We know an elderly attorney who once philosophized, “When I was a young prosecuting attorney, I lost some cases I should have won. But once I’d gained experience, I won some cases I should have lost. So, on balance, justice was served.”
Which may be a good way to look at the mid-term election results: While the body politic may not be healed, we do appear to be in a kind of remission. By half. (Maybe less.) Maybe not OK yet, but appearing to lean in that direction. If you squint.
If you’re a Democrat, you probably feel healthier, having picked up the House. But you lost seats in the Senate. And you learned why the Stormy Daniels affair is not hurting Trump: “Cathouse” TV star and brothel owner Dennis Hof stormed to Republican victory in the Nevada Legislature — a few weeks after being found dead. No matter what your feelings about prostitution, you’ve got to admire Hof’s pluck and audacity, which appear to pass for Republican political qualifications this year. And if you’re a Democrat, you’ve been given additional evidence there is nothing more important to Republicans than TV stardom, which is more respected even than previous minimum requirements, such as good character and being alive.
But whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you elected more women to government office than at any other time in our nation’s history. And we all should be proud of the republic that so diverse a group of women were elected, including hijab-observant Muslims, Latinas, African-Americans, Native Americans (one gay, one straight), Koreans and even a few white women. They join more than 100 women representatives and senators and a governor, more than at any other time in our history. (So much for Trump’s denigration of religious and racial minorities and cackling about nationalist supremacy while cozying up to Troglodytes hunkering out of the sun in the Aryan Nation.)
In Florida more than a million former felons will get back their voting rights, but in California two re-elected Republican House members may join the ranks of the felons because they are under indictment for various crimes. Meanwhile, in Georgia, a voter suppressionist and white male bigot became governor of a state where the future voting rights of blacks would more likely have been assured had the African-American Democrat won. Stacy Adams refused to do the lady-like thing and concede the election until all the votes by all the people who were permitted by her opponent to vote had been counted.
Central California Republicans got to keep Rep. Devin Nunes, but there is a lot Nunes won’t keep (like chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a perch from which he practiced notorious Trump-supporting party politics). And New York Republicans re-elected a representative indicted by the federal government for insider trading (because lining one’s pockets is not so much a scandal for New York Republicans).
If you're a Utah Republican, you elected Mitt Romney to the Senate. And if you are one of the three or four Utah Democrats scattered across the state, you watched Romney immediately become one of the few Republicans to support the Muller investigation. (Take that, Donald Trump, for embarrassing our favorite carpet bagging son!)
The mid-term election provides more to amuse and encourage than we have seen in a two-year wait. And if you still are given to the neurological condition identified by the AMA as “Democrat Rage,” take deep breaths, because Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere (at least, not right away).
In other words, we’re still America, and we’ve got a whole new opportunity to make us great again.
Robert Rees teaches religion at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
Clifton Jolley is a writer and president of Advent Communications in Ogden.