Control of the U.S. House of Representatives changed hands yesterday, leaving Democrats giddy but still thinking about what might have been.
While watching election returns we allowed ourselves to get a little greedy as Beto O’Rourke made things interesting in his Senate race with Ted “Zodiac Killer” Cruz, but at the end of the day it appears Repugclicans will retain control of the upper chamber.
Democrats wanted a tsunami but only got a decent wave. So what’s it all mean?
Well, the good news is that with Democrats seizing control of the House, some semblance of checks and balances will be restored for Psycho Donald Trump. That’s a really nice way of saying that Democrats can make Trump’s life a living hell for the next two years, and that’s cause for celebration. Specifically:
- Democrats will now chair House committees, meaning they will have subpoena power.
- They will have oversight over whatever bullshit the White House tries to unleash, and lord knows Trump’s evil West Wing whackos have already unleashed plenty.
- If the Mueller investigation reveals impeachable offenses against the president, well, the newly Democratic House can bring those charges, though they will likely die in the Republican Senate. Still, impeachment proceedings wouldn’t be a good look for the Tweeter in Chief.
- Gains in Democratic governorships mean Republican-drawn legislative maps will now be viewed by someone more inclined to say, “WTF???”
We can now relish the fact that Republicans will soon be getting a new look at some old villains, like Nancy Pelosi who could again be House Speaker. And then there’s Auntie Maxine Waters, who is probably sharpening her long knives this very minute.
But it’s the new villains that must be most concerning to Republicans, bright new faces bringing stark contrast to an old Republican Party chock full of wrinkled white Neanderthal males. CNN’s Van Jones may have put it best in his analysis when he said:
“It’s the end of one party rule. It’s not a blue wave but a rainbow wave.”
The Shinbone Star’s staff is small and widely scattered. We can’t cover every race, but some of our crew of half-blind geriatrics burned the midnight oil covering issues and races of special interest to them:
DOWN IN THE LONE STAR STATE
We Texas Democrats of a certain age keep thinking victory will come to us, but it didn’t come on Tuesday night.
Beto O’Rourke has gone down swinging, running a campaign that a human being can be proud of — except for the part where he didn’t win. Now that it’s happened, I expect Democrats will dissect the defeat mercilessly. That’s what Democrats do.
But mark this down: a still-to-be-determined number of Democrats were elected to Congress on Tuesday, and it’s hard to imagine that any of them have anything but warmest regards for Beto O’Rourke. It was the excitement he brought to the race in Texas that brought a wave of voters, many of them new to the process.
So the sting will linger for a bit, but the 46-year-old O’Rourke will be heard from again.
In his concession speech, O’Rourke talked of visiting every Texas county, and being welcomed in every one of them. He also vowed that Democrats “will be defined by what we’re for.”
He promised to help Cruz where he can, but he most pointedly thanked his hometown of El Paso, and said the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez is a working hub of citizens from two nations. “It doesn’t need to be walled.” — Lin Lofley
NEW FACE IN NJ-11
In New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, the seat held for 12 terms by retiring Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen flipped to the Democrats as Mikie Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy helicopter pilot, scored a victory over Republican Jay Webber.
In his concession speech, Webber, who was backed by President Trump, seemed to blame his loss on the fact that his campaign was outspent by the Democrats.
The seat went up for grabs when Frelinghuysen, head of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced in January that he would not seek re-election.
He had come under criticism for failure to hold town hall sessions for his constituents. The campaign pitted Sherrill, a first-time office seeker, against Webber, a state assemblyman who has held statewide office since 2008. — Anne-Marie
WHY NANCY PELOSI SHOULD BE SPEAKER
With Democrats seizing control of the U.S. House of Representatives, there will be a struggle for leadership with some folks calling for newer, younger leadership. That would be a mistake.
Nancy Pelosi is a General Leia. She is the most powerful woman in U.S. political history and the most successful. Pelosi delivered landmark legislation for economic stimulus, financial overhaul, and healthcare.
Yeah, the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare, aka “death panels” — which conventional wisdom declared to be such a loser that most Democrats ran away from it (and President Obama) resulted in most of them getting their asses kicked. Yet here we are eight years later and what were the smart kids running on? Healthcare. Who knew?
We now have one branch of government back under control of people not under the sway of the crazy, racist bastard occupying the White House. But those who are under the sway of the crazy, racist bastard still run the other branches of government. Democrats haven’t been the majority in the House for eight years and will now be engaged in some of the most epic political battles we’ve ever seen. Literally trying to save the freaking nation! A sports analogy: It’s the playoffs . . . do you start a rookie who hasn’t played a minute in the league or do you go with your future Hall of Famer? Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker redux! — LarryBnDC
WHY DO I FEEL DIRTY?
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) retained his seat despite a nasty campaign with multimillionaire businessman Bob Hugin that featured ads questioning the ethics of the embattled, now a three-term senator.
Hugin, a former Celgene Corp. executive, spent $36 million of his own money on his campaign, which in the end saw him too closely tied to President Trump, who he supported to the tune of $200,000 in 2016.
Menendez’s re-election followed his corruption trial that ended in a mistrial. Hugin outspent his opponent by more than two-to-one en-route to the loss. — MastaTalka
THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT
New Mexico native Deborah Haaland became the first Native American woman elected to the House of Representatives. Winning 59 percent of the vote, she easily defeated Republican Janice Arnold Jones.
New Mexico also has a new Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, who narrowly defeated Republican challenger Rick Pearce. Grisham replaces Republican governor Susana Martinez who couldn’t run because of term limits — mercifully.
Incumbent senator, Democrat Martin Heinrich easily defeated Republican Mick Rich with 52.9 percent of the vote compared to 32 percent for Rich. Libertarian former governor Gary Johnson received 82,860 votes, or just 15 percent.
Johnson and Jill Stein running as Libertarians in 2016, helped propel Donald Trump into the White House. Of interest to state conservationists was the race for land commissioner pitting, Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard winning against oil industry-backed Republican Patrick Lyons. — Fred Bunch
LAND OF THE FREE
It’s almost 9 p.m. here in British Columbia, so Election Day coverage is almost over for most Americans. As a realist who leans towards pessimism, the outcome is what I hoped/expected for at best. And hey, it’s definitely a more survivable event than if the Republican Party and their morally bankrupt leader had kept everything.
So, on that note, as a Canadian, the one story I have been following is the Florida vote on whether former felons should be given back their voting rights. Yes, to all of you who just take for granted your right to vote, I typed that correctly. I don’t think many people realize just how difficult it is to actually get out and vote in the United States; state by state, rules and regulations differ.
And if you are or were a felon, that comes with a whole other box of bullshit. The U.S. is one of the harshest countries when it comes to those who have committed a crime. Florida was one of three states (the other two are Kentucky and Iowa) that held a lifetime ban on voting for any felon, former or otherwise.
That’s all changed now. An estimated 1.5 million former felons will have their voting rights restored in Florida thanks to the midterm voter turnout in favour of the amendment on the ballot.
In a country that claims to be home of the free yet has the largest number of incarcerated people on the planet, this is a big deal. It’s a big deal for those directly affected and it’s also a big deal for politics.
Florida has long been the state that determines political outcomes for the country, and now with more than a million people now able to have their voices heard and their votes counted in future elections, this could be a game-changer.
Let’s hope it’s a move towards change for better voting rights in all of the United States of America. — Madmegsblog