It’s taken taken a day or so for me to digest the results of the midterm elections. Many races are undecided, still. Contests in Florida and Georgia are plagued with accusations of foul play, missing ballots, and just plain old voter suppression. We won’t know for sure about California contests for weeks, with as many as one million votes still uncounted.
I suppose we’ll be expected to believe racism has nothing to do with Georgia’s non-functioning voting machines in black precincts, and the discovery one day after the election of 700 still-wrapped voting machines in a nearby warehouse.
And, hey, did anybody notice how the MIGRANT CARAVAN disappeared off the media’s radar yesterday? The Pentagon has now directed U.S. military commanders to stop calling the deployment of active-duty troops to the southern border “Operation Faithful Patriot.” I guess you can tell Grampy to stop worrying about brown people burrowing up into the basement.
With those thoughts in mind, here’s my take on Capitol Hill contests.
My best guess is Republicans will end up with a three seat majority in the Senate. It was always going to be an uphill climb for Democrats, given the partisan breakdown of the seats in play.
Still, Democrats led the popular vote for the Senate by 12 million, a 57% majority.
This is, after all, the way the founding fathers intended for things to work. Senators, as the patrician part of the checks and balances process, are there as a bulwark against popular uprisings.
Under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, you can expect the Senate to work overtime at doing what it can do to advance a reactionary agenda.
At some point, hunks of blubber with Republican leanings are likely to be considered for judicial positions. And look for more hearings on Hillary Clinton’s emails and tit-for-tat investigations into Democrats as House Committees begin to assert their oversight role.
Vote tally for US Senate California race as of 9am Thursday, November 8:
Diane Feinstein (D, Incumbent) — 3,428, 047
Kevin de Leon (D) — 2,883,521
Democrats will likely end up gaining 35 seats in the House of Representatives. At least four, and as many as six of those changes will come from California.
The big deal locally is the sucessful flipping of retiring Congressman Darrell Issa’s district. I feel obliged to remind people this change didn’t come easy and it didn’t come quick. Activists–who eventually got the Democratic Party’s full attention–worked day after day, week after week for two years.
It’s appropriate that they started off election day with one last rally outside Issa’s district office in Vista.
Things didn’t go so well up in Duncan Hunter’s stomping ground in the 50th Congresional district, as Ammar Campa-Najjar lost by 8 points. A 60 count indictment against the incumbent, and the possibility Hunter will serve his constituents from a federal prison cell, failed to dissuade hard core partisans.
Campa-Najjar is swell guy and ran a good campaign in the face of what was rightly called “one of the most brazenly anti-Muslim smear campaigns in recent history.”
Vote tallies in area Congressional races as of 9am Thursday, November 8:
49th District (All Counties)
Mike Levin (D)– 95,138
Diane L. Harkey ( R)– 82,648
50th District (All Counties)
Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) — 62,244
Duncan Hunter (R, Incumbent) — 82,379
Juan Vargas (D, Incumbent) — 55,827
Juan M. Hildalgo, Jr. ( R) — 26,126
Scott Peters (D, Incumbent) — 104,372
Omar Qudrat ( R) — 66,050
Susan Davis (D, Incumbent) — 97,646
Morgan Murtaugh ( R) — 50,364
While only two house seats (the 49th & 25th districts) have formally flipped, seats held by Republicans Dana Rohrabacher (Putin’s favorite Congressman), Jeff Denham, Mimi Walters and Young Kim are in jeopardy as the tallying progresses.
From the Los Angeles Times:
With extremely rare exceptions, close races in California shift in Democrats’ favor — typically by 2 percentage points— as the later ballots are counted, according to Political Data, a firm that tracks voter trends.
“This is as dependable as the tides,” said Paul Mitchell, the firm’s vice president.
A huge share of the ballots — perhaps 40% — remain uncounted, largely due to Californians’ increasing preference to vote by mail. By law, ballots postmarked by election day and received by Friday must be tabulated.
Outside of California–particularly if not viewed through the “horse race” lens–some amazing things happened.
It was not just “Democrats” who made gains at the federal, state, and local levels in 2018; it was people who were more reflective of the diverse population in this country.
The number of women in Congress is expected to reach another record at 117. So far, women won 96 seats in the House and 12 in the Senate, and nine women out of the 16 who ran are headed to governors’ mansions.
- Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
- Deb Haaland joins Sharice Davids as the first Native American women in Congress.
- Ayanna Pressley became Massachusetts’ first black congresswoman.
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Abby Finkenauer (IA) are the youngest women (29) ever elected to Congress
- Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia, are Texas’s first two Latina congresswomen
- Jahana Hayes became Connecticut’s first black congresswoman
- Minnesota’s Angie Craig is the first openly lesbian mother in Congress
- Lou Leon Guerrero, first woman governor of Guam
- Colorado’s Jared Polis is now the country’s first openly gay man to be elected governor.
The historical conflict over who is counted as fully human remains at the core of our political differences these days, and 2018 was a step in the right direction. There’s tons more to do.
Rebecca Traister, writing at The Cut, takes the long (and I think correct) view:
But in fighting and challenging — in marshaling the energy of candidates and volunteers and protesters, the investment in left politics and new leaders and approaches — progressives not only scored big wins on Tuesday, toppling men — Kris Kobach! Pete Sessions! Scott Walker! — who’ve long lived on the wrong side of history, but they laid a path for the future. Had Democrats won bigger, or smaller, there would have been danger that that fight would ebb, either out of satisfaction or defeat. Instead the results made ever clearer what should by now be sinking in: that this will be our lives, this fight.
Thanks to Brian Beezley for the photos.
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