Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Yesterday evening an old college pal commented on Facebook that as he watched the election returns it appeared he would run out of beer and have to switch to vodka. Charles Bukowski's book Shakespeare Never Did This came to mind as I watched yesterday evening's election coverage, or more precisely, as I stepped away from the PBS NewsHour to pour another glass of wine. The book opens with Bukowski and his girlfriend on the plane for the long flight across the Atlantic. It goes something like this, trusting to memory, so not an exact quote: First Linda Lee and I drank all the red wine on the plane. Then we drank all the white on the plane. Then Linda Lee went to sleep and I drank all the beer on the plane. It was that kind of evening.
The Democrats accomplished the minimum that we needed with modest gains that give them a majority in the House. This ensures that there will now be congressional oversight of the executive branch. The House can also act as a check on unacceptable elements of the regime's legislative agenda. The Dems also flipped at least seven governorships, with none flipped in the other direction.
A raft of impressive Democratic candidates emerged. Not all of them won. Some lost in states and districts where they faced long odds from the get-go. I doubt that we have heard the last of them. They are too bright and too committed to just fade away. Those who prevailed will bring a lot to the table when they take their positions in the new Congress in January.
On the less bright side, Republicans retained control of the Senate, as was predicted. They picked up at least two seats despite the fact that 44.7 million votes were cast for Democratic Senate candidates and only 32.9 million votes for Republican Senate candidates. In other words 57 percent of the total Senate votes went for Democrats. Some comrades on my wing of the political bird profess astonishment that this can happen. It works out this way mostly because of the Constitution and demographic breakdowns among states. There is nothing devious or underhanded about that unless voter suppression comes into the mix.
Today brought the attorney general's resignation at the request of the president, the appointment of an acting attorney general who has called for the Mueller investigation to be defunded and reined in, a threat by the president to initiate investigations of Democrats if they dare to conduct congressional oversight of the regime, and the declaration that he will not work with Democrats on bipartisan legislation if there are any investigations.
And then there's Nevada, where the Republican candidate, a brothel owner, the self-described "Barnum of Booty," who died last month was elected to the state senate with almost 70 percent of the vote (Sam Wolfson, What happens now that a dead pimp has won a Nevada senate seat?, The Guardian, November 7, 2018).
My mild sense of relief that comes with the Democratic gains is tempered by the grim prospects for what lies ahead.
It's not easy, but keep the faith.
Memo from the Editorial Desk
Minor revisions were made after this piece was published.