Election 2018: The Aftermath

There is great rejoicing in California over Tuesday’s election results. Gavin Newsom easily won the Governorship in a landslide over his hapless, colorless Republican opponent, and now finds himself on the national stage—albeit a very crowded one—of prominent young Democrats with promising futures.

Dianne Feinstein also won, although only by eight points (over her Democratic opponent, Kevin de Leon, the two Democrats being the result of a curious law California passed that has the two top candidates in the primaries run against each other in the General regardless of party). A lot of people voted for de Leon (I did) not out of anger at Feinstein but simply because, at the age of eighty-five, she seems a bit tired, while de Leon, a mere stripling at 51, is more progressive than Feinstein, and far more energetic.

But the best news is that Democrats regained the House of Representatives. Not by the margin I might have wished, but a win is a win, and Nancy Pelosi likely will once again wield the Speaker’s gavel—much to the rage of the neo-nazis at Breitbart, who have swallowed Trump’s fiction that the election was a “victory” for Republicans. To paraphrase an old saying, with “victories” like that, they don’t need defeats. I heard Elijah Cummings, who will be the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on NPR yesterday after the election, and in his mild-mannered way he guaranteed that there will be investigations into Trump, the Trump family, the Trump Cabinet and emoluments. Meanwhile, between Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and other emboldened Democratic chairs (all of whom Trump has repeatedly insulted), numerous hearings (and subpoenas) are about to be launched (after swearing-in day, next January) that will grip the country and put Trump even more on-edge than he normally is, which is very, very much.

He deserves it. I’ve written frequently on the topic of karma, an Eastern concept but one that finds expression in our Western notion of “What goes around, comes around.” Kavanaugh said that in his deranged self-defense before the Senate Judiciary Committee; in his case, he meant it as an hysterical threat (to rule against Democrats simply because they’re Democrats, and not on any judicial merits). In Trump’s case, it’s pure, unadulterated karma. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Trump is about to reap the dark, twisted sickness he has unleashed on the rest of us, and (I say this a bit maliciously, but we Democrats are entitled to some malice after the last two years), it’s going to be a pleasure watching Trump squirm, panic and twist slowly, slowly in the wind.

Finally, somewhat overlooked in the glare of the House victory are Democratic wins for Governor. Dems now have 23 states, seven more than before the election, and there is a distinct possibility that Georgia’s results—clearly illegally manipulated by Kemp—will be overturned. This means, of course, that redistricting in Democratic-run states will now be organized more fairly as we head into the 2020 cycle, thereby further strengthening the Democratic majority in the House. We may not regain the Senate for a while—but with Speaker Pelosi and all those smart, aggressive Democratic committee chairman, Trump is going to have a very bumpy ride. And there’s still Mueller, tick tick tick…

So good work, all of you who voted Democratic! As Pelosi said yesterday, “Democrats are on the right side of the future.” Not “right” as in “rightwing conservative” but “right” as in correct, proper, healthy, sane, progressive. I am convinced that someday, and sooner rather than later, this stain of Trump and Trumpism will be declared an historical catastrophe in America and roundly condemned, much as we now condemn slavery. Someday, generations of Americans, perhaps not yet born, will look back at this era and ask, “How could it have happened?” in much the same way young Germans today wonder how a Hitler could have arisen in their midst. Historians will offer endless theories to explain Trump (as they do to explain Hitler), but sometimes the explanation is as simple as this: Evil exists, and occasionally gets the upper hand.

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