flyangler

NO Blue Wave, More Like Purple Puddle

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Glenn Reynolds, aka InstaPundit, in Wednesday's USAToday sums it up pretty nicely, no? 

 

I will be on the lookout for someone to call it the Goldilocks election.

 

Election results 2018: Forget the blue wave and behold the purple puddle

Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate means gridlock. That's a good thing, but it is only a temporary solution.

 

Well, it wasn’t the huge Blue Wave we were promised, a change in Congress on a par with the Tea Party’s “shellacking” of President Obama in 2010, or Bill Clinton’s big midterm losses in 1994. It looks more like a Blue Slosh. Or maybe a Purple Puddle. The Dems regained some ground, but it wasn’t the overwhelming repudiation of Trump and the Republicans they were hoping for.

 

As I write this, it looks as if Democrats will control the House of Representatives by a narrow margin, while the GOP keeps control of the Senate. What does that mean? Gridlock.

 

Is that good? It just might be.

 

The idea that gridlock is good is based on the notion that most of what Congress does is probably bad, and that when Congress can’t do much we’re better off. As Bill Kort wrote in 2017, “Gridlock is good because when Congress is tied up in knots they can’t do anything to hurt us. This idea has been verified by the market many times over the past 25 years.”

 

Gridlock in Congress can be a good thing 

 

Kort notes that the economic boom of the 1990s took place after Bill Clinton was forced to moderate his approach post-1994, and times of government unity often lead to bad decisions. Under divided government, things have to appeal to both parties or they don’t pass. That will take a lot, given how divided the parties are.

 

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that "divided government is the perfect time to do big things." Pointing to Social Security reform in 1983, the 1986 Tax Reform Act, and the Clinton-era welfare reform program, McConnell said “None of those things in my view would have occurred in unified government."

 

There are a lot of things that need to be done, ranging from infrastructure, to trade, to a health care fix that will get us past the Obamacare debacle. They won’t get addressed unless the two parties can come together. I think there’s room for them to work together — and former DNC Chair Ed Rendell was saying the same thing on election night on Fox News. It’ll be interesting to see if President Trump can bring some of his famed “Art of the Deal” skills into play.

 

For Trump, at least, there are some upsides to a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. If, as expected, the leadership consists of people like Nancy Pelosi, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, and Maxine Waters, Trump will have a useful array of foils. He’ll have to balance his desire to use them as convenient enemies in the run-up to 2020, and his need to work with them to produce some sort of legislative achievement. Likewise, the Democrats will have to decide whether to weaponize the House via investigations and subpoenas, or to work with the president. Rendell strongly encouraged the latter, but the party’s Trump-hating base will strongly favor the former. On the other hand, the Trump-hating base failed to produce the promised Blue Wave.

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