House Turns Blue; Senate Stays Red

It’s time to Break It Down!

Last week I penned a short post about the midterms. The idea was, recognizing just about everything that could be said about the Election had already been stated, the post served as an opportunity to encourage folks to go vote.

Today, the 2018 Midterm Elections have come and gone. Oh, to be sure, there are still a few races to be called as I write, but the trends are fairly discernible. As was anticipated, Republicans maintained control of the U.S. Senate. They even added to their majority, which will undoubtedly result in less infighting over confirmations, and an enhanced ability to get bills through that Chamber. Contemporaneously, as most prognosticators projected, Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives. This development will increase the challenge in getting Trump’s agenda through “both” Houses.  In key Governor’s races, the GOP appears poised to take an impressive Big 3 in the form of Georgia, Florida, and Ohio. All things considered, there is not much more to say today than last Wednesday.

The pertinent refrain last week was “Elections have consequences, VOTE!” Today, we are left to sift through those consequences. Along the way, there will analyses about Donald Trump’s tactics of focusing on Birthright Citizenship and the Migrant Caravan rather than the soaring economy and plummeting unemployment rate. As Mr. Trump said last week, “Sometimes it’s not as exciting to talk about the economy.”

The bottom line is, also as Trump said, “It’s effective.” It works for him, and it worked for many of the people for whom he campaigned for and supported. But, while many, myself included, would say there was no overwhelming Blue Wave, Democrats re-taking the House is not small ball. It will at the very least mean Mr. Trump no longer has a blank check across all levels of the federal government. There will be new House Committee Chairs, new Committee majorities, and those Chairs and majorities will be Democrats.

Suffice it to say the type and tenor of House Committee investigations will be somewhat different. The rules of engagement will not be the same. Having said that, I caution folks who are disaffected with Trump not to expect miracles. Dems must figure out their own leadership structure before moving on to things Trump. And oh by the way, now that the Election is over, remember Mueller put his investigation on the back burner so as not to distract from the Election process. That probe will likely ramp up again pretty quickly.

I don’t know whether Mrs. Pelosi will get another shot at the Speakership. A number of Democrats believe she shouldn’t. Yet, she was central to the fundraising that led to numerous successful campaigns, and to Democrats returning to a majority in the lower Chamber. I don’t know whether the movement to impeach Trump will garner any substantial momentum, since the Senate is still controlled by Republicans, and that body would never convict, and oust “their” Party’s President.

There are lots of decisions to be made in the coming days and weeks. The balance of power will shift in January. Not necessarily in an overly dramatic fashion. But it will change. Moreover, if you are a Congress watcher, you will notice. Just keep in mind, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters, Elijah Cummings, Eliot Engel, and Nancy Pelosi will be among the newly shot-calling leaders of the Loyal Opposition. Mr. Trump has derisively mocked several of those members, in some instances, with fervor and frequency. It will be interesting to see how the interactive dynamic between the Executive Branch and the House evolves under the revised terms of engagement.

While there are many things that remain to be seen, this much we know: “House Turns Blue; Senate Stays Red!”

I’m done; holla back!

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