The morning after

In an unsurprising (but disappointing all the same) development, Americans have handed control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats for the next two years.  Republicans, however, have tightened their grip on the Senate, picking up seats there.  My initial thoughts:

  • Pelosi, Waters and their crew will use their restored subpoena power to make the administration as miserable as possible until 2021.  Buckle up for the ugliness.  That said, Democrats are probably regretting the precedents Obama’s administration set of ignoring such requests from Congress.  Trump won’t have forgotten that.  What goes around…
  • Retaining control of the Senate means the administration can continue building what may be Trump’s most enduring legacy: resetting the Judiciary by appointing judges who view the Constitution through an ‘originalist’ lens and are less likely to engage in policy direction by judicial fiat.  The impact of these appointments will be felt for decades.
  • There will be no funding for a border wall any time soon, unless Trump tries to coopt Defense Department money through Executive direction.  At the same time, the Senate will be able to prevent Democrats from undoing very much of the last two years (tax cuts, deregulation, etc).
  • There are still strong rumors (especially from the “Q” quarter) that ongoing investigations into prominent Democrats may soon yield indictments and the full declassification of the FISA court shenanigans.  One theory is that Trump held off pulling the trigger on these so as to avoid accusations of politicizing the investigations during an election cycle.  If true, that’s likely a wise move.  It also means the Democrats may soon be more on the defensive than their win of the House would normally indicate.
  • It will be instructive to see what independent counsel Robert Mueller’s next move is.  He, too, is said to have held back during the election season.  With that over, I suspect he’ll be under increasing pressure from both sides to show his hand and “put up or shut up.”

In short, while disappointing, I don’t yet see last night’s results as a full-blown disaster.  As many pundits noted, the President’s party usually loses seats in Congress during his first midterm election.  There is one ominous thing to point out, however.  Overall the Democrats ran a much more openly leftist/globalist agenda this cycle… and they still picked up considerable support.  That a candidate like Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke could challenge Ted Cruz so strongly in Texas is not a good long-term signal.  Nor is having Florida’s gubernatorial and Senate races within a percent of each other.  (Related note: the vast majority of Beto’s funding came from outside Texas, something that in my mind should be prohibited.  Residents of one State have no business trying to buy elections in another one.)  We are a deeply divided nation with two incompatible worldviews vying for dominance through government force.

Demography and the long-term effects of leftist indoctrination in our education system are having the intended effects.  That’s why this Trump period is so important.  So far it has been the only successful push back against the Left’s “long march” of the past three decades.  But unless traditional Americans break the lock the globalists have on the education of the next generation, it’s only a matter of time before an ignorant population rejects the birthright their ancestors worked so hard to achieve.

“When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”  Adolph Hitler, May 1937

Sauce for the goose…

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has some sage advice for those on the Left who both want to have a “living Constitution” and block the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch: “Be careful what you ask for, because you won’t like it if you get it.”

He has a point.  One reason for Leftism’s steady march to ascendancy is that they play fast and loose in the courts with the meaning of the Constitution (even its most clear sections), whereas Conservatives (so far…) are loathe to use the judiciary as activists for change.  Reynold’s point is that Gorsuch is an ‘originalist’ when it comes to the Constitution, not a proponent of a “living document” that changes over time, and the Left should be glad for that.

Otherwise, they potentially would face a swift judicial rollback of their most cherished victories over the Framers’ original intent during the past 50 years:

During the New Deal era, the Supreme Court — after being threatened with “court packing” by FDR — endorsed a massive expansion of governmental power on the ground that it would lead to greater efficiency in the economy. Instead, we got a bloated bureaucracy with serious accountability problems, and a disastrous expansion in spending, regulation and federal debt. Based on this experience, I can imagine a conservative justice who sees the Constitution as a “living breathing organism” that must be kept in tune with the needs of the day deciding that the New Deal Court’s decisions were mistakes that violate the Constitution, and must now be rolled back.

To be honest, there is one point about this with which I disagree with the Instapundit.  A truly “originalist” court would indeed roll back much of the New Deal, because it was recognized even at the time as a fundamental transformation of the relationship of the Federal Government to the States and the People… one that clearly violated the Constitution on several grounds.  Rather than fight activist legislating from the bench with more of the same, however, it would be far better to undo these poor decisions via Congress, so long as the judiciary would let stand changes clearly rooted in the original meaning of the Constitution.

Reynolds’ main point is sound, though: the Supreme Court needs to get back to a strict constructionist view of our charter, rather than blow hot and cold (or Left and Right) with the prevailing political winds.  If Gorsuch is confirmed and succeeds in tacking the court that direction, it will bode well for the future.