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Midterm Fallout: How the GOP Won and Lost at the Same Time

The highly anticipated 2018 midterms are over, and there’s a lot of lessons for both parties to learn. One thing is certain, however, even for those who don’t pay a whole lot of attention — the reality TV show that has been American politics for the past two years is about to get a whole lot better.

If you’re a conservative who is sick of President Donald Trump constantly getting into screaming matches with members of his own party on the internet, rejoice: the next two years are probably going to be a 24/7 slap fight between Trump and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Let’s begin with an honest assessment: Democratic and Republican voters both came away with something to be happy about on Election Day. Democrats did indeed sweep the House of Representatives by picking up 34 seats. Granted, it wasn’t the “blue wave” the Democratic leadership was hoping for — far from it. Even though a blue majority in the lower chamber is substantial, this is a far cry from the Tea Party-driven “red wave” in 2010, or the Newt Gingrich revolution of 1994. But, it does put them in a better position. Republicans, on the other hand, expanded their hold on the Senate by picking up 3 seats, which all but ensures that another Brett Kavanaugh-like confirmation debacle won’t happen again.

In the grand scheme of things, Democrats did well. But, it’s worth focusing on which Democrats did well. Outside of the deep blue coasts, hard-left progressives were soundly rejected by American voters. Sure, someone like future Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is fine for New York — mathematic deficiencies aside. At this point, New York Democrats could field an actual donkey and stand a good chance of winning — provided they don’t do it in rural New York, which is actually very red.

But, with the Republican president as unpopular with independents as he is, purple states like Florida should be an easy win — even for idealistic progressives. And despite nearly every single poll indicating it would be, the Trump-endorsed Ron DeSantis was able to pull ahead of the hard-left Andrew Gillum in Florida’s gubernatorial race. The lesson from that is simple: intersectional politics is a losing strategy for Democrats, and appropriating President Trump’s machismo in defending it doesn’t work.

So, Democrats get to set the legislative agenda, and Republicans get to nominate any judge the Heritage Foundation recommends. This is legitimately a win for both parties, in some respect. But politics is more nuanced than that. While the Republican Senate can easily strike down anything the Democratic House throws at it, it can’t stop Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff from coughing up endless subpoenas to slow the Trump Administration down. Not only does this stifle the executive branch’s own agenda — it also turns public attention away from actual policy battles. And this is how the GOP may actually come out on top when all is said and done.

Theoretically, a divided legislature could actually produce reasonable legislation — it happened under the Clinton Administration. Republicans and Democrats have indeed began to come together on certain things — criminal justice reform comes to mind, as does infrastructure spending. But that isn’t going to happen. At the time of writing, Politico is reporting that Democrats are already planning on launching endless investigations into the Trump Administration as soon as the fresh blue faces are sworn in.

So yes, we may get some bad headlines for Trump in 2019. If Pelosi and her pals are successful, we’ll probably see his tax returns, it may turn out that the president isn’t as wealthy as he says he is, and pulled every stunt imaginable to avoid paying as much taxes (duh?) as he may have otherwise. We’ll get the gasps from Anderson Cooper and the late night comedians, who do little else besides retell each other’s jokes at this point. This means nothing in the long term.

By putting themselves in power, the Democratic Party has given Trump new targets — targets that aren’t Jeff Sessions or John Kelly. And, if House Democrats make the mind-numbingly stupid mistake of giving Pelosi back her Speakership, it’s obvious who is going to win this slap fight. Sure, 2020 is a long way away, but Republicans are already in a better position for it.

~ Patriotic Freedom Fighter

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