[guest post by JVW]
My extended and self-indulgent thoughts to go along with Patterico’s earlier post.
So that’s that. The GOP largely gets drubbed in the House and loses a couple of key Senate races, though at the same time appears to have increased its Senate majority by at least one and as many as four seats, subject to recounts in Arizona and Montana and a run-off in Mississippi next month. Here are some issues for us to mull over:
House of Representatives
1. The Democrats aren’t really going to return Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker are they? Surely they realize they need fresh blood.
2. Surprisingly, California Republicans appear to be holding on more strongly in the House than expected. Young Kim is slightly leading in the race to succeed Ed Royce; Jeff Denham may have squeaked out a win; Mimi Walters is 6,000 votes ahead out of the 180k counted; and Duncan Hunter appears to have won despite being indicted on campaign violations. Three GOP seats went to Dems: Dana Rohrabacher and Steve Knight both lost reelection, and the retiring Darrell Issa’s seat flipped to Dems. I think I expected the Dems to win six seats, so limiting them to three is something of an accomplishment.
3. Iowa started the night with three Republicans and one Democrat in the House, and ended the night with three Dems and one Rep, the execrable Steve King. That’s disheartening, considering that the party hoped to consolidate the gains it made in the Midwest in 2016.
4. Dems picked up two House seats in Illinois and may end up taking away four in New York, so blue states get bluer.
5. Ugh. Hate seeing Mia Love lose. She needs to move to a better district in Utah, away from all of the transplants from other states.
6. If you were a swing state Democrat and voted against Brett Kavanaugh, you were toast [except for shortly after I drafted this post earlier this morning, it became apparent that Jon Tester will eke out a narrow win in Montana]. The annoying Jane Mayer, who worked with Ronan Farrow to push the questionable allegations from Deborah Ramirez, got a little bit ahead of herself last night based upon one exit poll in Indiana that a Hillary shill was touting:
The reality is that she and Farrow contributed greatly to the GOP’s gains last night.
7. New phenomenally stupid lefty talking point: Senate Democrats received eight million more votes than Senate Republicans last night yet somehow lost between one and four seats. Gerrymandering! (Never mind that it’s the Constitution that defines states.) Yeah, that kind of margin will happen when you win at least 21 out of 34 contested seats (not to mention have two candidates from your party opposing each other in the largest state in the union). Yet Democrats went into last night defending 25 of the 34 seats. I think we can thank years of piss-poor civics education for the sheer ignorance that pervades regarding how elections work.
8. Beto O’Rourke came way closer in Texas than we thought possible, and Kyrsten Sienma made Arizona a nail-biter, and could conceivably pull it out if the Democrat post-election vote manufacturing industry operates effectively in the Grand Canyon State. Is this an ugly harbinger of the future, or was this really just a strong Democrat year and two Republican candidates who were fairly divisive characters (I read that McSally, the ex-fighter pilot, unsurprisingly has a pretty formidable ego and can be as prickly as an Arizona cactus)?
9. It turns out that Dean Heller had virtually no chance against the Clark County (i.e. Las Vegas) machine which has come to dominate Nevada politics. Outgoing governor Brian Sandoval might be the last major Republican elected statewide for the foreseeable future. The unionization of the Las Vegas casinos which came about as a result of Teamsters pension funds being invested in the 1960s has significantly narrowed the path to victory for Republicans there.
10. Generally a bad night for Republicans. I’m sad to see Scott Walker go, but it sounds like the GOP held on to the Wisconsin legislature so hopefully the Dems can’t undo the reforms that Walker implemented. Frankly, Walker should have pronounced himself pleased with this two terms and closed up shop. Democrats now fully own the Illinois mess, and voters in the Land of Lincoln will have no one to blame when their taxes and dysfunction continue to skyrocket. Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Nevada (see above), New Mexico, and Oregon are lamentable, though I am not sure any of those states are candidates for rampant gerrymandering in favor of Dems when states are redistricted after the 2020 census.
11. The Georgia race sounds like a mess. A part of me thinks that Georgia and Florida ought to have elected far-left Democratic Socialist governors, just to give the South an up-close look at how dumb that ideology really is. But I am glad they did not.
12. Gavin, Gavin, Gavin. The mess is all yours now pal as Moonbeam slunks out of town. I know I have been promising to write about him and I will, but I didn’t make it a priority because I knew it wouldn’t have any effect on his election.
13. Looks like rent control failed and failed pretty substantially, by a three-to-two margin. A welcome moment of sanity here.
14. As usual, the majority of bond measures passed. The only one that went down to defeat was the really awful water bond, but as proven time and time again, if you attach the words “children” or “veterans” to your bond proposal it is destined to succeed.
15. The gas tax repeal failed by a 55% – 45% margin, so Gavin and the Dems will still have that $5 billion annually to play with, and they now probably have no compunction about raising additional taxes to fund their wishlist.
16. We voted down the California Nurses Association attempt to kneecap the dialysis industry, but we’re forcing farmers to provide more space for their livestock and fowl.
17. Dianne Feinstein earned the hallowed honor of being allowed to die in office, even if it means reelecting her again in 2024.
18. Steve Poizner took the prudent step of ditching his GOP party affiliation and running as an independent for Insurance Commissioner, but he is going to lose by a narrow margin to Ricardo Lara, a termed-out legislative hack who is too useless to gain employment in the private sector and thus needed to find a new office.
19. It’s clear that no matter how awful the candidate (*cough cough* Gavin Newsom *cough cough*), a Democrat will win a minimum of 60% of the vote for a statewide office in California when running against a Republican.
20. If you are the people who handle President Trump’s political stuff, you have to be a bit concerned about your guy’s chance of winning Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin again in 2020, and even Iowa is now in play. And the potential bluing of states like Arizona, Texas and Georgia (long discussed, but until now just a campfire story told by high-strung Dems) does not bode well for the GOP in the long term.
21. Some wags are pointing out the possibility that Trump wins Wisconsin, but loses the other states and loses all four electoral votes in Maine, leading to a 269-269 electoral college tie and throwing the election into the Democrat-controlled House. That’s just about what we deserve.
22. The GOP has been dead in California for some time now, and it now appears to be dead in Virginia too. Again, an ominous sign for future elections.
23. I am staying with my prediction made on election night two years ago: Kamala Harris is the Democrat nominee in 2020, and she will be a very formidable opponent for President Trump.