US Democrats win House in blow to Trump
booms the BBC’s headline, whose coverage throughout the night would have you believe he’s just been turfed from office. In reality, the results are so mediocre even the BBC has had to tone things down a touch.
Many on the left were hoping for a “blue wave” during these midterms, which would see the Democrats retake the House with a workable majority. Most people were predicting a 35-40 seat advantage over the Republicans, who under Trump have been ineffective in Congress and divisive (but reasonably effective) everywhere else. It now looks as though the Democrats will have a majority of around 27 seats, which is slim by historical standards and few can deny they expected a lot more. Perhaps more importantly, the Democrats not only failed to retake the Senate but actually lost ground, conceding two seats to the Republicans.
What this means is, come January, the Democrats will start throwing every spanner in the works they can think of to unseat Trump. As the BBC says:
They could also more effectively block his legislative plans, notably his signature promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
If that wall was going to get built, funding would have been approved when the Republicans held the House and construction would have already started, so I doubt this will make any difference. As far as legislation goes, Trump’s administration hasn’t done much which is hardly surprising given Paul Ryan was in charge of that and he couldn’t even manage to draft an alternative to Obamacare. Where Trump has made the biggest impact is in rescinding a whole swathe of Obama’s executive orders, and appointing judges to the Supreme and lower courts. Given the Republicans retain control of the senate and no longer rely on independent votes, they ought to be able to continue with this apace. Liberals from coast to coast will be on their knees praying daily that Ruth Burger Gingsburg, who is 85 years old, hangs on until at least 2020.
But this is equally important:
The Democrats could now launch investigations into Mr Trump’s administration and business affairs, from tax returns to potential conflicts of interest.
The majority population would likely welcome some increased level of congressional oversight, but I suspect they’ll have a low tolerance for the sort of lunacy they were witness to during the Kavanaugh hearings. Assuming Nancy Pelosi is elected speaker without an internal bunfight, Trump will relish batting away one deranged accusation after another; he’s at his best when under attack from buffoons who think the old rules still apply and he can portray himself as the only sane person standing. That crazies on the Democrat side are already screeching for the House to impeach Trump doesn’t bode well for the next two years. They’re hedging their bets on the Mueller report producing something damning, but my guess is whatever’s in there will hurt Democrats more than Trump and he knows it. It’s telling that even Pelosi is distancing herself from talks of impeachment; perhaps she’s looked at the election results and realised that the lunatics the Dems ran fared badly while the more sensible ones did well. Whatever happens between now and 2020, the Democrats need to convince American voters they’re not mental, and this means behaving like adults in Congress. Can they manage it? I doubt it, but we’ll see.