Election Coverage / Politics

Split Happens – A Post-Mortem on the “Blue Wave”

midterm-election-blue-waveWhat happened on election day 2018? Simple—a blue wave ran up against a red wall, and very little got through it.

Historically, the typical loss of seats in the House of Representatives by the President’s party is about 31 seats, and that is about exactly the result from the 2018 midterms (votes are still being tabulated in a handful of districts). The typical loss in the Senate is four seats, and Republicans defied that by gaining a net of three. This President is only the third in a century to actually gain Senate seats.

In many ways, Tuesday was more a realigning election than anything else. Democrats took back some seats that had traditionally been “blue” in the past. The same is true of the GOP in the Senate, as all the defeated Democrats hailed from the “red” states President Trump won handily. The fallen were Bill Nelson of Florida, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Claire Mccaskill of Missouri. All voted “no” on Judge Kavanaugh, and that was a factor that hurt the Democrat in each of the races, except Florida where other issues dominated. Two victorious Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana squeaked by.

But what about that 30-seat gain in the House? Democrats achieved this with a heavy dose of pragmatism this go around. Consider Rep. Conor Lamb. He was the only victorious Democrat in a special election in two years. How’d he do it in a Pennsylvania district that Trump won? Lamb is a former federal prosecutor and Marine who ran as a centrist (some would say he qualifies as a moderate Republican), supporting gun rights and President Trump’s steel tariffs. He is also personally pro-life. Lamb was easily re-elected November 6th.

It was the leftists like Ocasio-Cortez that grabbed so many of the headlines in 2018, but across the country Democrats quietly recruited a much more moderate team of candidates like Lamb who were uniquely tailored to the local needs of individual districts. A great many won. However, the party’s up and coming “superstars” did not fare well. These included Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum, and Stacy Abrams. Each lost high profile races in Texas, Florida, and Georgia respectively.

What’s next? Consider what Conor Lamb told CNN the day after the election. “I want to build infrastructure and get prescription drug prices down.” He expressed no interest in impeachment or seeing the President’s tax returns. Lamb also noted he will not support Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the house. Several victorious House Democrats pledged the same thing in their own campaign across the country. So, all eyes will now be focused on the Speaker’s election as soon as the new Congress convenes in January.

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PaulE
2 years ago

Wow! So the author of this piece actually thinks the Democrats are going to stick to the vague, willing to work across the aisle (so long as Democrats don’t have to give an inch) with House Republicans talking points Nancy Pelosi tried selling to the public the other day? Of course she and a newly elected Democrat from a purple state like Pennsylvania are going to soft sell what they really plan to do PRIOR to getting their hands on power. Democrats always pretend to be pragmatic right up until they get in office. Then they all line up in unison for the most progressive agenda they can push through. I guess someone should tell Jerry Nadler, who was heard on the phone talking about endless investigations of Trump and Kavanaugh and possible impeachment hearings on both, that he should instead play nice and completely abandon the game plan every Democrat has been focused on since President Trump won in 2016. By the way, for those that don’t know who Jerry Nadler is yet, he will be the new Democrat chairman of the House Judicial Committee. Also listen to what Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff and other newly elevated Democrat chairpersons said on CNN regarding their plans once they assume control in 2019.

If you pretend to be a fellow Democrat and really ask a Democrat politician privately what “I want to build infrastructure” really means, they usually all say something along the lines of “We want an infrastructure bill like Obama’s. It will allow us to reward our major union donors by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars back into their coffers, so they can give us even more heading into the 2020 presidential election to get rid of Trump.” Remember nearly a trillion dollars was wasted on Obama’s stimulus plan and almost nothing was actually built. It was a huge transfer of taxpayer dollars to e unions that had supported Obama’s campaign in 2008. So that is the kind of “infrastructure” the Democrats want to do all over again. You see Democrats only care about undoing Citizens United, because it leveled the playing field by allowing corporations to donate as much to Republicans as unions have historically always donated to Democrats. Democrats prefer an unfair advantage when it comes to campaign dollars, so they apparently view a repeat of Obama’s “infrastructure stimulus spending” as a means to give them an unfair advantage again in terms of campaign dollars going into the 2020 election.

As for “get prescription drug prices down”, these same Democrat politicians all essentially said “we will get drug prices down when Medicare for All (single payer) replaces the ACA.” That is what is really being positioned here. So since Medicare for All means existing Medicare goes completely way and all its existing funds are transferred to the fund single payer, the way drug prices come down is single payer will impose a strict rationing regime on all drugs. Period. Just like the drug rationing guidelines that exist in all countries where single payer exists today.

So this so-called pragmatism that the author thinks is being displayed by now Congressman Lamb is really nothing more than a very well crafted script design to mask the real agenda the Democrat has sold the people of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Shame on the author for not digging deeper into the what the script behind these so-called “moderate” Democrats really means. Then again, true investigative journalism seems to be limited to just a handful of organizations and journalists these days.

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