A respite? A win? The beginning of the end?

I was pretty pessimistic about our chances of surviving these midterms.  Not so much because of the messaging coming out of the media but more about listening to all of the democrats I know griping about the state of the democratic party.  I thought our enthusiasm level was just going to set us up for a disaster.  And then there’d be hearings, and gridlock, and endless dismantling of elections and all that was going to be a slow motion two year trainwreck.  But that didn’t happen.  People showed up and voted and did something we haven’t seen in decades.  

Don’t get me wrong.  Even if we lose the house by the 3-4 seats that is likely, but not a given, we only managed to skate past this disaster by margins that are crazy thin.  We probably won the Senate by just less than two hundred thousand votes. And the house will be determined by about the same or less.   Not in each race but all competitive races combined.  This is the skin of our teeth territory. But we did it and that’s great news.  Not because we won the war, but at least we won a battle.  A pretty big battle that will set the Republican agenda back quite a bit.

If they had won both the Senate and the House they would have been on fire and would have gone ahead with everything they’ve been talking about.  Investigating Biden, Biden’s son, Pelosi, Schiff.  They would have been trying to purge the FBI, Homeland Security, you name it, or anyone they thought would not go along with their next steps of ensuring they win the Presidency in 2024 no matter what. But they lost.  So they can’t do that now.  And even if the house tries to do some of it they won’t have the same bite with only a three seat advantage.

And even better, the election denial stuff didn’t stick.  Most candidates haven’t gone there and the ones that have aren’t getting any traction.  Plus, most of the state house elections that had people who promised to rig our future elections have lost. The American electorate actually saw what was going on and stayed focused enough through all of that noise to eek out a win. Like I said not the war, but a battle, and an important battle at that.

And then there’s Trump. Not only has key aspects of Trumpism been chipped away at but it also looks, for now, like Trump is on the way out.  This whole time the Republicans have been beholden to Trump because he holds the base.  But that seems to be fracturing. Sure lot’s people still love Trump and more could easily be persuaded to return to the fold.  But in general it seems like Trump has finally lost control of the base and with that the Fox News apparatus and the Republican party is already starting to publicly denounce him.  The Republican pollster and campaign slime master turned bringer of useful information Frank Lutz held a post election focus group and found that a sizable amount of former Trump voters are saying they won’t vote for him again. The New York Times have been interviewing swing voters for the past couple of years and lately almost every Trump supporter interviewed is done with Trump in politics. They like the guy, they just don’t want to vote for him.

So, unless Trump quickly puts this all to rest we might see a fractured GOP and its news media apparatus fighting it out to wrestle control of the base. A fractured GOP is the best thing that can happen for the next 2 years. Their effectiveness lies mostly with how much they are in lockstep.  Without that they really can’t do nearly as much damage. 

Yes, they’ll regroup. Probably sooner than we think. And yes we’ll be surprised by the sheer audacity of their hypocrisy and the boldness of their actions. But we’re better off than if we had lost and maybe, just maybe, this is a new beginning of stepping back from the abyss. Maybe even Republican voters are just worn out by the crazy and ready to finally return to normal.