Wednesday, 07 November 2018 15:54

Trump's midterm: House flipped, Senate flopped, Boogeyman plays

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The title of this column starts with "Trump's midterm". That is what it is. He told us often that the election is about him. He deserves credit. He deserves blame. He is the dominant figure on stage and those winning or losing deserve the supporting awards, nothing more.

For now, other than Mississippi, the midterms voting is essentially history. As I write this column, the Republicans have kept the US Senate and will likely pick up some highly-coveted seats, adding to its majority. The Democrats finally have a seat at the table. No longer can President Trump and the Republicans in Congress railroad legislation without hearings as they did over the past two years. And, of course, there are those investigations that were clearly throttled by Trump, Nunes and other House Chairmen.


So, what can we say are the end results of a protracted battle in which both sides can claim partial victories?  Let’s see:


Of all of the plums over which the Republicans can crow, this is it.  Of all the flops the Democrats can be blamed about, this is it.

The Democrats always had an uphill battle, but based upon the recent polls, it appears they lost some big ones in the last hours.


The Republicans, who refused to move forward President Barack Obama’s judicial picks (including his Supreme Court choice), have more influence to mold the federal judicial system in the image of the current President. They also have more sway over nominees appointed by him to fill the cabinet spots.  Perhaps the biggest win for Trump and the Republicans is the Russia investigation. With more Senators being able to say nyet, any House impeachment article will face an increasingly uphill battle.  Trump can make the argument that any Senator going against him will face his wrath and he has a legitimate argument to make on that front. However, and again, this is a big IF, should there be any serious legal claims against the President or his family, his heavy hammer will be thinner come 2020. Much depends upon the findings of the Special Counsel and what the now-Democratic House does with any of their findings.


Unquestionably, the Republicans won the four major races that got much of the media scrutiny. His hand-picked lieutenant Ron DeSantis will now be Governor of Florida. The new US Senator from the same state will be a republican Rick Scott, who beat Democrat Bill Nelson. From all indications, Brian Kemp has bested democrat Stacy Abrams for the Georgia governor berth. Ted Cruz edged out a heavily-funded Beto O’Rourke.  Marsha Blackburn prevailed in Tennessee, toppling a former popular Democratic governor. Without doubt, the president can take credit for those wins and for the pickups. He put his standing and reputation on the line as he spoke at rally after rally and tweet after tweet. He won the Senate, no small accomplishment and his persistent efforts paid off, although, in doing so, an argument will be made that he hurt some of those Republican candidates in the House with his harsh message which ultimately helped propel women and other minorities to seats in the House.   


As of this writing, it appears that the Democrats have flipped six seats, including that of once-presidential hopeful and then-Tea Party lightening rod, Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, and states Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, New Mexico and Nevada.  Winning these seats is big pickups for team blue.


Despite spin by President Trump, the Democrats rule the House.  The Republicans can no longer ramrod legislation down the throats of the politically helpless. Trump, who claims to be the world’s best negotiator must now put that part of his reputation to the test. 

At long last for those smelling corruptions, the House gets to probe under those rocks and under the covers. There are some very serious allegations lodged. There is no doubt that Congressman Devin Nunes played the hide card. The White House can say that the people don’t care about Trump’s tax returns, his alleged violation of the US Constitution’s emolument clause, the Russian, Saudi and other influences. They can assert that Democrats will be over-reaching.  But, throughout the past three months, the daily drumbeat of Bob Mueller has been muted. There is plenty of meat on those investigative bones and Congress has a constitutional obligation to look. 

It won’t be pretty.


Indeed, there was a wave, a blue wave, but far from a Tsunami.

True, the party controlling the White House normally loses seats during mid-terms, but they don’t necessarily lose control of either the House or the Senate. This flip is major and no dustup by the president will escape this reality. The Democrats have picked up at least two-dozen House seats. Out of all of the story lines emanating from Tuesday’s night vote, Democrats controlling one-body of the federal government is significant.  It cannot be underplayed. Trump is now politically and possibly legally vulnerable despite any hogwash he feeds us or any diversions his loyalists make.


The most problematic lesson learned is that hate helps. Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder’s bizarre comments motivated the Trump base and some independents to vote GOP. Those foolish words minimized the recent right wing terrorist acts that exploded on our screens.

Trump, like him or hate him, commands a powerful “MAGA” phone. He won the US Senate. Any downplaying of his personal efforts cannot be considered serious.

Women played a major role last night. The once-male dominated Congress is now multi-colored. Gays, African Americans, young white women and even Palestinians are now represented in greater numbers than ever before.   Trump’s misogyny mattered.  Women got angry and got even.

The Kavanaugh controversy had a great impact. Trump said he was making the campaign about Kavanaugh and caravan. As has been reported, those democratic US Senators who voted against the Supreme court nominee will be unemployed. The one democrat who sided with Trump, Manchin of West Virginia, prevailed.

Trump unquestionably played the hate and the fear cards. He ran a commercial (that even Fox rejected) that he felt would help him win the Senate and it did. He focused upon a caravan of helpless migrants who might or might not obtain asylum and he demonized them. His voters approved.  The nation continues to be severely divided. Trump and Republicans know that if all else fails, the Lee Atwater-style boogie man is alive, can play its magic, and work overtime, when needed.


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