House Republicans will make complete asses of themselves in the next two years. This gaggle of tremulous geese still in thrall to the Big Liar despite the bursting of his balloon will do nothing to address the problems we face—inflation, guns, climate change, immigration. The notion of governing responsibly is completely alien to the so-called Freedom Caucus of hard-right zealots. Instead, they will focus their energies on performative pointlessness and disruption: (1) pursuing “revenge” investigations in a futile, albeit comic, attempt to make Democrats pay for their legitimate and revealing probe of Trump’s January 6 insurrection; (2) obstructing everything Biden proposes to address the country’s problems. (3) and perhaps even attempting to impeach Biden for fictitious wrongs. Prediction: Republican antics will produce nothing but public contempt for them, not a good look as the 2024 election approaches.
Kevin McCarthy’s lifelong quest to become Speaker may hit a snag. The 100+ House members of the Freedom Caucus see McCarthy for what he really is: the emptiest suit on the Hill. However, if they don’t support him, they may have a tough time anointing anyone for a job that will require every single Republican vote.
Tim Ryan’s concession speech. The best concession speech (https://www.c-span.org/video/?523854-1/tim-ryan-concedes-ohio-senate-race) since Al Gore’s in 2000, and a lesson in how a mature, decent person handles losing an election.
Lauren Boebert’s very close call. At this writing, the Wicked Witch of the Western Slope is barely ahead of her Democratic opponent. Kudos to the residents of the other side of the Continental Divide for almost rejecting one of the most obnoxious, vile and useless House members.
Trump got stomped, but is not done yet. It’s now three national elections in a row where voters resoundingly rejected Trump’s evil clown show. Despite his flailing attempts to put a positive spin on his latest electoral failure, word has it that he spent the days after the debacle raging around Mar-a-Lago screaming, yelling and blaming everyone (including Melania) but himself for the trouncing of Mehmet Oz and so many other of his hand-picked candidates. His frustration was exacerbated by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ landslide victory in Florida, an ominous portent of what may await Agent Orange in 2024. Nevertheless, the MAGA base, which views him as divinely anointed, remains the strongest voting bloc in the GOP. It will take much more to convince them that the emperor has no clothes (pardon that image!).
Election liars live to fight another day. Despite the losses suffered by some of the most prominent election liars, at least half of them won seats in Congress and at the state level. However, the Trump-manufactured lies about the “stolen” 2020 election are getting shopworn and are likely not a winning formula moving forward. To survive, the election dissemblers might have to come up with some substantive policy positions on which to campaign in the future. That’s a steep slope for a crew that wouldn’t recognize a policy if it bit them in the behind.
Democrats began a comeback in state legislatures. It took 14 years for Democrats to begin to pay attention once again to state legislative races. This go-round, they took total control in three states, the first steps in the long, hard climb to reverse Barack Obama’s benign neglect of down-ballot races that enabled Republicans to gain more than 1,000 state legislative seats during his presidency.
“Content of character” took a beating. Georgian Martin Luther King, Jr’s hope that the content of a man’s character should be determinative got trashed in Georgia by the people who voted for Herschel Walker, hands down the second most loathsome candidate ever to run for office.
Samuel Alito might have to go into Witness Protection. Both Republican anti-abortion absolutists and the polls greatly underestimated the anger of abortion rights voters fired up by the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Anti-abortion measures lost everywhere they were on the ballot. The hard-right majority on the Supreme Court might want to rethink its fidelity to the Republican National Committee.
Not-so-fast on the “democracy is saved” shtick. Even if Trump fades away or is frog-marched to prison, there is still a long way to go to excise the authoritarian temptation out of American politics. Beware of Trump-with-a-brain if Florida Governor DeSantis wins the Republican nomination in 2024. Trumpism will be with us for some time.
What goes around comes around. When Richard Nixon launched his political career riding the coattails of Joe McCarthy’s anti-Communist blather, my father used to say that someday he would be called to account for the lives he destroyed (see, e.g., the “Hollywood Ten”). It took 25 years, but then Watergate happened and Nixon got his well-deserved comeuppance. The 2022 midterms are the first down payment on Republican accountability for seven years of fealty to the devastation wrought by Trump.
Our European allies are dancing in the streets. The unreserved joy reflected in the UK and EU media about the U.S. election outcome and what it says about the survival of sanity speaks volumes. They breathed a collective sigh of relief that the crazies got slapped with at least a partial setback.
Zelensky won, Putin lost. Perhaps the biggest loser is not Trump, but rather Vladimir Putin, whose hopes for a GOP red wave that would clamp down on U.S. aid to Ukraine were dashed.
November 11, 2022