You asked for my diagnosis and treatment recommendations now that the results are in. Here you go.
Voters in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah approved an expansion of Medicaid.
Missouri and Utah legalized medical pot. Michigan legalized recreational pot.
There is still very unequal access to the ballot—long lines and faulty voting machines were in poor areas—this was a particular problem in Georgia, of course, where wait times in many Democratic areas of the state was three hours.
The youth vote (18-29 year olds) was way up across the board from the last midterms. Up 800% in WI, just for one example–Gov. Walker, we’re so glad to see you go.
There was some bad news in environmental initiatives to limit fracking and the like. This was largely due to massive overspending by the fossil fuel industry.
Six state legislatures flipped from Republican to Democratic and seven governors did the same. None flipped the other way. This will be crucial when redistricting happens after the 2020 census. Overall, more than 300 state house and senate seats flipped from Republican to Democrat. That is great news, and we must remember that during Obama’s eight years, the Democrats lost over 900 state house and senate seats, largely because we thought we’d won and got complacent. So this is a good first step at reversing those losses, and there is a lot of work yet to do.
The Democrats won the national vote by over 10 million, a larger margin than the midterm wave elections of 1994, 2006, 2010, and 2014.
Democrats got 58% of all votes cast for US senators, even while losing 1 to 3 seats (some results and recounts still pending). This shows what we knew, that the senate is not a democratic institution. Two senators from Montana represent about 600,000 people, while the two senators from California represent about 40 million people. (A very few states can point to it being unfair the other way in the house, for example the six small population states that have only one representative, a couple of which are just below the threshold to bump up to two representatives. So, for example, the sole North Dakota representative may represent about 600,000 people while each representative in Illinois, for example, represents on average about 400,000 people. But given that there are only six states with a single representative, out of 435 representatives total, this is hardly an equal problem to the one we have in the senate.)
So overall, it really was a blue wave election, even if it didn’t always feel like it.
The diagnosis is that our tumor was cancerous, but surgery got most of the tumor. Now we must undergo painful chemotherapy and radiation to see if we can completely rid ourselves of it and have a good chance to survive. The cancer is still there, and still fomenting hate (see Sessions, Jeff, and the day after press conference). We must be diligent as we continue to fight it off. The next two months, until the new Congress is sworn in, may be critical.
We should celebrate, but not for too long. The victory will only hold if we get back to work. I am heartened by the number of women who won races, and the fact there are over 100 women in the House, including two Muslim women, in MN and MI, who won with 78 and 85% of the vote. In Kansas, a gay Native American woman defeated a long-time white male Republican. Colorado elected the first openly gay governor in the country. There are signs of hope. The cancer won’t stop trying to grow, to destroy our body politic. We must continue to be vigilant. My biggest fear is that we relax after this win, get complacent, and Trump gets reelected. If that happens, he will be even stronger, and it will be that much harder to fight back and keep our democracy.
You may ask if I think the Democrats should impeach Trump. Right now, of course, with the Senate in Republican control starting impeachment proceedings would be pointless. But, Democrats can and will walk and chew gum at the same time. They must pass good legislation—on gun control, the environment, infrastructure, health care, etc. and force the Republicans in the senate to go on record as being against things that Americans want. And, because Trump has clearly engaged in illegal activity, there must be investigations. We need to see his tax returns. If he truly did nothing wrong, what is he afraid of? We need to know why he embraces dictators and turns his back on our long-time allies. If we ever get to impeachment, it will be because the voters push the Republicans to want it.
So, investigate, legislate, get the truth out, and if what is there makes the senate Republicans demand impeachment, then you do it. Right now, on that front, we just need to know the truth, and to stop Trump’s dictatorial impulses (i.e. trying to change the constitution by executive order). We can do that while also passing legislation that will improve the lives of Americans. Even if it won’t pass right now, it will make clear which party is on the side of Americans, all Americans, those in cities, and those in rural Ohio and North Dakota.