We’re not going to sugar-coat it, Tuesday’s election was not the greatest night in the history of the Republican Party. But it was far from the worst. And if there are Democrat voters struggling to muster a whole lot of enthusiasm about what they accomplished at the polls this week, you can hardly blame them. This was less a wave and more a puddle.
Yes, they took back the House and Nancy Pelosi will, by all accounts, once again hold the gavel. Yes, this probably means we’re in for two years of meaningless investigations and frustrating obstruction. But Republicans not only held on to the Senate, they expanded their majority. Further, the symbolic in-your-face smash hit that Democrats hoped to score – a true BLUELASH against Donald Trump – utterly failed to materialize. This was your typical midterm elections, and it does not bode well for any Trump hater who wants to see him dethroned in 2020.
Beto O’Rourke, the Democrats’ Great White Hope in Texas, came up short in his race against Sen. Ted Cruz, despite literal mountains of national press and a financial war chest of near-presidential proportions. There is already talk of recruiting Beto to run for the White House against Trump, and all we can say is: Please, please make this happen.
In Florida, Andrew Gillum’s celebrated (and Obama-supported) campaign for governor came to a similarly unceremonious conclusion. Both he and Sen. Bill Nelson lost their races to Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott respectively, two results that were definitely not expected heading into Tuesday evening.
Stacey Abrams’ loss to Brian Kemp was more or less in line with the polling, but it, too, was a nationally-watched race that Democrats were desperate to bring home. A figure no less powerful than Oprah campaigned on behalf of Abrams, but it was not enough to overcome Republican momentum. Or, if you’re a liberal crybaby, Kemp’s cheating.
We’ll never be sure how badly the Democrats hurt their own cause by putting on that Kavanaugh spectacle in October. But it certainly is interesting that the Democrat senators that voted against Kavanaugh – Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp – lost their races while Joe Manchin of West Virginia held on to his seat. If Democrats use their House victory as a launching pad towards further Kavanaugh investigations, their control of the lower chamber could be short-lived, indeed.
The worst sign for Democrats, though, is that many of the candidates that Trump came out and campaigned with won their races. That proves that the president has not lost his magic touch, and the election results themselves show that Americans are nearly as “fed up” with Trump as the media would have you believe.
So no, this was not a really great night for the Democratic Party. But we have a sneaking suspicion it was better than the one they’re going to have in two years.