As you probably know by now, the Democrats managed to flip the House of Representatives on Tuesday. They fell short of achieving some of their wildest blue wave fever dreams, in the disappointing defeats of Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, and a handful of others. But considering the gerrymandering and widespread voter suppression, notably Georgia’s Brian Kemp being able to oversee his own election in a district where voter ID laws are so strict that Kemp’s own voter ID card was initially tagged invalid (which, if this were a movie, would’ve been the moment where everyone realized the jig was up and good prevailed)… the Dems did pretty well.
The deck was stacked against them and we all knew it. Still, they managed a national popular vote margin of +9.2%, the largest since 2008. Meanwhile, in Florida, a state that Republicans swept, voters approved an amendment to give the vote back to more than a million people with prior convictions for felonies — a group that had previously encompassed 17.9% of the total black voting age population. And this in a state where most of the races are being decided by less than 100,000 votes. Which is to say, it might have swung the election, and could swing future ones.
Likewise, Maryland and Nevada passed measures to allow for automatic and same-day voter registration. Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah took steps to take the drawing of district lines out of the hands of partisan state legislatures.
Meanwhile, voters in deep red states like Idaho and Utah voted to expand Medicaid, proving something we already knew — that public healthcare is more popular than any politician. A recent poll showed 70% of Americans in favor of Medicare for all, including 52% of Republicans. It is the very definition of “a winning issue.”
All of which is to say… there’s reason not to be too disappointed. It’s probably not enough to save us from the most dire of climate change predictions or the march of global fascism, but, you know, we did get a few tiny crumbs of hope. And hopefully, strong leadership would be able to build on some of it. So what did the actual current leadership have to say?
“We believe that we have a responsibility to seek common ground where we can,” Pelosi said Wednesday afternoon. “Openness and transparency, accountability [and] bipartisanship [are] a very important part of how we will go forward.”
Ah yes, “common ground” and “bipartisanship.” That was why we all came out to vote, right? That’s why the second frame of the “voting in 2016 vs. voting in 2018” meme always showed a character in the 2018 picture reaching across the aisle to shake hands.
Of course, Pelosi delivered this message after Trump had sent troops to the border to “defend” America from an imaginary “invasion” threat days before the election and aired a racist commercial about a Mexican cop killer that wasn’t even true during Sunday Night Football. They’re not even dog-whistling anymore. They’re not even pretending to dog whistle. And you’re preaching compromise? Pelosi and the Dem leadership have never been particularly bold, but this feels like a new low of tone deafness, even for them.