How could voters pass it up? Our president lied about healthcare, attacked women, ignored climate change and crumbling infrastructure, demonized the press and FBI, alienated our allies while cozying up to despots, and direly predicted an Invasion of the Brown People. His nonstop fear-mongering and denunciations may have excited his base and inspired mass shooters, but he appears to have alienated everyone else.
The turnout of 115 million set a midterm record, with 49 percent of eligible voters voting. This brought more than a morale boost for the resistance: Democrats regained the House majority. Republicans held a slim Senate majority as they sought to distract from their vote suppression with baseless charges of Democratic fraud. Trump’s abusive post-election press conference showed he was rattled. Underscoring how the walls are closing in, the Wall Street Journal implicated him in hush money payments.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, a Trump loyalist, was widely criticized as extreme and his appointment’s legality was questioned. He opposes Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 case that established judicial review. He said only Christians should be judges. He favored indicting Hillary Clinton, the most investigated American without a criminal record, over her email server despite no evidence it was hacked, unlike Trump’s unsecured cellphone. Whitaker is accused of the bias-motivated prosecution of a gay Democrat when U.S. Attorney for Iowa’s Southern District. He was on the board of a company shut down for scamming disabled veterans.
Some pundits, dismissing the blue wave despite Democrats having flipped the House plus several governorships and state legislatures, gaslighted progressives with lectures on what they did wrong. Democrats actually won the popular vote, and Republicans fell short of expected gains in the Senate despite its structural tilt toward less populous red states.
The midterms brought lots of fresh talent to Washington, though the media obsessed over Nancy Pelosi, whose caucus-leading skill is real, in contrast to Trump’s fantasy of Democrats turning America into Venezuela. There is a large influx of women into Congress, including its first Muslim women (Rashida Tlaib in Michigan’s 13th and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota’s 5th), Native American women (Sharice Davids in Kansas’s 3rd and Deb Haaland in New Mexico’s 1st), and Texas Latinas (Veronica Escobar in the 16th and Sylvia Garcia in the 29th).
Democrats won with candidates who fit their districts, like Lucy McBath in Georgia’s 6th, who ran on gun control in memory of murdered son Jordan Davis. The new House committee chairs will perform a vital function absent for the last two years: oversight. At the state level, Florida restored voting rights to returned citizens. Every level saw what Victory Fund president Annise Parker called a “rainbow wave” of LGBTQ victories.
Trump made the midterms a referendum on himself and lost. Democratic House gains verge on the biggest since the 1970s. The fight ahead will be waged in Congress and state legislatures, in court, in new and traditional media, wherever people gather.
Be a volunteer curator for democracy. It starts with checking your sources and arguing your case. Don’t make it up, look it up on the computer in your pocket.
Above all, we must not succumb to Trump’s unreality. Democratic policies are better for the working class, which often opposes its own interests thanks to Trump’s hysterical racist appeals. The truth is hard, but is our only hope. We must uphold our values while building on our victories.
On the eve of the hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day, Trump skipped a commemoration at an American cemetery in France because of rain. The next day in Washington, humbler folk attended an LGBTQ Veterans Day observance at Congressional Cemetery. On Thanksgiving, let us celebrate those fighting for equality at home.
We will sink or swim as a diverse people. Erasure is theft. Erasure is violence.
Trump’s insults of three black female reporters typified his meanness and bigotry. Rev. William Barber, founder of North Carolina’s Moral Mondays protests, wrote, “Some say we saw a blue wave in this week’s midterms, but I believe we saw a moral wave.” Let us be clear: fighting people who steal elections and put children in cages does not lower us to their level.
The struggle continues.
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2018 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.