Friday, November 30, 2018

The Blue Tide

Election day finally came and even though there were disappointments, I found myself feeling better and better as the days turned into weeks. Taking over the house, the Dems look to gain 40 seats.  Democrats also gained 250 seats in state legislatures.  They took functional control of seven legislative chambers while the Rs only took control of the Alaska House.

All in all, Dems won over 53.4% of the vote and the Rs got  44.8%.  This margin of  9.7 million votes  is greater than the 8.6 million vote victory after the Nixon resignation in 1974.

And even though the Dems captured an equal margin of Senate votes, Republicans gained 2 seats. But they lost Arizona and Nevada, thus making the  populated West more and more blue.  Democrats are now the party of choice in our populated areas where Republicans are the party of choice for the rural areas.  That gives the R's an advantage in the Senate where North Dakota has the same amount of senators as California.

Dems also gained 7 governorships.

Democrats gained enough seats to deprive Republicans of supermajorities in Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. This will keep Republicans from having enough votes to override the vetoes of Democratic governors in those states.  Meanwhile, Democrats achieved supermajorities for themselves in seven chambers.

So, don't spend any mental energy debating whether or not this was a wave.

It  clearly was and is a Blue Tide. Which I think is a better metaphor.

And we should be grateful that Nancy Pelosi will soon be third in line to the presidency.

Here in Texas, we watched Beto raise almost 70 million dollars in his close loss to his sneering McCarthy look-alike opponent, but his excitement brought down-ballot dividends.  Even in  Red (neck) Texas, all of the large cities are are now blue. Ed Emmett, the 11 year incumbent Republican county judge in Houston, lost to a 27-year-old newcomer named Lina Hildager. And Dems won a host of real judges.

Democrats in Houston won all 59 seats that were on the ballot leaving only Democrats on the bench in civil, criminal, family, juvenile and probate courts.

At the state level, Democrats flipped 12 seats, bringing their numbers in the House to 67 in a House where 76 votes brings control. Dems also gained seats in the Senate. In the  judiciary though, Texas Dems cleaned up flipping the four influential state appeals courts that serve Austin, Houston and Dallas.  Democrats now hold majorities on seven of the 14 appeals courts.  Before the election, they held seats on just three.

And finally, Democrats flipped two congressional seats, returning the 7th district to the Democratic column since it was first flipped to the R's with George H W Bush in the late sixties. And veteran Pete Sessions was retired by Colin Alred.

If you are a real geek, check out the Tribune for actual semi-offical numbers.

So even as POTUS in his usual reality challenged way tried to whistle through his election day graveyard, that Russian thing just keeps unfolding like a Venus fly-trap.  Here is what we know thanks to Axios.

  • We now know several Russian officials reached out to a half-dozen Republicans very close to Trump and his campaign, including his eldest son, his closest adviser, his lawyer and his campaign manager. We now know they took the meetings, often enthusiastically, during and after the campaign. 
  • We now know Russia offered in those chats campaign assistance — “synergy,” they called it. We now know no one around Trump alerted the FBI of this effort to subvert our elections. 
  • We now know that 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted for hacking the DNC and systematically releasing material for the purpose of hurting the Clinton campaign via WikiLeaks. 
  • We know that Trump associates Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi attempted — successfully, in some instances — to get in touch with WikiLeaks and that they are under investigation for whether they had advance knowledge about the email dumps.
  • We now know Donald Trump Jr. and others took a meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. We now know Don Jr., when approached with the promise of dirt, wrote: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
  • We now know Trump was negotiating a Trump property in Moscow during the presidential campaign — and hid this from the public and lied about it. We now know Mueller believes, based on his court filing, the “Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government.”
  • We now know every arm of the U.S. intelligence community concluded Russia sought to systematically influence the election outcome. We now know this was an unanimous conclusion, save one dissent: Trump. 
  • We now know Trump officials continued talking with the Russians during the post-election transition. We now know Jared Kushner and Jeff Sessions failed to initially disclose any contacts with Russians on their government forms. 
  • We now know Jared Kushner suggestedsecret backchannel with the Russians, which had it happened, would have been free of U.S. eavesdropping.
  • We now know Trump soured on FBI director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House counsel Don McGahn in part over their handling of the probe. 
  • We now know Paul Manafort, who ran the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, lied about his Russia contacts, was indicted and is going to jail.
  • We now know Flynn lied about his Russian contacts, was fired and pleaded guilty, after agreeing to become a key witness in the investigation.
  • We now know Cohen lied about his Russian contacts, was indicted and then flipped to become a key witness against Trump. 
A friend of mine told me over Thanksgiving that he only gives this administration another six months before it falls under the enormous weight of its own corruption, the unending lies, the incompetence, and its treacherous use of a foreign power to gain power.

I took the bet.

And will hope that a luminescent Blue Tide returns in 2020.

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