Imagine it’s the wee hours of Nov. 9, 2016. And you just found out that Donald J. Trump has been elected president. You are weighing the quickness of a bullet to the brain against the tranquility of a plummet off a seaside cliff.
Then your phone pings with a series of news alerts.
A Dem just won governor in Wisconsin!
Then – wow! Governor of Kansas, too? How’d that happen?
Two Muslim women won seats in the House!
Wait, what? Dems just won the House of Representatives!
And a Dem almost beat Cruz for a Senate seat in Texas!
And Florida came within a percentage point of electing its first black governor!
If this cascade of good news had followed immediately after Trump’s win, it would have buoyed the spirits of all of us non-Antifa Dems who just want honesty, fairness, intellect, compassion, justice and hope from our government.
But expectations got to us. Reality check, Dems — we were never going to wake up to a country in which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would have been a viable presidential contender in 2020.
Beto O’Rourke on the other hand? Yeah, maybe.
Dems won the House because they chose candidates well. They moderated their message. They won the suburbs. They offered ethnic and gender diversity but didn’t thrust it in people’s faces. They talked about what matters to people locally. They talked about healthcare. They didn’t demonize, they united. They met people at the edges of their comfort zones, rather than trying to drag them out of them. That’s what heals the connective tissue of the country. That’s what wins. And that’s exactly what Dems have to do in 2020.
Domenico Montanaro of NPR put it well:
Look, the fact is, President Trump wants to be able to say, and is going to argue, of course, that he had some big victory tonight. He didn’t have a big victory tonight. They lost the House of Representatives. His agenda now is potentially stalled and gummed up for the next two years unless he makes the decision to reach out to Democrats and Nancy Pelosi to work with them. Democrats are now going to control oversight. And that means the ‘I’ word. Not impeachment. Investigations. So, sure, the Republicans may gain a seat, two, maybe three in the Senate. And, sure, they can take a little bit of solace in that. But that is not anything to write home about. A lot of Democrats are disappointed because they didn’t get all the governors’ races that they wanted. But I don’t think they should have expected that. And, frankly, they should be very happy tonight. Because essentially what they got was an injunction for the steamroller to stop at their property line.