Finally, the first test of Trumpism is upon us. We have all been awaiting this day for 2 years.
So what should we expect?
Will the Blue Wave come crashing ashore?
Will it peter out and only create a little ripple?
Or, will the wave, in fact, turn out to be red?
To be honest, I have no idea. I would not bet a dime on any of the scenarios. That is how insanely divided things are right now. It really reminds me of Wisconsin during the contentious period after 2010 and through the recall election in 2012 and beyond, continuing even today.
Wisconsin was, and still is, nearly evenly divided. This makes it very difficult to predict how any election is going to turn out. It really only depends on which side can do a better job of getting their respective voters out to the polls. In Wisconsin, the Democrats were absolutely convinced that Walker would be defeated in the recall election. They could not imagine how people could vote for him after doing all of the awful things that he had done (taking on the unions, mainly). He was an incompetent, uneducated, Koch puppet and anyone who voted for him was a fool, according to the Democrats. And they were convinced that the vast majority of Wisconsin agreed with them.
Then Walker won the recall election and the Democrats were utterly devastated. In the process of it all, they handed Walker a mandate…an undeniable approval of everything he had done and planned to do. In other words, the entire thing backfired on them. But did they learn any lessons from it? Not really. They have simply doubled-down on their progressive policy positions and the result was Trump winning Wisconsin. Of course, that’s what happens when the electorate is so evenly divided…when one side loses in a very tight race, it’s difficult to see how a massive overhaul of their positions would help at all. Instead, they believe they just need to hold the same positions, but work a little harder to get out the vote.
And round and round we go. Tomorrow night, we may learn that the Democrats finally defeated Walker in another tight race. And then the cycle will repeat itself.
Our friend, David Leach, at The Strident Conservative, has an article out today called Declaration of (Voting) Independence for the 2018 midterm.
David argues that conservatism cannot win in tomorrow’s election. This is a point that I agree with, because conservatism is not on the ballot. The choices on the ballot are to double-down on Trumpism or vote for Democrats. David writes:
As I wrote a week ago, conservatives will lose tomorrow regardless of which party comes out on top because this election really is a referendum on Trump and the GOP. And to paraphrase Daniel 5:27, they have been weighed; they have been measured; and they have been found wanting.
He then includes a list of concepts pushed by the political parties that he chooses to reject, calling it the Declaration of Voting Independence. It’s worth a read.
I worry that many here are investing too much hope in Trumpism being handed a huge defeat tomorrow night and may be setting themselves up for a very devastating night, much like the Democrats did in Wisconsin in 2012. I would caution against that. The political situation is just too volatile to put any faith into anything at this point.
If I was forced to take a guess, I’d agree with the general consensus that the Democrats will probably take the House, but not the Senate. Under my stated preference in last week’s editorial, I’d like to see the House be devastatingly lost to the Democrats while having the Republicans barely retain the Senate. Again, the idea is to smack some sense into the Republicans in order to show them that Trumpism is NOT the way forward, while not handing the Democrats enough power to actually do much damage themselves. This is not a strategy to vote for the lesser of two evils. Rather, it is a strategy to put a check on both of the two evils, at least for the next two years. Hopefully some form of sanity will return during that period.
That said, I think it’s just as likely that the Democrats will take the House in a manner that is not unusual at all for midterm elections. If that is the case, the Republicans will not learn anything from it. They will simply claim that it was inevitable that the opposing party would gain seats during the midterm, as they usually do, and this year proved no different. No need to blame Trumpism, in particular, will be the accepted talking point.
In the unlikely event, but still entirely possible, that the Republicans retain the House as well as the Senate, then there will be no stopping the Trumpism on steroids that will follow. Trump will be viewed as a political genius who was able to overcome the usual midterm losses that almost every President experiences. His narcissism and God complex will have been validated and will grow exponentially, bolstered by yet unseen levels of praise and adulation from his sycophantic minions. He and the Republicans will see it as a huge mandate to continue the crapshow we have been living for the past two years. And yes, that will be devastating to many of us, as we realize how bad that will be for the Republic that we love.
But I ask you to be prepared for such an outcome and not let it be a completely unexpected, unfathomable event.
It could happen.
As we gather here tomorrow night to watch the returns and discuss them (as we hope you will), let’s keep all of that in mind.
The question then becomes, what do we do from there?
Essentially, no matter which scenario occurs, my answer does not change from the answer I gave in last week’s editorial about what we should be doing during all of this political poopshow. I provided a list of ten things:
- Turn off the hyper-partisan purveyors of outrage-politics (Rush, Hannity, Levin, Tucker, Ingraham, Pirro, etc.).
- Conscientiously seek out news from multiple sources, even (and especially) from those that you believe are biased towards the political side you disagree with.
- Limit the amount of news you obtain from the analytical/commentary branch of the news and only read/view this type of coverage after you have a good grasp of the topic from the multiple hard news sources.
- Learn about the basic principles that were used as a basis for the creation of our Constitution and our unique form of self-government.
- Learn about our Constitution.
- Learn about the form and structure of our government.
- Learn about basic economics.
- Make a strong effort to encourage everyone in your sphere of influence to join you in this learning.
- Join a local community organization…one that is non-political, but likely to have members of all political stripes.
- Reject the divisive politics of outrage and make a conscience effort to always remain civil and respectful in all political discussions.
In the coming days, I plan to write more extensively on each of these points. I hope that you will join me in developing a reasoned approach to working ourselves out of this mess.