Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Midterm Roundup

Robert Mueller cannot be fired. That threat is over. Donald Trump will try to fire him again. He will want to try to try to fire him again. But more than one voice in the White House will explain to him that if he does that, the House of Representatives will begin an impeachment investigation that day.” - Lawrence O'Donnell, Nov. 6, 2018
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
As is often the case in American politics, it was a mixed success and hardly satisfying for either side slavering for national domination. Still, in a reverse of Aesop's wolf and the sour grapes, the wolves have gone back to their den and pronounced them as sweet.
     So I'm going to dispense with the usual 2-4 part format and go with thumbtack observations on several key races.

Walker Gets Walking Papers
Several of Trump's lap dogs got put to sleep last night, one of the most notorious of whom was Scott Walker. As of this moment, the race has been unofficially called for Tony Evers, whose previous office was, get this, the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Wisconsin. With 99.5% of the precincts reporting, Evers is holding on to a slim 0.1% lead, which is about 29,000 votes.
     Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, was merciless and terse in his assessment of the race and Walker's anti-union legacy:

The Republican SoS Who Couldn't Rig His Own Election
This is the gubernatorial electoral map of Kansas from last night. As you can see, Kris Kobach, the voter fraud conspiracy theorist who'd briefly headed up Trump's Electoral Integrity Commission out of the White House basement, won about 90% of the districts, some by huge margins, yet he still lost by nearly 46,000 votes or 4.5%.

The Republican SoS Who Apparently Did
Brian Kemp said last night, "There are votes left to count. But we have a very strong lead. And folks, make no mistake, the math is on our side to win this election."
     Of course, what he didn't say was part of his math was the subtraction of over half a million Georgia voters from the voting rolls, most of which (are you sitting down?) being voters of color (including this 92 year-old woman who'd voted in every election since 1968). Kemp's "strong lead" consists of a mere 68,000 votes, which would be wiped away if those disenfranchised voters got their votes back and were allowed to cast their ballots in an early December runoff election. And that's why Abrams won't concede, nor should she.

What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?
Let's start with the good news.
     27 NRA-backed candidates lost last night. Considering how cash-strapped they are, perhaps the NRA should tighten its belt and stop backing right wing losers. But take heart, gun nuts: David Hogg sends his "thoughts and prayers" to all 27 of them.
     At least 100 women were elected to the US Congress last night. As you can expect in the rapidly changing American political landscape, many of them set precedents. The previous record for Congresswomen was 85. Among them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29 is the youngest woman elected to Congress. Native Americans Charice Davids and Debra Haaland were the first Native women elected to Congress and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota (who replaces Keith Ellison) are the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
     Gavin Newsome is the next Governor of California, Jared Polis is the first openly gay Governor and he became so in the red state of Colorado and Ayanna Pressley will be the first African American woman to represent Massachusetts.
     The Republicans lost seven gubernatorial seats including in red states such as Maine, Kansas, Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin. This could be key later on, as several of those states have Republican senators and should any of them step aside, the Democratic Governors would appoint Democratic replacements that could tip the balance of power in the upper chamber.
     Democrats picked up 27 House seats, bringing their total thus far to 222, giving them at this exact moment a mere four seat majority but remember, 17 seats are still in play.
     Now for the bad news:
     The way it stands, Democrats lost virtually all the most avidly-watched races. Beto lost to Cruz by 3, Gillum lost to DiSantes by 1 and, even though she refuses to concede, Abrams is losing to Kemp. That's a Senate seat and two gubernatorial seats we should have won but did not, ensuring the Republicans will have, at the very least, a 53 seat majority in the Senate, which will make it virtually impossible for the Democrats to take in 2020. With 35 Senate seats in play and eight of them in GOP hands, the Democrats needed to win two of them without losing any of theirs. Instead, they lost three.
     While the House now has the power to write and pass articles of impeachment against Trump, those articles have to be ratified by a right wing Senate, which takes away all the impeachment power out of the hands of those newly-empowered Democrats.

Reading the Soggy Tea Leaves
That's not to say the Democrats winning the House is a Pyrrhic victory. Since they will have the majority come early January, which will come with it committee majorities and the ability to name their own Speaker and committee chairmen, it forced Trump's hand to fire Jeff Sessions as Attorney General today and replace with him with a shyster from the Federalist Society (You remember them? They're the ones who pick Trump's SCOTUS nominees).
     Yes. Jeff Sessions was fired as AG. Not "resigned." Fired. Read Sessions' opening line. "I am resigning at your request." Trump's lawyering down because the House will soon be gunning for him. He's already picked an apparatchik who won't recuse himself and will likely fire Mueller and Rosenstein (which will, of course, trigger a House investigation, impeachment proceedings and they'll rehire Mueller in January). That apparatchik is Matthew Whitaker who'd last year written a piece for CNN's website entitled, "Mueller's investigation of Trump is going too far."
     This ought to be interesting.
     As stated, this effectively neutered the House's ability to draft and pass articles of impeachment and reducing such to a mere exercise in futility. I'm absolutely positive than several Republicans won rigged elections, particularly in Georgia, but as long as those results are held up as genuine, there's nothing that can be done about them.
     So, rather than hail last night's election as a great victory for Democrats, which is quite misleading, let's call it what it is- A mixed bag containing voter apathy, vote caging, gerrymandering, hacking of voting machines and the general stupidity of the American voter who still insists on voting against their best interests. Having House control is nice only as long as they remember why they were elected. We lost the Crown Jewel last night- the Senate. Not only that, they, again, lost at least three seats (McCaskill in Missouri, Heitkamp in North Dakota and Joe Donnelly in Indiana).
     So, thanks to stupid, apathetic voters (an anemic 49% is now considered "soaring"), Democrats fielding weak and wounded candidates and Republican dirty tricks, we've replaced the fascist, one party rule in Congress with, at best, gridlock that we've never seen before.


At November 8, 2018 at 3:36 AM, Anonymous CC said...

"The Republican SoS Who Couldn't Rig His Own Election"

Shouldn't "SoS" in this case be changed to "PoS"?


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