By Sadhana Seelam
These past few months, over the predictions of enthusiastic Democrats proclaiming a Blue Wave, Bernie Sanders tried to tamp down the euphoria and predicted a 'Blue Trickle' instead. On the other hand, David Brooks, NYT right wing columnist, labeled it a 'Blue Ripple.' Perhaps with the flips that occurred in favor of the Democrats, I'd venture to dub it the Blue Wavelet. After eight fraught years, the Democrats retake the House.
When Pat Sajak, the host of the popular game show, Wheel of Fortune, finds that all players have won some amounts, he's happy because the spoils of the night have been distributed fairly. These mid-term election results in the US offer the same perspective—the night belonged to all who wish to claim a win. Trump in his White Tower, lapped up the news of Republican Senate wins and promptly took credit.
The ultimate loser however, could end up being the American people, because nothing will happen from now until 2020 with everyone hedging their bets and playing poker. Accomplishing anything or attempting to accomplish anything can be a dicey game for both parties. Neither party will feel compelled to appear to forsake its base before 2020.
Any such 'making nice' with the enemy moves will be construed as betrayal by the party faithful on each side. So the end result, could likely be a status quo for two years, with not much happening. This, despite Trump's early assertions that he wishes to work with Pelosi and her cohorts. If the newly elected Democrats appear like they want to work with Trump, it will seem treasonous to their base. Trump's supporters will feel betrayed if he extends the olive branch, for his part. That's the state of the United States of America.
During campaigning season, at one of his rallies, Trump told his adoring audience, "Can you imagine saying Speaker Pelosi?" This prefix had the desired effect because it is anathema to his followers. It resulted in loud boos, whipping up fervor to engage Republicans to vote in the mid-terms. Nancy Pelosi with her sophistication and depth makes the likes of John Boehner, the Republican opposition representative, look like young adults lining up to get their driver's licenses, anxious, unsure and still awaiting a growth spurt.
Yet, the Senate predictably lined up with Trump's party. By the way, they need to rename the Republican Party if the Republicans feel disoriented in their own party and have to pussyfoot around in a coin toss of either favoring the President and sending a prayer up to not be punished for it or, risking it and not winning. It's a mixed bag, with a damned if you do, damned if you don't option. Apparently, Trump's frequent visits to some states and his blitzkrieg across three states in the last couple days did help boost his party's wins.
Fear-mongering surely helped. People can place bets on Trump's read of the electorate's fears and harping on them, 'The caravans are coming from the south, filled with drug dealers..' The media, like sheep of course, made the journey down south to accompany those caravans and report their stories, however unwittingly, colluding with Trump's ploy. Trump got the advantage of sucking all the headlines up with his promise to send five thousand, then ten thousand then fifteen thousand troops to 'defend the border.'
It will be interesting to see what happens to Caravan Coverage from tomorrow.
Some heartache moments were for Beto O'Rourke, losing somewhat narrowly (all things considered) to Ted Cruz, (Trump's lying Ted in 2016, the two kissed and made up this time round, and Trump campaigned for him).. tells you the power of O'Rourke in a reliably Red State. His magnetic draw to the polls propelled the down ballot races, helping some of those key House flips that boosted the Democratic score card. Same story with the Florida Governor's race, with Democrat Andrew Gillum losing narrowly to a Trump favorite, Ron DeSantis.
So, what might some key takeaways be? The is it Blue, Red or Purple question that was dragged through the media, into conversations, emails, tweets, commercials, for a whole year, stayed with the initial prediction, that the Democrats would flip the House.. After a year's worth of breathless campaigning, endless talk shows, and, despite a record $5.1 billion spent, the Democrats did flip House unsurprisingly.
Now, let's count down to 2020 and start betting all over again.
The author is a US-based columnist.