In the end, the political blue water of Midterm 2018 did in fact come ashore as a ripple, not a wave, which is what I expected nationally.
Locally there was a blue storm surge.
And all the waters will soon be getting wilder.
At least four Republican legislators from Mecklenburg County appear to be going down. Next term, Republicans will hold zero seats on the county commission. And increasing Mecklenburg blueness almost put a Democrat in a U.S. House seat that’s been Republican since the Sixties.
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Though North Carolina’s 9th District remained red, Democrats nationally regained control of the House. We’ll again have split-party government, something I voted for. Yet, it was still a strong midterm for President Donald Trump.
Democrats appear to have gained more than 30 seats in the House. The average number lost by a president’s party in a mid-term is 30. Bill Clinton lost 54 Democrat seats in his first midterm; Barack Obama lost 63. Trump did great by comparison, and Republicans actually gained in the Senate.
All of which sets up a volatile next two months and two years.
What might the president and Republicans try to do before they lose their House majority about the Mueller investigation? About immigration? About a lot of things?
After Democrats take the House, will they “Legislate, legislate, legislate, and not investigate,” as former Democratic Party National Chairman Ed Rendell advises? Will they really give the gavel back to Nancy Pelosi, giving Trump and Republicans back one of their favorite villains as a foil?
I wrote recently that “Too clever by half” Democrats were quashing their own blue wave heading toward this midterm. Will they do it again heading toward 2020?
And how will the country handle what will without any doubt be the most divisive presidential election season in any of our lifetimes?
The House will be a little over half Democrat, the Senate a little over half Republican, and Donald Trump – whose popularity and polarity helped drive Tuesday’s turnout nearly to general election levels – will be president. Our political divide deepens, and the culture within which it lives is hardening every day.
For several hours last night, while many returns were leaning blue, RealDonaldTrump was silent on Twitter. When it became clear his midterm election night would have a relatively happy ending he picked up his cell phone and started firing away.
By his press conference Wednesday he was in fine form, first talking bipartisanship, then shifting into combat mode ripping Republican candidates who hadn’t embraced him and had lost, and tangling with the media.
Kathleen Parker, a conservative columnist and optimist, Tweeted Tuesday: “Let’s try to remember that we’re not enemies. We’re all on the same team. It won’t be long before we can select a new coach.”
Hemingway’s Jake Barnes flashed in my mind.
“Isn’t it pretty to think so?”