Democrats will win back at least the House of Representatives in the November midterms. Here’s why:
Don’t believe me; believe history. The president’s party nearly always loses seats in the midterms. Since 1862 it has lost 32 seats on average in the House (Dems only need 24) and at least two in the Senate (that would do nicely). Only twice (1934 and 2002) did the president’s party actually gain seats in both the House and the Senate.
The reason for this is pretty straightforward. After two years of constantly hearing from and about the new president and seeing many of his policies enacted, Americans begin to perceive a lopsidedness in governance and act in the most direct way they know how to even things up: by voting to strengthen the president’s opposing party in the midterms.
Since their days of reciting history lessons and singing along with “Schoolhouse Rock,” Americans have learned to believe deeply in the concept of balanced government as laid out by the founders and their own sacrosanct role in ensuring it.
Particularly in strange times (any argument there?), Americans become wary and uncomfortable when one party — one point-of-view about the way the world works — is given too much sway. They watch with increasing suspicion as opposing ideas that often make good sense to them are cast aside for reasons that seem more about amassing and retaining power than serving the people. And it makes them itchy for the polling booth.
But there’s an even bigger reason Dems will win in the midterms (get ready for all-caps): AMERICANS NEVER EXPECTED TRUMP TO BE ELECTED PRESIDENT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Alright, righties, freak out. Now settle down and think about it. Nearly every voting poll at the time gave Hillary a 90+% chance of winning the presidency. Ask Trump himself, who has repeatedly stated that no one thought he would win. One look at his shell-shocked face on election night is all the confirmation anyone needs. Even the talking heads over at Fox News would involuntarily break up with laughter on the rare instances someone would suggest Trump could possibly best Hillary (do a YouTube search).
And that’s the mindset the vast majority of Americans took into the polling booth. Even if they ended up marking their ballot for Trump as a sort of anti-Hillary protest vote, they made dead-certain that the House and Senate would be in the hands of the opposing party as a countervalent to what was universally expected to be a Hillary win.
And now Americans see their suspicions confirmed about what happens when one party gets too much power: increasingly rigged voting districts and greater polling restrictions, the privatization of public lands for private gain, the crippling of the EPA, tax cuts which brazenly favor the wealthy, laws which encourage financial predation, the return of crippling health care costs, and on and on.
And let’s not forget the turning of a blind eye to obvious Russian meddling in the 2016 election while demanding that the investigation into that meddling needs to be wrapped up NOW.
BTW, sports fans, let’s check the big board for the current scores, shall we?:
The Hillary Email Scandal: TWO years, ZERO arrests
The Benghazi Investigation: FOUR years, ZERO arrests
The Russia Investigation: 14 months, FIVE guilty pleas and NINETEEN indictments
Even more, Americans see a man in the Oval Office unhesitating in using the awesome powers of the presidency to skirt the rule of law in ways even the founders could never have imagined, enabled by a House and Senate of his own party which enable his misdeeds rather than assert their constitutional role as a check on his power. A party willing to burn down the building to toast their own bread. A party which used to stand for decency and honor that is now trapped in an ugly cycle of corruption and self-dealing.
And it outrages and sickens nearly every citizen.
The Dems will win in the midterms because Americans historically insist on the balance of powers laid out in our beloved Constitution — something they believed they were doing in the first place when they favored Republicans over Democrats in the House and Senate to offset what was almost universally predicted to be a Hillary win.
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BTW, on an only somewhat unrelated note, consider taking a break from superhero movies and go watch one about a real-life superhero of an entirely different sort. A man who can wash away mountains of hopelessness and despair with the power of his voice and who stands up to greed and evil with a loving smile. In theaters now, “Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word,” is glorious.
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Multiple award-winning author Charles Carr writes and edits for many of So Cal’s best-known publications. Carr is also a noted playwright whose next show is in pre-production at the California Center for the Arts. Contact him at www.charlescarr.com.