The 2018 midterm elections have come and gone, and with them goes any hope the Democrats had for their supposed blue wave.
It became clear early Tuesday night that the Democrats would reclaim majority standing in the House of Representatives.
Months had passed with every left-wing pundit breathlessly forecasting the Democrats’ chances of pulling off a monumental victory nationwide. The media had American voters under the assumption progressives would coast to a wide margin of victory in every contested race; heavily handicapping President Donald Trump’s ability to govern.
A monstrous blue wave was coming.
In truth, a shift would come as no surprise. Throughout electoral history, the president’s party has been known to lose the congressional majority at the halfway point of their first term.
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With a Republican Congress calling the shots in Washington for eight years and a Republican president elected just two years ago, a power shift was theoretically and logically in order.
Any political analyst worth their salt was in agreement — at least in that the House majority would likely flip. By how many seats, however, was subject to much debate.
And debate Americans did until ballots were cast Tuesday.
But the predictable congressional success of Democrats for the first time since 2010 was hardly the decisive, blue wave victory they had been praying for.
For their two-year effort in rounding up the troops and demagoguing President Trump, his administration and the Republican leadership, all the Democrats would have to show for it was a number of flipped seats in the low-to-mid 30s, and a simple majority in one house of Congress.
For context, the average House turnover in the first midterm under a newly elected president is 37 seats.
In the interest of comparison, former President Obama lost 63 seats in the House during the 2010 midterm elections as well as losing the Senate.
The majority party under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush lost 54 and 36 seats respectively during midterm elections in 1994 and 2006.
All things considered, Republican losses Tuesday under Trump seem relatively menial.
Democrat gains look even less substantial when we take into account the fact that the GOP will likely gain seats in the Senate when all is said and done. Not to mention the fact that Trump has shifted the balance of the Supreme Court to a 5-4 conservative majority with the successful elevation of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
While conservatives have little cause to celebrate Tuesday’s results, there was certainly no blue wave. The Democrats have not been granted the overwhelming mandate they were expecting from the electorate.
In the days and months leading up to the 2018 midterms, Democratic leadership put on a show. Tough talk flowed from characters like Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Nadler laced with dogged conviction.
Should divine providence grant the Democrats a blue wave, they would have Trump at heel. They would have his tax returns, they would look to secure further freedom for the Mueller probe and even impeach the president and his most recent Supreme Court nominee if given the chance.
But overnight, the tune of Democrat leadership, primarily Pelosi in her pursuit of the Speaker of the House role, shifted dramatically.
“We will strive for bipartisanship in the belief that we have a responsibility to seek common ground where we can,” Pelosi said.
As for whether this dramatic rhetorical shift, verging on blatant backtracking, is a result of honest pursuance of bipartisanship for the sake of the American people — unlikely.
Suspicions would be far more likely to lend themselves to the assumption that the Democrats have recognized they are not in the unquestioned position of authority they expected to be in following the midterms, and they are adjusting their posture accordingly.
As they well should.
Tuesday night’s results may have placed the ball in the Democrats’ court, but the rules of the game are still well outside their grasp.
For the first time in nearly a decade, America is witnessing peak prosperity. The market is hitting all-time highs with each passing week. Job participation is soaring in ways it has not in recent memory; particularly in minority communities.
America is operating from a position of strength on the world stage by renegotiating bad trade deals, withdrawing itself from international conflicts and negotiating a hard-fought peace on the Korean Peninsula after decades of soiled relations.
Who is to thank for some of these strides may very well still be up for debate, but one thing is certain:
You would be hard pressed to find an American voter who says they would like to see Washington return to the ineffective partisan impedance present in the early 2010s.
The Democrats are still in the passenger’s seat, and the electorate is watching very closely to see what it is they will do with the small victory that they have been given.
Not only would it be self-destructive should the Democrats choose to get off in the weeds with political theater in the coming term, but it would likely be an act of assisted suicide to their hopes of winning back the White House and the Senate in 2020.
And it seems Trump is already laying the bait to make fools of Democrat House leaders with the pressured resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
But should the Democrats be looking to bolster their electoral support for 2020, they would do well to keep their eyes on what they can do to make the lives of everyday Americans better. Not what they could do to make Trump’s life harder.
In fact, their best bets would be placed on working toward some of Trump’s more middle-of-the-line campaign promises such as the infrastructure package, improving veteran’s benefits and lowering the cost of prescription drugs on a bipartisan basis.
Democrats have been granted an opportunity to set their ego aside and step in for the good of the country. Should they choose to do anything else, their House majority will be incredibly short-lived.
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