The reaction to last night’s election results has been mostly along the lines of “so much for that big blue wave we were promised,” but at least the Democrats took back control of the House. The former isn’t entirely wrong, although there were so many bright spots at the state level, but the latter is cold comfort in its purest form.
The Democrats needed 218 seats to take the House, where Nancy Pelosi will almost certainly be elevated to Speaker. As it currently stands, the party has 220 seats to the Republicans 193, meaning they’ve crossed that critical threshold by a measly two seats. Overall, The New York Times’ tally—again, there are still races that haven’t been called yet—puts the Dems’ gains at 27 seats. That’s hardly even in spitting distance of their forecasted gains which, depending on who you wanted to listen to, ranged from somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 seats to as many as 60. But still, they won.
Things get much darker when you look at the Senate, the dominion of Chuck Schumer. The Republicans were always expected to keep their majority, but Schumer’s party managed to actually lose ground: Sen. Claire McCaskill fell to Josh Hawley in Missouri, Joe Donnelly lost in Indiana, and Heidi Heitkamp was voted out in North Dakota. We couldn’t have the Beto O’Rourke victory in Texas that we were pining for—another six years of Ted Cruz forcing his college debate team captain smarm on us all—so we were forced to celebrate far-too-close wins by awful Democrats like New Jersey’s Bob Menendez, an avatar of old school corruption, in New Jersey and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who supported Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.
There will be plenty of time for other outlets to dissect turnout demographics and rake voters (and non-voters) over the coals, but I favor another approach: blame those at the top. Lop off the head of this beast. Make getting Schumer and Pelosi out of their respective chambers a priority, now.
In her “victory” speech last night at the DCCC—an organization so out of touch and self-indulgent that they were reportedly blasting “Fight Song” before the returns came in last night—Pelosi had the gall to call the blue trickle a “new day in America,” a phrase which, on Wednesday morning, was true only in the most literal sense. Things did not improve from there: Pelosi vowed to “strive for bipartisanship” and, even worse, hyped something called the “bipartisan marketplace of ideas.” This is the next House Speaker’s idea of a victory speech; this is the elected official charged with leading the Democrats into battle once more. Trump and the Republicans will continue to stoke white America’s fear of a black and brown country until they stop drawing breath, but at least we’ll be armed to hilt with uh, the “bipartisan marketplace.” We could all find ourselves in one internment camp or another and there will be Nancy Pelosi, still asking for civility and compromise in this moment of adversity. It’s nice to have one singular thing to count on from her, and it’s obvious that she’s not the person who should be in charge going forward.
All of this comes before this terrible duo takes the stage again to show us more of the same. They have nothing new to offer. Pelosi in particular wants Republicans to know she’s open to horse trading—that’s how things work in Washington!—before she’s even officially in power, but we can also expect the added flavor of any move Pelosi does makes dying in the Republicans’ Senate.
Setting aside their individual political ills, which we’ve documented at length on this site and are so numerous that they’d require posts all their own, Pelosi and Schumer have failed time and time again to resist the Trump administration’s agenda in meaningful ways. They were left sputtering over the president’s recent gesture at doing away with birthright citizenship, they’ve let Trump judges slide on through, they bumbled about, issuing fiery statements while immigrant children were being kept in cages, until the administration finally tweaked the policy so people would stop being mad and forget all about it.
This morning, their latest failures are laid bare for all to see: They are the top-ranking members of their party and are responsible for its (increasingly rare) wins and monumental losses. Both are hailed as Politics Geniuses with decades of experience pulling the levers of power behind the scenes and using their high profiles to be tireless fundraisers for the Democrats. But what good is all that when they can’t satisfy their most basic mandates? It’s depressingly stunted, futile, and useless, just like both of them. Get rid of them.