comeback at that level that will help them in the redistricting and reapportionment following the 2020 census. The current party leadership deserves credit for this as they took a more active role than Obama's administration did, which is when many of the losses occurred despite the victories at the presidential election level.

Florida and Georgia got attention because the media is fascinated with the possibility of "first African American" officeholders in those jurisdictions. More attention should have been given to the apparent efforts by GOP incumbents to suppress voting, intentional failure by Republican governors of both states to make voting more difficult, and Kemp's refusal until the election was over to surrender his position in charge of administering the election. Note that former President Carter registered his complaint this obvious conflict of interest, which got minimal attention from the media.

Texas was a loss because O'Rourke ran a stronger campaign and did better than any Democrat had done state-wide for many decades. He did not win so it certainly was not a victory. However, he may have established himself as a potential player at both the state and national level anyway. 

Joe Manchin managed to win in West Virginia despite the massive Republican victory there in 2016. He did well because he understood his constituents and may have correctly decided to vote for Kavanagh because his vote was not critical. Heitkamp and McCaskill deserve a lot of credit for sticking their necks out to vote against Kavanagh. It is likely that in their states they were destined to lose anyway so it is unlikely that that one vote made a major difference.

So you might be influenced by the warped media coverage to regard the day as a draw, since the two houses are divided, or even as a GOP win, which appears to merit being regarded as an outright falsehood.

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