Obama wishes he had a midterm like this one.
Republicans knew the House was going to flip. It is common to argue over polling predictions days or weeks in advance, when survey numbers are within a reasonable margin, especially when only one race is in question. But with 435 House races, and so many lining up for Democrat flips, the settled question had become whether a “blue wave” would overturn Washington in a tsunami, even flowing up-ticket for Democrat gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates, and whether the President’s agenda would be stymied or even stifled.
Ultimately, that “blue wave” proved modest, enough to flip the House as expected but not more. Indeed, if he could have had one dream from his father, Obama could only have wished that the 2010 and 2014 midterms had been this modest. In 2010, the Republicans gained 63 House seats — the biggest House pick-up since 1948 and the biggest midterm pick-up since 1938 — and six U.S. Senate seats. The GOP even ended up controlling 26 state legislatures and 29 governorships. In the 2014 Obama midterms, the Republicans somehow found thirteen more House seats to net, and they gained nine more Senate seats, retaking the Senate and scoring the largest midterm Senate pick-up in 56 years. They also grew to 31 governorships while controlling 68 state legislative chambers. Similarly, the 1994 Clinton midterms saw Republicans gain 54 House seats, eight Senate seats, and ten governorships. You want to talk “waves”? Them’s waves. Them’s tsunamis. By contrast, this one did not even see the oceans stop rising. So, perspective.
It is true that a Democrat House will mean stalemate in areas where the House can jam progress. Therefore, the President will have to find his $25 billion for The Wall by taking it from the $716 billion defense budget already allocated for Year 2019 instead of getting it at the next Budget Reconciliation. The House cannot touch his judicial nominations or cabinet appointments, but they can waste resources by conducting endless investigations aimed at Resist and Disrupt. Along the way, the two sides possibly will coalesce on a great new infrastructure-modernizing program, an objective important to both. Maybe also on that new ten-percent tax cut for the Middle Class that the President has been touting. On the other hand, a DACA deal is questionable because Republicans do not want to legalize more undocumented people, and the Democrats prefer to keep the so-called “Dreamers” as permanent pawns; otherwise, the Democrats would have resolved it when they had a filibuster-proof Senate, the House, and Obama. House subpoenas to the President and his cabinet will fly fast-and-furious, feeding CNN panel discussions when Malaysia flights are not in the news, and turning into endless federal litigation, giving the federal judiciary a chance to remind suburban Caucasian voters by 2020 that their own tax returns matter more than those of the Trump family. Time and resources in the hundreds of millions will be wasted, and the trope about how “the American People are too smart to…” will again be proven trite. So that is the bad news for the GOP, though it could have been infinitely worse.
For Republicans, the huge news is that an undetected “red wave” roared in the Senate. We all knew that Heidi Heitkamp was a goner in North Dakota, and she lost to Republican Kevin Cramer by more than ten points. But beyond that, America went even deeper-red conservative in the U.S. Senate, and the Republican Party no longer is the McCain-Romney “sweetie-pie RINO” alternative to Left Democrats but now has evolved into a seriously conservative, Middle Class, combative party that fights back when punched. That, too, was the Kavanaugh impact: instead of withdrawing a good man’s nomination in the face of defamation and perjury — the way Richard Nixon had caved on Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell — this time the Republicans, led by Lindsey Graham, hit back at the bullies and won. No more “sweetie-pie” apologetics aimed at currying the favor of CNN and MSNBC, the New York Times and WaPo, but a serious conservative party with a conservative agenda that includes building the Dam Wall, cutting taxes, ending globalism and international accords that help every country but ours, and boldly asserting that this country is proud and unique — and we like it that way.
In the night’s early bellwether, Ted Cruz won Texas even though skateboarding-and-super-cool Beto spent $70 million trying to beat him. Thank you, thank you Beto. Take a bow, and take a knee. (Texans just love kneeling during the national anthem.) Seventy Million Democrat Dollars poured down the Rio Grande. Imagine the damage that money could have done if spent in other campaigns or secretly flown to Iran to ransom a rug. The Democrats now are the party of The Millionaires — George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer — and, except for the blessed Sheldon Adelson who seems determined, single-handedly if necessary, to counter-balance all of them, that’s where money now crowds politics. And Robert Francis Beto vacuumed in Seventy Million of those George Washingtons while Ted Cruz won.
The Cruz victory is especially significant because he is not low-key like fellow Senate Texan, John Cornyn. Cruz mixes it up. He once closed down the Senate. He messed with Donald Trump on the Presidential campaign trail and would not close ranks at the GOP Presidential Convention. That took guts. Trump had insulted his wife’s looks, had intimated that Cruz’s dad had been involved somehow on the outer contours of the JFK assassination narrative. If anyone had tried that on my beautiful wife or on my dearly missed Dad, may his memory be a blessing, I would not have closed ranks either. So Cruz has guts and stands up for family. But he also has brains. He knew when to cast away stones and when to gather stones together. In time, he became one of President Trump’s strongest allies in the Senate and a powerful force on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The President reciprocated, holding a yuuuge rally for Cruz in the run-up to the election. No longer was Ted denominated as “Lyin’ Ted” but as “Texas Ted.”
Ah, politics! Look how it brings us all so much closer together.
The Cruz win is a major event. The Alamo did not fall, and the Dam Wall is closer now to construction. With Greg Abbott handily winning reelection to the State House, not only is Texas Ted safe for the next six years, but the Democrats now have Seventy Million things to keep them up at night, as they contemplate other races they blew for lack of cash. That’s a lot of sheep to count for the best night’s sleep in the whole wide world.
The next giant development was Mike Braun taking Indiana. The last Fox News poll, days before, had Joe Donnelly That was gigantic. But President Trump barnstormed through Indiana, closing with the massive rally in Fort Wayne. All that star power with him: Ivanka, Kellyanne, Sarah Sanders. And Mike Braun ultimately took the state back from a basically likable Joe Donnelly by nearly ten points. Donnelly had voted against the Trump tax cuts and against Justice Kavanaugh. Hoosiers grasped the perfidy. Donnelly had promised them to be a different kind of Democrat but instead immediately had joined The Resistance. He may take comfort in knowing that hereinafter he will be Irresistible.
When Donnelly fell, it confirmed that McCaskill next-door also was finished, toast without butter. Because the Indiana race paralleled Missouri. In both cases, the Democrat never should have won the red state six years prior, but in each case the contending Republican opponent proved idiotic by stepping into the question of whether the children of rape may be aborted. That kind of subject can be engrossing in the Torah-study halls of yeshiva and in Catholic and Protestant theological seminaries, but it is irrelevant when front-burner issues are illegal immigration through a porous border, opioid deaths, a then-blighted Obama economy, the healthcare mess, ISIS then chopping off heads in Iraq and Syria, Putin seizing the Crimea and Ukraine, disappearing factories and manufacturing jobs in the Rust belt. So the duo of tier-two GOP candidates found their campaigns aborted by the rape of loquacia, as they talked themselves out of easy wins in red states, and Donnelly and McCaskill both purloined seats by default — da fault of two bumblers.
This time around, though, the Indiana Republicans ran a smart business leader, and the Missouri GOP ran a solid state Attorney-General who already had proven successful in winning statewide office without debating rape-abortions, and who also showed the guts — fifty shades of astuteness — when he took on the shamed Republican governor, Eric Greitens, after the married governor got exposed in bald lies about this sex scandal with his hair dresser. Again, in tandem with Indiana, the Hawley-McCaskill race was marked by heavy Trump barnstorming throughout Missouri, concluding with a massive outpouring and Trump Stump Bump in Cape Girardeau, home to Rush Limbaugh. Rush was there, along with Judge Janine and Sean — who now seems to be in trouble because no one in Fox management apparently knew until Monday night that Hannity favored Trump. Cape Girardeau was a great Trump event, replete with Lee Greenwood singing “Proud to Be an American” in person. That night sealed the state.
By contrast, Obama had been a campaign blight throughout his Presidency. Almost everywhere he campaigned in 2010 and 2014 sealed the deal for the GOP insurgents. But Trump risked everything and put his name brand on the line in Missouri (Hawley won), Indiana (Braun won), and Florida (DeSantis and Scott won). That took guts, strength, fierce determination. And this is the man whom the Democrats and their Left media stooges accuse of being an Alzheimer’s patient, ready for the 25thAmendment. As the country saw while watching the President deliver one 75-minute power-packed speech after another, for days and weeks during the last month of the campaign, all the slanderous CNN talk about his mental capacities reflected the three different kinds of lies at which the Left Media excel: (i) lies, (ii) damned lies, and (iii) more damned lies. As Americans actually saw and heard the President for themselves, they grasped that the Left Media really does proliferate Fake News and truly are the enemy of the people, lying to a nation about the mental health of a leader with great acumen who adroitly bears great responsibilities.
Down southeast, the exceptional Florida wins, too, unfolded. While the Left Media ignored the up-and-coming Black Republican John James of Michigan, they tirelessly promoted anti-Semite and Tallahassee crook Andrew Gillum in Florida. But Ron DeSantis beat him, inheriting Rick Scott’s state seat, even as Scott knocked off Bill Nelson, another major Republican Senate pick-up that was pure manna from heaven. In the week before the vote, Quinnipiac had Nelson up by seven, and Emerson had Nelson winning by five. In both races, Trump campaigned heavily in Florida. Scott, an exceptionally stellar governor — even dealing effectively with devastating hurricanes and school shootings amid a campaign — flipped the seat with a political full Nelson, while the CNN Gillum narrative touting his impending victory seemed so bizarre. Gillum’s one partial consolation: with the Florida ballot offering the public an opportunity to permit felons to vote next time in the Sunshine State, Gillum still may enjoy the franchise even if humming tunes from Hamilton while sartorially in horizontal stripes.
And then, next-door, the Georgia governor race. We have been told that Oprah is God (now that Harvey Weinstein has been anthropomorphized). When Oprah endorses a book, everyone in the country immediately buys it, and four or five people even read it. So there was Oprah, the God who made Obama president. And Obama, her Prophet, campaigned properly alongside her, both for Stacey Abrams, another radical. If it was not the Trump campaign stop in Macon that sealed the deal for Brian Kemp, it was the Obama kiss of death. Out of office for two years, Barack still has not lost the touch, energizing Republicans with memories of the blight. It appears to everyone but Abrams that Kemp held Georgia for the GOP. The public awaits Oprah’s next book recommendation; perhaps Taylor Swift can sing it.
In Georgia, Florida, and Texas, Americans saw the impact of the Bernie Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez radical socialist wing of the Democrats, as they mirror on the Left the ill-fated self-inflicted witchcraft that Republicans caused themselves when Tea Party outliers not only revived and energized the Party but also placed a few not-ready-for-primetime candidates on ballots, ultimately forfeiting winnable 2010 races like those in Indiana, Missouri, and Delaware.
Meanwhile, Republicans held important Senate and Governor seats that seemed imperiled by GOP retirements. Bob Corker, a harsh Trump nemesis, retired, and the Democrats pulled out all stops to recover that seat, recruiting popular former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. Bredesen was endorsed by Taylor Swift. In response, the President campaigned heavily for Marsha Blackburn. In the end, Bredesen found himself ragging on the Democrat Party the day before the election and perhaps humming such major Taylor Swift hits as “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Mean,” “Back to December,” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” In Ohio, another harsh GOP Trump critic, Gov. John Kasich, likewise stepped down. Former Obama consumer affairs chief, Richard Cordray, made a spirited run for the seat, campaigning alongside Elizabeth Warren, though not in a Cherokee. But the Republicans held behind Mike DeWine, the outgoing two-term state Attorney-General and former U.S. Senator. Meanwhile, the Republicans knew that Dean Heller’s seat in Nevada was in jeopardy, and they lost that one.
Key Republican governorships mostly held. The GOP lost the Kansas state house because Kansas never likes hard-right Republicans for that office, and the GOP expected to lose governorships in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, and New Mexico. The one tough gubernatorial setback was Scott Walker’s tight loss in Wisconsin as he tried for a third term, but the GOP held state houses in deep-blue Maryland and Massachusetts, and they retain the majority of American governorships. In Alaska, where a three-way gubernatorial contest was all over the place, with one of the three teams suddenly dropping out in the eleventh hour, Republican Mike Dunleavy seems to have staved off Mark Begich, although returns are still coming in. Meanwhile, the flavor of the U.S. Senate has changed. The three leading NeverTrumpers in the prior term, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake (and John McCain, G-d rest his soul), now are replaced by a solid Republican conservative, Marsha Blackburn, with Martha McSally in Arizona, another solid conservative, holding a narrow lead with 98% of the vote reporting. The President’s only Republican pebble-in-the-shoe for the new term will be Mitt Romney. But Romney shows no interest in self-deporting from the new Republican Party.
Republicans knew the House would flip and that they stood to lose some governorships, but the night’s returns provided a much, much better first-midterm result than might have been and that had been projected — and asensationalSenate result for a first midterm. Even Democrat Joe Manchin, once ahead by high double-digits, barely salvaged his West Virginia seat by only three points, saved by being the only Democrat to vote for Justice Kavanaugh; Manchin may yet switch parties. Thus, by not only holding the Senate, but by dramatically expanding their hold, Republicans now may contemplate smoother sailing for more federal judicial confirmations without needing to compromise on future candidates’ conservative authenticity and Constitutional fidelity — no need to nominate David Souters and William Brennans — and the President confidently can move forward with a new post-election wave of cabinet appointments that he can be sure will flow through the Senate, unless hypnotists persuade new patients to write Dianne Feinstein with new allegations as they install additional front doors to their rental properties. With comfortable expanded breathing room, no longer can one or two Republican senators wield the kind of power that we witnessed these past two years, where a single John McCain could prevent the healthcare fix, a single Rand Paul could threaten a tie-up, a single Lisa Murkowski could threaten a Supreme Court appointment. This will be an ideal time for Jeff Sessions to ask the President to forgive him for needing to step down now as Attorney General because, as a patriot and loyal Republican conservative, the Attorney General feels obliged to focus on winning back his old Alabama Senate seat from the interloping Doug Jones; it is up for vote in 2020. And then an Attorney General like Rudy or Christie can come in.
One more critical ramification of such a powerful Republican showing in the Senate races: The electoral landscape in 2020 will be more challenging for Republicans, as they find themselves defending more seats. With Tuesday’s exceptional GOP Senate gains, and with the Alabama seat ripe for plucking back from Doug Jones, Republicans now will have added breathing room to control the Senate going into President Trump’s second term.
Senator Elect Mike Braun (YouTube screenshot)