November 07, 2018

Elections Have Consequences

And so will this one

by Chris Thomas

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“time lapse photo of water wave” by Maxwell Gifted on Unsplash

They’re still counting the ballots in more than 20 House Districts and it looks like the Georgia Governorship will go to a runoff election, but the overall results of the 2018 election are crystal clear: Democrats return to power in the House and pick up at least 7 governorships.

The Senate — well the Senate was a longshot from the outset. While President Trump is going to crow about how he saved the Senate and act like this was a victory for the GOP, that could not be further from the truth.

Democrats were ascendent last night.

A blue wave crashed against the sea-wall built by the Republican Red Map project, voter suppression, and threats of violence. Gerrymandered districts like the VA 7th, which went for David Brat (R) by 16 points in 2016, flipped. The 7th voted in Abigail Spanberger, unseating Brat in a district literally designed to be a safe Republican seat.

This was the pattern across the country. Democrats picked up at least 26 seats with ten or more still likely to be decided in their favor.

What does this mean?

This means that, come January, when the 116th Congress is sworn in, the Speaker of the House will be a Democrat. The chairs of the committees will be Democrats. The rules of the chamber will be set by Democrats.

Now, to be clear, this doesn’t mean that you’re going to see a bunch of Democratic policies drafted into law. The House is just one chamber of Congress and Donald Trump is still the President. But it does mean that Democrats can stem the bleeding of the last two years. They can halt attacks on the Affordable Care Act, prevent further erosion of the middle class through billionaire tax cuts, and hold the White House accountable for its corruption, largess, and incompetence.

So far so good.

Republicans abandon the fight to repeal and replace Obama's health care law

It also means that Democrats can force the the Senate and President Trump to either pass or kill popular measures which, thus far, haven’t seen the light of day. Most importantly, Democrats control the national budget. The Constitution says that all bills to do with revenue must begin in the House. If President Trump wants a budget with which to run his administration it has to go through the Democratic House.

While the House can’t pass laws, alter government policy, or even pass a budget on its own, it can instigate, investigate, frustrate, and resist.

And if there’s one thing the last two years have taught us, it’s that there is a lot in Washington right now that needs instigation, investigation, frustration, and resistance.

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