The road ahead

Pundits are falling all over themselves this morning to define the jumble of stories to emerge from the 2018 midterms. I might as well be one of them.

There are lots of good signs for those of us who have watched the last two years with an increasing sense of alarm of the fate of American democracy. The election showed the system works. Sort of.

Democratic control over the House for the next two years does bring with it a semblance of a check on the impulses of Donald J. Trump. The refusal of the Benghazi Caucus to hold him accountable for anything was reason enough to toss out the House Republican majority.

Used wisely (investigate is the best I-word, not impeach) Americans might finally get an accounting of the breadth and depth of Trump’s business dealings and the honesty and integrity (or lack thereof) of the Commander-in-Chief and his family.

Wikipedia

Perhaps as important is the success of Democrats in winning as many as seven statehouses. With a (hopefully honest) 2020 Census, state legislatures will begin a redistricting process that could bring an end to the outlandish gerrymandering that created a scenario where Democrats were 9.2 percent better than the GOP in popular House votes yet barely eked out a majority and collected more than 10 million more votes than Republicans in Senate races yet lost three seats.

Gerrymandering isn’t the only obstacle to avoiding what Trump likes to call “rigged” elections. There are two other factors that stand in the way of equal representation: the Electoral College and a system that allots the same number of senators to Vermont (population 623,960) and California (population 39,776,8300).

Realistically, only an end to gerrymandering is in the cards. But that runs into the reality of a Supreme Court that has taken a hardline stance against any state efforts to end what has become a Republican weapon. You know a Supreme Court that decided the 2000 presidential election.

So faced with these institutionalized obstacles created by partisans, what’s the alternative? Why making a coherent and logical argument through the media of course!

You know, the one that has regularly allowed Trump to dominate the news cycle, no matter how questionable the story? Or one where the administration has effectively made one cable network a de facto propaganda arm, complete with a revolving door between the White House and 6th Avenue in New York.

Looming just over the horizon today is the reemergence of the Mueller investigation 201and a pending report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and everything that trails off it like toilet paper off the bottom of a shoe.

But it still comes down to Trump’s ability to manipulate and control the narrative in conjunction with his Fox & Friends. And that relationship more than anything else gives me pause from celebrating a victory for democracy last night.