Like many C&L readers and writers, I spent much of the run-up to the midterm elections oscillating between hope and terror. When I wasn't working, sleeping, eating, or trying to exercise away my anxiety, I divided my days among volunteering, contributing money to candidates, reading social-media and political demographic analyses, and, overall, trying to predict what might happen on Election Day 2018.
Because C&L is kind enough to let me camp here, I've given a little thought to who and what won and lost, and why. Given that the Blue Wave is still hitting the shore in a few places (but, unfortunately, receding in others), this list is provisional.
In no particular order, here is my incomplete list of winners and losers, with haphazard observations on why they won and lost. I hope/fear Chief Justice Roberts and his colleagues will honor Finley Peter Dunne's Mr. Dooley and follow the election returns.
- All the Congressional, statewide, and local-office candidates who prevailed in their races, whether Democrats, Republicans, or Other, because it's unreasonable to argue with victory.
- Women, as voters, as candidates for office at all levels of government, and as members of the next Congress, in record-setting numbers.
- Act Blue, because it raised more than $1.5 billion, "...mostly through small-dollar donations that roughly doubles their take by the same means during the 2016 presidential race."
- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, because its candidates had a very good season.
- The House Democratic Caucus, however fractious it might be, because it now controls the legislative and investigative agenda in the House for the next two years.
- Ranking Democrats on House Committees in the current Congress, who will likely take the chairs of the committees on which they sit, with subpoena power.
- The House Progressive Caucus , which will certainly grow, and, apparently, will have seats on the "A" House committees and proportional representation on all the other House committees.
- Political demographers, because most of them predicted accurately the probable outcome of the election, and explained themselves better to the public then they did in 2016. They were chastened by the beating they took after the 2016 election - which they also predicted accurately, but didn't explain as well in the run-up to that election. Defining "probability" and "margin of error" for civilians, repeatedly and loudly, turns out to matter. A lot.
- Voters in states that expanded voting rights by, for example, enacting automatic registration and creating independent districting commissions to take the process of setting legislative borders out of the hands of partisan legislatures.
- Everyone who voted, regardless of party affiliation, because voters understand that their votes power small-d democracy.
- All the Congressional, statewide, and local-office candidates who failed in their races, whether Democrats, Republicans, or Other, because it's unreasonable to argue with defeat.
- The National Republican Congressional Committee, because it had a very bad season.
- The House Republican Caucus, because not only will it lose power, it may be dominated by its right-most obstructionist wing, the Freedom Caucus.
- Senator Schumer and Senate Democrats, because the Democratic caucus in the Senate will shrink in the next Congress, not that it has any meaningful power in Mitch McConnell's Chamber (of Horrors).
- Voters in states that suppressed - or will suppress - the vote by passing voter ID laws, de-registering voters, and under-funding and under-staffing their election systems.
- Everyone who could vote but didn't vote, because they forfeited an opportunity to advance their political agendas, whatever they might be.
- Jeff Sessions, because he lost his seat at the Cabinet table.
- Nancy Pelosi, because she might be the next Speaker of the House.
- Beto O'Rourke, Stacy Abrams, and Andrew Gillum, because they increased their national political profiles, even though they lost their individual races. Will 2020 favor them for other offices?
- Get-Out-The-Vote organizations, because they brought many new voters into the democratic process this year. Those new voters whose candidates won probably will be reinforced by their success to vote again.
- Donald Trump, because some candidates for whom he campaigned lost. (Looking at you, soon-to-be-former Senator Dean Heller.)
- Donald Trump, because the next House majority will - I hope - quietly and methodically build a case for his removal, either in 2020 or by impeachment, by showing what an incompetent and corrupt government he runs.
- The NRA, because its funding is falling so much that, reportedly, it cut off free coffee for its office staff.
- Reporters for national media who pitch their editors on more "Cletus Safaris," in order to remind us that a certain slice of Trump voters will vote for him no matter what he does. We don't need any more reminders.
I invite you to add to this list. If you do, thanks for playing along at home!