I've decided not to listen to or read an news until tomorrow morning. I can't stand the manipulation like I used to.I stayed up long enough to see the rural returns come in and seemingly throw the vote to Cruz by the slenderest of margins (which expanded to 51% v. 48%), and while I suspect there are still votes to be counted that will narrow that margin again, it won't be enough.
This is going to be a long, hard and dangerous fight, at best.
Ah, well, it was nice while it lasted.
As Chuck Todd pointed out, a few decades back control of the House flipped by 60 votes or, not just over 30. That doesn't mean the country is more Trumpian than ever, but that is as divided in its politics as it was in the '30's and '40's (times we remember as FDR bestriding the country like a Colossus. Yeah, we remember it that way because no one is alive now who remembers it at all. It's history to all of us, and history has a way of flattening out and being wrinkle free that makes us despair of the rumpled bedclothes of the present, the Gordian knot of our constant contentions over what to make of the future.)
I'm sorry Beto O'Rourke lost because he seemed like a genuinely good person interested in doing good. I'm not sure the Senate would have allowed him the rein his campaign ads promised. Ted Cruz will be a reliably conservative vote in the Senate, but he won't be much more. Just because he won re-election doesn't mean he won a personality, too. It's Texas, I've learned to live with disappointment in my politics. I don't like it, but I live with it. I remember when government actually did things. Despite the professed interest of so many in voting line interviews to see change and a return to government that functions rather than fights over the color of the toilet paper in the Senate bathrooms, we get what we vote for. And in these times, for whatever reasons (maybe it's just something as American as violence and cherry pie), we insist on voting against the interests of each other; which means we end up voting against our own interests.
But that seems to be where we are, and to some degree, what we want.
On the other hand, Democrats are taking governorships in places like Kansas tonight (Kris Kobach's political career seems to have been wished into a Kansas cornfield after all). Several formerly GOP House seats in Texas went Democratic; almost all the local government offices of Harris County, the most populous in the state, went to Democrats. We'll see what these shifts in political power portend. Maybe, in the long run, it's better that Democrats regain authority at local levels, the better to influence the future. Donald Trump thinks he won because the Senate didn't flip (few reasonable projections said it would) and because he can run against the House. As Nicole Wallace sensibly pointed out to the crowned heads of NBC punditry who all read this as somehow a Trump success (she also pointed out the White House was "reverse engineering" Trump's impact, as he only went to states where GOP Senators were expected to win; the NBC pundits took his presence as proof he had secured those states for the GOP) and surely he would stand on the back of the Democratic House and call his troops to victory: Donald Trump would run against his pet, if he had one.
Yes, it seems the rural areas of the country turned out for Trump and his ilk. But the city mouse and the country mouse of America have seldom been more than kissing cousins. America has alternately celebrated and denigrated its urban areas, in direct relation to whether it saw the countryside as benighted and or bucolic, so we're still on that seesaw. 60 years ago Texas was primarily a rural state; today it is primarily urban. On the map tonight only the urban areas, except for districts running down to the border, are blue. But it was always going to take more than one high turnout election to really effect the change I would hope for; and while I hoped it had happened this time regardless, it seems it didn't.*
On the other hand, a lot of Republicans at the state level who took their wins for granted have learned to sweat for victory, and learned they don't have quite so solid majorities at their backs as they might have imagined. And that will be a good thing.
Small steps; and never mistake the fight for the struggle, the battle for the war. Victory is always reversible. Progress is always a journey, not a resting place. May tomorrow show us our hope is never extinguished, and our care and concern is never wasted.
*As I write, the Texas Tribune shows 54% of precincts reporting, of which only 79 of 1013 in Harris County (most populous) have reported, and there O'Rourke has 57% of the vote. The O'Rourke vote is concentrated in the major urban counties and a portion running due south to the border from San Antonio (itself almost due south of Austin, if that helps you non-Texans). The call is being made based on polls, not on numbers, so it may still be too early, especially since the counties going for O'Rourke have barely started to report their vote counts (and, as I watch, O'Rourke's numbers are edging up, no longer down). Keep hope alive, whistle past the graveyard, but who knows? Probably tomorrow morning I will find nothing has changed, but right now? Who knows? Beto hasn't conceded yet.
Tomorrow is soon enough to know. Let's face it, if he loses, life goes on the same; if he wins, life goes on the same, except we get a victory dance. One outcome is better than the other, but neither is going to change the world next year. Except the world would be a little brighter, for at least a day. Maybe we should work on that ourselves, and stop blaming others for the darkness.