11/08/2018

A Much, Much Better GOP Night Than Had Been Forecast

Dov Fischer, The American Spectator

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.

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