26 November 2018

Note From Norm: To The Victors Belongs The Future

By Wednesday the final results of the 2018 Mid-Term Elections should be complete.

Assuming Mississippi’s run-off goes into the GOP win column, Republicans will have a U.S. Senate majority of 53, while Democrats will find themselves with a smaller minority going into the New Year than the one they had prior to Tuesday, November 6th.

Democrats will have successfully gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, winning 38 seats to give it a 32-seat Majority going into the New Year.

While Republicans will still hold a majority of Governor’s Mansions throughout the country, its majority will be smaller – 27 to 23.

Across the country in state legislative races, Democrats did well, but not well enough, to take control of State Legislatures.

Six State Legislatures flipped to Democrats, including in my home state of Minnesota where control of the State House of Representatives went to Democrats.

One State Legislature, Alaska, went to Republicans.

In the end, 62 state legislative chambers are controlled by Republicans, while 37 are controlled by Democrats.

In what is commonly referred to “trifectas” of state government control, Republicans hold 22 of them, versus 14 for Democrats.

In a year in which the one-party mainstream media predicted a massive Blue Wave for Democrats we saw something pretty remarkable:  An unremarkable mid-term election.

It is simple history, if one wishes to spend some time looking into it, that midterm elections are not friendly to the president’s political party.

Typically, there is an average loss of 30 seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate by the political party whose president occupies the White House.

In this year’s midterm elections, Democrats won 38 House Seats, and lost 2 United States Senate Seats for a net gain of 36 seats.

Hardly a Blue Wave.

Let’s see what a “wave” election actually looks like.

Democrats lost 69 seats, 63 in the House and six in the Senate in 2010 while Democratic President Barack Obama lived in the White House.

Republicans lost 36 seats, 30 in the House and six in the Senate in 2006 with Republican President George W. Bush leading the nation.

And, in 1994, Democrats lost 60 seats, 52 in the House and eight in the Senate, while Democrat Bill Clinton was in office.

In 1974, Republicans lost 63 seats, 48 in the House and five in the Senate, while Republican President Gerald Ford was in office.

So, when Democrats, and their allies in the press, trumpet the massive losses suffered by Republicans it is important to keep these things in perspective.

This year’s election was historic, however, for a lot of reasons that had nothing to do with a “Blue Wave.”

Turnout was higher than any midterm election in more than 100 years.

The incoming Congress will be the most diverse in American history, with a record number of women and people of color to be sworn in come January 2019.

January 2019 will see 23% of the members of Congress being female and nearly 27% of Congress being non-white.

The average age of Congress will drop by 10 years in 2019.

All of this is good for America.  The more America reflects its population and the rising generation of new leaders the better for its future.

Every new generation of Americans has its own unique challenges and opportunities.

The new generation of American leaders will have to make choices about how it leads America into the future.

Will it work to strengthen democracy, freedom and liberty by emphasizing policies that protect our borders, encourage economic growth and ensure a strong military and national defense?

Or, will it consume itself with partisan battles and personal political empowerment at the expense of a bigger, broader and more bountiful American future for all Americans?

For both political parties there are warning signs, and welcome signs, in the results of the midterm elections.

Republicans built on their majority in the U.S. Senate and in 2020 have a better than 50-50 chance of regaining control of the U.S. House.

Their greatest challenge will be making sure they recruit strong candidates throughout the country and not leave a single seat uncontested.

Democrats flipped the House, they won Governor’s races and they made inroads in State Legislatures.  There is no denying that demographic changes are benefitting Democrats in some of the nation’s largest metropolitan communities.

But, winning control of government without a coherent governing theme or message other than being against Donald Trump is not likely to serve Democrats well in 2020.

Both political parties, however, share the same challenge for the future.

Neither has broadened their appeal or enlarged their electoral tent in a way that ensures either party has a distinct political advantage for the future.

Significant percentages of America’s electorate are up for grabs in 2020 and beyond.

Both parties must decide if they will continue to focus on base politics and ignore tens of millions of Americans or if they will find a way to create a platform that appeals to disaffected voters.

Whichever party is successful in presenting a future that includes the hopes and dreams of every American will be the party that will be the majority party for much, if not all, of the next decade.

The election is over.

The consequences are just beginning.