The Democrats winning the House is a big deal
Despite many significant hurdles, the Democrats took back the House last night, improving Democratic morale and more importantly, functionality in the Federal Government.
Yesterday’s midterm elections have left a bittersweet feeling for many Democrats across the Republic. The Dems reclaimed the House of Representatives, a rare feat for Democrats in the modern era, despite losing more seats in the U.S. Senate (still being sorted out). However, it could be argued that taking back the House, at one point in the campaign cycle, looked to be more difficult than winning the Senate back. Despite positive polling, it does not take away from the challenges that still remained for the DNC to win Congress. So what now?
The President’s defenders will claim that Presidents who also had the House coming in often lose the House of Representatives in Congress after the first two years. Not true. President Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Bush did not see this. It has only happened to Presidents Clinton and Obama.
Although the Democrats had a chance all along of a blue wave, it was done fighting off voter suppression, gerrymandering, money in politics heavily on the Republican side, and Trump’s aggression on “the caravan” and immigration, including his bigoted ad that was taken off CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, to name a few. Trump’s base could have ended the wave, but it was not enough.
Trump has been hard at work these last few years demoralizing the Democratic Party and making them feel like poop. The Nancy Pelosi attacks were eminent throughout. Now it appears Majority Leader Pelosi will return as Speaker of the House, a correct choice given her experience on the job and being Speaker under both Republican and Democratic Presidencies in the past and her accomplishments that solidified President Obama’s legacy that no one can ever unwrite from history.
Demoralization is an easy trap for Democrats, especially for the U.S. House of Representatives, as the Democrats have had majority in the House only 25% percent of the time in the last 24 years. The Tea Party cycle in 2010 led to a crushing loss in 2010 (Pelosi and some of the country’s best legislative victories were between 2009–2010, what were Americans thinking?) and disappointing results in 2012, 2014, and 2016, despite winning the popular vote overall in 2012 and a Democratic Presidential nominee winning 3 million more votes in 2016. Nevertheless, it is important to always remember that there are more Americans (regardless of party affiliation), who side with the Democratic Party platform than those who do not (by the aggregate numbers nationwide).
Since 1994, as the Republicans went more right, it has been a tough battle for Democrats in the House, undoubtedly. Looking back at history however, shows that the Democrats had a majority in the House from 1955–1995, a 40-year run of Democratic control. As impressive as the House GOP was from 2010–2016, they did not win forty years straight. That was the Democratic Party. As I said in a previous article, the Democrats are not as unpopular as the opposition paints them to be. It was not just coastal elites winning back in the day. The era that Trump talks about bringing back when he says “Make America Great Again” was one where the Democrats ran the tables in the House. In that regard, his MAGA campaign to return us to an earlier era is ironically working. Democrats needs to make strides in every state and every region, some of which was done yesterday. Thus, for a variety of reasons, many of them prevailed, enough for the House to flip.
The incoming U.S. House of Representatives will be the most female and diverse in history. There are a few solid progressives in this group as well. It is my sincere belief that despite their age, the House Democratic Leadership of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn will be able to lead this caucus and try to get important legislation through. The ageism in politics astounds me sometimes; someone with experience, been there during successes (and failures), and knows the opposition is a burden? Our hospitals do not tell the wiser, seasoned surgeons to step aside and let the residency students take over the complicated procedures. And political life, at this moment, is nothing short of complicated. The three I mentioned were there to get TARP, the stimulus, Obamacare, and Dodd-Frank, all of which was opposed by many or all Republicans. Maxine Waters, Jerrold Nadler, Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, and Nancy Pelosi will all have gavels. Frederica Wilson will be part of the majority. However that is sliced, that is a loss for the White House. Checks and balances, constitutionality, corruption, immigration, the Russia interference, Brett Kavanaugh, the ambush in Niger, and the Department of Interior are all open to Congressional subpoenas and investigations, regardless of the Senate. Remember Benghazi investigations? Also, Mitch McConnell’s agenda can be blocked early if the House holds firm.
Speaking of McConnell, one unfortunate aspect of this is that the Senate is still Republican, which I thought would flip instead, since the Senate only needed two pick ups (Nevada and Texas and even with Heitkamp losing, Mike Espy in Mississippi in the runoff could have made up for it). That will prevent the Democrats from getting some key legislation passed and will make it easier for radical cabinet appointees or even Supreme Court nominees to get through. This fight is far from over.
For now, however, Democrats should celebrate. This was not an easy victory. Trump can now be held accountable.