"Stop it!!" I interrupted. "I don't want hear about analyzing 2020. Or how about 2024? I don't want get all upset that everything I hoped for in a perfect dream didn't come true. I wish some of these Republicans didn't get elected, too. I wish Democrats had flipped 100 sets. But...that wasn't going to happen. Not one analyst beforehand said that it would. No one reasonable I heard anywhere thought that it would. Point me to ONE person who said otherwise. Everyone I saw said that Democrats would probably take back the House with a solid majority and not win the Senate, and maybe even lose a seat or two. And that's exactly what the result was. And Democrats now control the House, Republicans won't be able to push the Trump agenda. Democrats will head every House committee and will now get to decide what issues are on the table, and Democrats in the House now not only have oversight but importantly have subpoena power to investigate everything that was ignored for the past two years -- Russian involvement in trying to manipulate our elections, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, foreign emoluments, taxes and more. "
But, he asked, didn't you want all that to happen, don't you wish Democrats had won so much more, didn't you want that the...??? YES, I interrupted again (because I didn't want him to once more drag himself down into the rabbit hole, and drag me with it). That's exactly what I wished for -- but I didn't expect it! In fact, I told him, the day before I wrote an article that explained precisely what I thought would happen in the election...and I was pretty close. I said that I thought Democrats would win the House, and explained why, and that Republicans would keep the Senate and might even gain some seats. That's what I thought would happen. And more to the point -- it's not just that I thought it would happen, and pretty much did, but I am absolutely thrilled that Democrats won back the House because THAT is the one and only thing that mattered in the election.
And so it was. And it was huge.
Yes, I wish Democrats had won more seats in the House. I wish Andrew Gillum had won, and Beto O'Rourke, Stacey Abrams (though there may be a recount), Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Amy McGrath and more. I'm seriously disappointed that they didn't. And I'm deeply annoyed that Devon Nunes won, and the indicted-Duncan Hunter, the indicted-Chris Collins, Martha McSally, Marsha Blackburn and Ted Cruz, and more. But then, I'm extremely glad that Jacky Rosen beat Dean Heller in Arizona, and that Tony Evers beat Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and that Laura Kelley beat Kris Kobach in Kansas (really happy about that!), and that Jay Pritzker beat Bruce Rauner in Illinois, and Harley Rouda beat Dana Rohrbacher (the Congressman from Moscow) in California, and more.
But mostly -- mainly, indeed almost exclusively -- I'm thrilled that Democrats won back control of the House of Representatives. With 22 races still undecided, Democrats have already picked up 27 new seats. Experts are saying it could be as high as 37 flipped seats, and that would mean having a very solid majority of 230-205. And they did this in a landscape where Republicans controlled enough state houses after the 2010 census to gerrymander their states and make them Democrat-proof. And yet Democrats still were able to climb over that near-insurmountable hurdle. As of last night, Democrats received four million more votes in House races than Republicans.
That is huge, massive, profoundly important.
As I said, taking control of the House means Republicans can't push through the Trump fascist agenda. It means they can't make more attempts to repeal health care (despite their despicable, lying cries that they were all for protecting pre-existing conditions) which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said they would in fact consider doing if the election results worked out; they can't push through yet another tax cut for the wealthy (which Trump said he'd try to do) and further increase the crushing deficit; they can't ignore Russian efforts to hack our elections and manipulate our government through the White House; they can't keep getting away with White House, cabinet and congressional scandals without them being investigated. Democrats can put their agenda on the table -- it won't likely pass, since Republicans still control the Senate and White House, but it will be there fore public view of what Democrats want and show the Republican Party as the obstructionists to it all. And Democrats now can issue subpoenas. And get people to testify before the House who Republican leadership had let slide. That's major. Utterly major.
And one other thing. I'm paraphrasing, but last night Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, who will now be taking over chairmanship of the Justice Committee, issued a statement that if Trump makes any effort to fire Robert Mueller or hinder Mueller's investigation, then it will be met with all options available -- meaning the House will impeach you for obstruction with justice.
As analysts were saying, this means Robert Mueller is now safe. Personally, I wouldn't go that far -- this is Trump we're talking about, after all, so who knows what on earth he'll do. But it does mean, at the very least, that Robert Mueller and his investigation are now heavily protected.
One other statement particularly pleased me last night. It was the speech from Nancy Pelosi, who will likely return as Speaker of the House. Her speech wasn't about subpoenas and oversight -- their existence is obvious, Republicans don't need to be told, they've been fretting about it for the past months -- it was about issues. Far more to the point, it focused on issues that not only are important to Democrats but which the national electorate said were important. Most specifically strengthening healthcare again, after Trump and Republicans have tried to dismantle it. I was thrilled to hear this. Before she gave her speech, I had thought the smartest thing Democrats could do was to push healthcare. Since the public said so clearly they wanted it strengthened that Democrats doing so would send a clarion message of their continued support. And it would put Republicans in a bind -- they would either have to block it once again, as they did in 60 previous votes, and show loudly who they really are, not the liars who tried to claim they were for protecting safeguards for pre-existting conditions, or -- they would have to vote for it, and join Democrats in strengthening health care. Which would be fine by me, indeed even better. Great! Especially since it's likely Trump would veto it.
(By the way, if I had to bet -- and, in fact, did bet with my friend -- it would be that Republicans vote against any health care bill. My friend was sure that Republicans would vote for it, since they saw what the public said they wanted as their top issue. I replied that GOP candidates only lied about how they were supposedly all for protections of pre-existing conditions, which they actually aren't, they never once said that they were for expanding health care. They and their base hate health care, since it's supposedly socialistic and because it hurts insurance companies. Republicans do not want to vote for health care. They only -- only -- wanted to lie about one small, solitary part of it, pre-existing conditions. So, my penny bet -- yes, it was just for a penny, hey, I don't like gambling, what can I say? -- is that Republicans will be painted in a corner and vote no because expanding "health care" overall is an issue they and their far-right base actually hate. My friend said, "But that would be suicidal with the rest of the public. Is that what you're saying???!" I said, yes, it would be suicidal with most Americans. And yes, I am saying that. But honestly, I hope I'm wrong, and lose the bet.)
Which brings us back to the beginning. Yes, I wish the results of the election were stronger. I wish Democrats won even more votes in the House, took control of the Senate and some terrific candidates had won. But only one thing really, truly mattered for the nation. And that was Democrats winning control of the House of the Representatives.
Many news stories today have written about how we have a divided country, and all that Democrats can do is block Republicans efforts. I would suggest that that is precisely what the solid majority of the country -- four million more Democrats than Republicans -- wanted and very clearly voted for. And we were a divided nation before the election. And are a bit less divided today.