At this point, the Democrats appear to have a lead in the House of Representatives of about 30 or 40 members, a relatively small edge in an undisciplined chamber, and the Republicans have purged the NeverTrumpers, led (with his customary uncertainty) by departing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
In the Senate, President Trump has won enough, including the exit of leading NeverTrumpers Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), so the administration’s gain is greater than it looks. Specifically, the new Senate permits the elevation of an unemasculated attorney general who can take charge of the endless silent and irrelevant carnival of Robert Mueller’s investigation, partisan Democratic infestation and sinecure as it is.
It is to the president’s credit that through all the provocations and outrages, he saw the potential worth to him of the Mueller investigation. It has droned on for almost two years, enjoying full cooperation and gradually implicitly acknowledging that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. In the meantime, however, the atomic stink bomb of the Clinton-financed Steele dossier, an artless pastiche of defamatory falsehoods about candidate Trump, has been relentlessly exposed as the chief reason for this unutterably absurd canard of Russian-Trump campaign collusion. (No one ever nominated by a serious American political party would ever have had anything to do with mortgaging an American presidential campaign to a foreign power. The whole concept is almost unimaginably fatuous.)
Democratic supporters appear to have poured into the coffers at least three-fifths of the scandalous $5 billion that was spent on the midterm elections. The national political media continued to be 90 percent hostile, scrambling like muscular salmon completely out of the water to attack the president while he waged the most energetic midterm campaign of any president in history.
Now it is easy to see the disconcertion of the Democrats at their failure to derail Trump. What was left of the pretense that he was somehow not a legitimate president has been shredded, and what the Democrats have taken as their inviolable extra-constitutional right to keep the president’s hands tied while the Mueller-Inspector Clouseau charade carries on into its third year, has been debunked. The silent eunuch attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has finally gone. And now the Justice Department will have the ability to discomfit the Democrats who misrepresented the Steele dossier, used it to obtain false FISA warrants, and who lied to Congress under oath, or to federal officials. This prestigious group appears to include Hillary Clinton, agency chiefs John Brennan, James Clapper, and James Comey, and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. They are all vulnerable to grand jury indictments.
So shaken by the looming end of this one-way shooting gallery are the Democratic faithful that Antifa massed in front of Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s house threatening him, the ineffable Rachel Maddow called for demonstrations in favor of Mueller, and the serried ranks of deranged tele-Dem hacks started agitating noisily for protection of Mueller. CNN’s snappish little attack dog Jim Acosta, tested his constitutional right to turn a presidential press conference into a debate and a filibuster and his accreditation was suspended. For the approximately one-millionth time since the Washington Post started it with the imperishable myth-makers Woodward and Bernstein over Watergate, (they are still in our suffering faces after all these years), CNN issued the ritualistic pious statement about “standing by” Acosta. Mueller is now less than a side-show. He will have to wrap up his inquiry fairly soon and within his original scope, not looking into unrelated questions like whether Trump paid income tax on a gift of Trump-branded underwear in 1999, which seems to be the current level of sleuthing to which the de-Strzoked special counsel has descended.
Trump’s enemies, having not seriously considered a Trump victory two years ago, made the supreme effort to sandbag him this time. Just as they thought he would not be nominated, or elected, or able to escape impeachment for more than a year or so, they hoped to strengthen #TheResistance and NeverTrump coalition that dominated the House and made the Senate so unreliable that John McCain, out of mere spite, could sink health care reform.
Within 24 hours after the last polls closed they saw the departure of Sessions and the specter of their former leaders as the victims being turned on the spit of partisan justice. The Democrats lost no time going to their fallback position of trying to recount Florida ballots single-handedly. The rock was lifted on this skullduggery on Wednesday, as a convicted vote-rigger was discovered to be among those recounting Senate votes in Florida’s Broward county.
None of it is going to work. Pelosi can make a grand bargain and try to negotiate a compromise on infrastructure, health care, and immigration. The reciprocal temptation to impeach and imprison the other side that has, since Watergate, become the apogee of good clean good-natured partisan politics in the United States, can be de-escalated—though the justice and intelligence communities have to be taken to a fearsome woodshed of permanent depoliticization.
It is clear that in their distaste for Trump and overconfidence of a Clinton victory, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Justice department all crossed the double-white line into improper activity, confident that President Hillary Clinton would sweep it under the White House rug. More important than vengeance on the wrongdoers is institutional reform and safeguards to prevent a recurrence. The one step beyond the abuse of the justice and intelligence hierarchies is the politicization of the military, which the founder of the Democratic Party, Thomas Jefferson, spared the country with the creation of West Point to provide the nation a non-political corps of officers. The Clinton campaign and Obama Administration strained the integrity of the entire constitutional system in a manner that is unprecedented in American history. That may not have been their intention, but real and not just vindictive steps must be taken to ensure that such dangers do not recur.
In terms of public mood, the two principal takeaways on the midterm elections are that the Democrats blundered badly when they put all their chips on stopping Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, and the president should modulate his message to be more accessible to suburban women. The Democrats cravenly gambled on #MeToo, and the country, including most women, rallied to the principle of the presumption of innocence, (a concept much beleaguered by rampant American prosecutors who win almost all their cases without trials by their manipulation of the plea bargain system).
The administration and the new attorney general can build on this to produce criminal justice reform, a subject where Trump, the Clintons, and Senator Sanders could all agree. While the Democrats made a mistake embracing radical feminism and conviction by unsubstantiated denunciation, the president will want to set out a better menu for the middle-of-the-road, sensible, successful majority of women. There may be a vital role here for retiring U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. She could do a star turn in the Trump reelection effort, which has already begun, and has had a promising start this past week, in this country of constant, increasingly nasty, and vertiginously expensive political campaigning.
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