The 2018 midterm election is finally winding down weeks after the event. As if we needed more reasons to be divided, the incompetence in some areas counting ballots fanned the flames of discord even hotter. In a country depending on its elections to give government legitimacy, Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Florida replay of 2000 mess is just unacceptable. Other places across the country such as Maricopa county in Arizona failed to tally in a timely fashion. We have to do better preserve confidence and avoid the ugliness and lawyers that come from drawn counts and recounts.
Now that we finally have most of the results it’s a good time to ask what did we get for the $5.2 billion spent? We surely haven’t come together. We aren’t any closer to solving major problems. If anything with divided government and the 2020 election looming on the horizon we are even worse off. The few areas where there is any possible agreement between the parties infrastructure and drug prices lean towards an even greater deficits and prices controls. Even on these will the Democrats in the house be willing to give Trump any victories? Will Trump give up the chance to run against a “Do nothing resistance congress” for some small agreements? More likely the gravitational pull in both parties is to greater distance between the two.
In any case, with upwards of thirty possible entrants in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination the emphasis will be on who can take down the hated Trump not on who can work with him. We saw a preview of the lengths some of the possible candidates will go to thwart Trump and gain publicity during the Kavanaugh hearings. Kamala Harris, Corey Booker and Amy Klobuchar all possible entrants in the race couldn’t pass any camera or microphone without denouncing the President’s choice. Facts and due process be dammed. They where hellbent to deny Trump a conservative majority on the Supreme Court and claim the credit. Who will ever forget Booker’s “Spartacus moment”? Now multiply these would be Democratic heroes by ten and you can foresee the pull isn’t in the direction of cooperation. Trump for his part has offered the presumptive Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi Republican votes to seal her getting the job. However, with Nancy’s approval rating even lower than his, he just may want to retain an easy foil rather than battle a fresh more popular opponent. In any case the long ugly counts and recounts shows plenty of animosity between the parties.
How will this will play out going forward? In these midterms the Democrats best issue was healthcare. Trump countered with immigration. One might’ve thought the economy and the Kavanaugh fiasco had wider appeal but Trump put immigration front and center citing the attack of the caravans. Does anyone see either giving up their favorite issues? Therefore nothing will be achieved on these two very important issues. Democrats will put forth a public option which will morph into some variation of “medicare for all.” The Republicans will wander around the edges without making a commitment to a universal market based idea such as “Dave’s Plan” (the plan is available on this site) that would offer the best coverage at the lowest cost. For instance, both parties wrangled over “pre-existing conditions.” Under Dave’s Plan after a period this terminology would cease to even exist. It would never again be a problem. Unless new thinking is allowed in, our healthcare system will continue on its disastrous course. Again it will be a major issue in 2020.
We have long maintained immigration was too valuable to both parties as a means to rally their respective bases to come to a logical resolution. Surely, President Trump anchored his closing arguments in the Midterms on fears of open borders leading us to be overrun with low skilled menacing immigrants. After all, immigration has been his signature issue since he rode the Trump Tower escalator down to announce his presidential run. He isn’t about to make it go away as an issue unless he gets everything he wants including “the Great Wall of Trump”. Fat chance of that with a Democratic house.
With little or nothing being accomplished before 2020, many people will be looking towards that election as a watershed. Based on this year’s results Trump looks vulnerable. He lost the House big by getting trounced in suburban areas across the country. The Republicans lost big in the key industrial of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania so crucial to Trump’s 2016 victory. With a solid economy, the only constant in these loses was Trump himself. He claimed the Republican house members that lost were the one’s not fully embracing him. For instance he said Utah Rep. Mia Love “didn’t show him the love” and that’s why she lost. Well, one of the Major Republican loses was in the Arizona Senate race where Martha McSally clung to Trump while Republican Governor Ducey kept a respectable distance. 17% of voters went for Ducey and then voted for McSally’s opponent. “Eau de Trump” appears to have been a fatal potion for Martha. By the way the last we saw Mia Love was leading in her house race. At the present time Trump not only failed to expand his base but all the signs point it narrowing with the losses among the college educated in the suburbs, especially women and among the working class upper Midwest. This has a lot of people saying Trump is toast.
However, a wise person once said “you can’t beat someone with no one”. In 2016 Trump looked bad until people compared him to Hillary Clinton. There is the rub for the Democrats. Which one of the 30+ faces Trump. Will it be a real cutting edge progressive able to excite base and raise oodles of money or a middle of the roader able to appeal to those working class voters in the upper Midwest that broke for Trump the last time but fires up few in the base? Either way the Democrats give up something and that just might give Trump an opening. Robert “Beto” O’Roake in Texas, Andrew Gullium in Florida and Stacy Adams in Georgia all set the progressive base on fire across the country. They were rewarded with great war chests. (Beto amazingly raised $70 million) They all lost. This year they could run middle of the road candidates in split house districts, many of them women and some with military backgrounds. In 2020 there will be just one person going Mano a Mano with Trump. Possibly the state of the economy at the time will prove decisive but don’t count on it. (By the way what is it with all these Vets running as Democrats, the party that hollowed out the military. It will be interesting to see if they vote for the stuff their former comrades in arms need to survive on the battlefield).
What we do know is these two parties have made no move to solve our major problems nor are they likely to in the future. Trump, “Beto ” or Biden or someone else, the country is failing to confront problems if not resolved could actually sink our nation. That is why we proposed a new “Future Party’ (Series available on this blog) so we might have a future. We think it’s apparent our two dead-end major parties aren’t up to the task. The question has to asked, what did you get for your $5.2 billion or more important what did the USA get? Wouldn’t some of this money have been better spent on giving the nation more choice?