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Three Cheers for the Return of Divided Government

Democrats will be able to check the worst parts of Trump's presidency in a way Republicans never would, but will otherwise be very limited.

MIKE THEILER/UPI/NewscomMIKE THEILER/UPI/NewscomDemocrats won the House. Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate.

Votes are still being counted on the West Coast and we won't have the final numbers for the Democrats' new House majority until tomorrow (and possibly longer, depending on recounts), but it looks like the Republicans could end up with 55 of the 100 seats in the Senate.

As election results go, that's about the best possible outcome. Not only that, but it's an outcome that allows, for one night at least, the faintest hope that the crazy train of American politics over the past two years may be slowing to a more sensible pace.

It's been clear for some time now that congressional Republicans were either unwilling or unable—probably both—to be a meaningful check on the Trump administration. Regardless of how you might feel about the Trump's relationship with Russia (or how that relationship might have affected the 2016 election, or the ongoing Mueller investigation), there's no denying that many other aspects of Trump's personal and professional finances deserve more scrutiny than they've received. Beyond that, his expansive and blunt use of of executive power to restrict immigration and impose tariffs deserves oversight from Congress. While Democrats may also be incapable (or unwilling) to grapple with Trump on policy issues, they can be no worse than House Republicans have been.

Meanwhile, the GOP's larger majority in the Senate effectively closes the door to any of the Democrats' more radical policy plans. It means Republicans will be able to confirm additional Trump-appointed judges to the Supreme Court, should another vacancy open up. And it will relieve the pressure on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) to abolish the legislative filibuster—a maneuver that would almost surely be a mistake in the long run, just as Democrats have quickly come to regret doing away with the filibuster for judicial nominations.

Indeed, Republicans in the Senate deserve some praise for the role they've played in constraining Trump during his first two years in office. As Ross Douthat noted last week in the pages of The New York Times, the House had been more "pure, uncut MAGA, more reflexive in its defense of a president whose behavior is often indefensible, more poisoned by the worst Trumpist tendencies."

Even with the loss of senators like the late John McCain (R–Ariz.) and the retiring Jeff Flake (R–Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R–Tenn.)—three Republicans who served as the primary check against a Senate GOP sliding towards Trumpism—the slightly larger majority may give McConnell a freer hand in negotiations with the White House.

The outcome may also cause Democrats to reexamine their leftward lurch. Winning the Senate in two or four years will require the party to appeal to red state voters, which should bolster the party's battered moderate wing. And no, it is unfortunately not too early to be talking or thinking about 2020 or 2022.

The run-up to the 2020 presidential election will begin sooner than anyone really wants—and it will be terrible and divisive and bitter. But in the meantime, a split Congress is the best hope for anyone who's not an unrepentent MAGA-head or outright democratic socialist. Whether American politics are chilling out a little bit or the crazies on both sides are now simply cancelling each other out, a stalemate will be a welcome reprieve.

Already, the talking heads on CNN are worrying about complete gridlock in the wake of tonight's election. But the American people appear to have decided that gridlock is preferrable to allowing Trump to run rampant or handing both chambers to the Democrats.

Neither major party can claim to have a mandate in Washington, D.C., right now. That sounds just fine.

Photo Credit: MIKE THEILER/UPI/Newscom

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  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The Democrats winning the house is bad news. They have had no constructive criticism of Trump for two years, and will waste enormous amounts of time and energy pushing for an Impeachment that will not happen. Whatever anti-Libertarian impulses Trump may have, the Democrats - as the pushers of the Holy State - are worse.

    *sigh*

    Trump may not warm the cockles of your Libertarian heart, but he has done more to rein in bureaucratic overreach than any other President that springs to mind. Having rabid statist toads like the Democrat Establishment in a position to block that is not good.

    For the past two years the Democrats have demonstrated, again and again, that they are all about power. Power to meddle in what is none of their goddamned business. That a Libertarian publication could entertain, even for a moment, that their regaining even a little power is a good thing is depressing.

  • AmosArch||

    Please please...impeach trump dems...you know you want to.

  • Gozer the Gozarian||

    Why the fuck would any sane person want one party to have all the power. The last two election cycles where that happened it was a fucking disaster.

    Let these narcissistic pukes duke it out. Nothing's going to get done except more bureaucracy, more waste, and an accelerated path towards the bankruptcy of the US.

    Lemmings don't fix problems, they cause them like any other pestilence. And I am of course referring to the American voter.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    Democrats already have the bureaucratic apparatus - look at the voting patterns in Washington DC and the nearby suburbs. So even if the Republicans had Congress and the presidency, they would still have had to deal with a hostile bureaucracy.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Toadocracy.

  • Kivlor||

    Why the fuck would any sane person want one party to have all the power.

    IKR? That's why I'm a monarchist.

  • Gozer the Gozarian||

    As long as I'm king, I'm cool with that.

  • Enemy of the State||

    It is indeed good to be the king:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z8SpgmF0sA

  • Liberty Lover||

    I couldn't agree more. I have always said, you may hate the opposition party, but be grad they are there. Name me one country that is a paradise with one party rule? Total power totally corrupts. Even your preferred party will go off the deep end without opposition. Gerrymandering has led to these fringe nutcases trying to gain power on both sides. Now the two parties will have to work together, or they will get nothing done, and that is okay with me too. It is not like we need more legislation.

    Even Pelosi does not want to impeach Trump. It will be a stupid move by the Democrats and they can't win as they can only bring charges, the Senate holds the trial, and the Senate is Republican. The Republicans learned that the hard way with Bill Clinton.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    "Even your preferred party would go off the deep end without opposition."

    That's what I like about libertarians: they eschew power so they are largely immune to its corrupting effects.

    Have you seen that cartoon that goes, "Libertarians: quietly plotting to take over just so they can leave everyone alone!"

    I only wish they'd done better last night. I guess the two-party idiocracy is even more addictive than cigarettes or opioids.

  • Merl3noir||

    Well first of all name one country that is a Paradise... period. Everyplace has it's issues and it benefits. Some may match up very well to your personal desires, but for others it is completely unacceptable. So with that in Mind. How About Singapore? It has been under one party rule since it's independence. While there is a lot to complain about in term of that party abusing it's power to retain power. Singapore is a very nice place to live.

    That said, yes Splitting the power is generally ideal in that it requires that to get anything done everyone must listen to what the other side wants. Well at least that was the case until Obama decided that he could simply use Executive Orders to bypass congress.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    "Singapore is a very nice place to live."
    You seem to know nothing of Singapore or it's laws to say that.

  • ThomasD||

    Singapore is not my cup of tea - too hot, too crowded, and yes too hive minded.

    But it's no shithole either.

    I know a couple of Americans who are quite happy to have made it their home.

  • mpercy||

    Just don't chew gum.

  • Robert||

    Compare states w all-GOP to those w mixed legislatures & governors. Somehow the Republicans have not gone off the deep end w/o opposition there.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    Some monarchies are ok to live in. United Arab Emirates comes to mind. It's much better than Europe or the US in terms of economic freedom. Plus the absence of politics is a breath of fresh air. Singapore is also very nice, as is Hong Kong. Chile under Pinochet. I would rate economic freedom as more important than political freedom when it comes to quality of life for most people.

  • JesseAz||

    Regulations were actually reduced the last two years. The last decade of divided government was the birth of omnibus spending bills and basine budgeting with assumed spending growth of 4%. Divided government is not the panacea you think it is.

  • Robert||

    I don't know how libertarians can look around the USA at nat'l, st., & local gov't in recent yrs. & not conclude, the more Republican, the better. You can find exceptions on a few matters or a few places, but those pale in comparison to the other stuff.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    At least when the republicans in question are along the lines of Paul or Cruz, and not Ryan.

  • TLBD||

    There is no chance of reigning in spending now.

    Libertarians rejoice!

    I don't get this magazine. At all. Why not just come out and tell the world that this is a neo-liberal publication?

    Democrats are anti-libertarian on almost everything. The thing they hate the most about the Republican party is the few libertarian principles they have.

  • Liberty Lover||

    The highest spenders with the highest deficits has historically been Republican Presidents with Republican Congresses. Republicans pay lip service to Libertarian principles they don't practice them.

  • JesseAz||

    For fuck sakes. The highest spenders are not Republicans. Shut up you ignorant dummy. The president doesn't propose spending, look at who controlled the purse strings, not the president, during the rise in spending. The largest spending increases are Medicare, welfare, student loans, green energy subsidies and social security. GOP owns defense spending and not much else. You could add oil if you're retarded since those breaks aren't oil industry specific.

    The largest percent of government spending is Dem proposed spending. Obama even took the tarp "one time" loans and made it part of baseline budget under Reid.

    Tax revenues go up after every tax break. Spending increases by more. Stop being ignorant.

  • wearingit||

    You call him ignorant but ignore that the Republicans added 1.9 trillion in debt with their "tax reform"?

    It's laughable you think they are anything resembling fiscally responsible.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The tax reform package is new. Where have you seen $1.9 trillion in new debt added from it? The entire annual deficit is nowhere near that amount.

  • Mr. JD||

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics. You know full well that far more taxation and spending comes from Democrats than Republicans.

  • Oli||

    Democrats may be anti-libertarian, but libertarians are anti-authoritarian. And it won't get much more authoritarian in a democracy than a one-party rule. The more checks, the better.

  • Robert||

    Even when the same party controls legislature (both houses where there are 2) & executive, such "1 party rule" has important checks. There's always another election, & the parties have primaries or other candidate selection processes. It's not like the party dictates to the voters. It's the voters' fault collectively if it goes bad & stays that way.

  • ThomasD||

    A. We are not a democracy, we are a republic

    B. If the 'one party rule' consists of leaving everyone alone it's not authoritarian

    Granted, that last one is a rather Laconic if, but nonetheless it is a valid statement and entirely rebuts your fallacious argument.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Oil, democrats have nothing to offer, but slavery, division, oppression, misery, and destruction.

  • kevrob||

    Libertarians aren't "neo-liberal," We are the oldest of old school liberals.

  • ThomasD||

    I'd say 'oldest' school goes to classical liberals.

    Libertarianism is somewhat a recapitulation of those ideals, but with significant differences largely meant to appeal to post modernists.

    Classical liberals would have laughed at the NAP as a formal policy. They were also more accepting of the inherent 'need' for a state.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    There is no chance of reigning in spending now.

    BWAHAHAHA. Republicans had their chance and they refused to rein in spending. They deserved to lose the House if for no other reason than that.

    The Democrats won't be any better, don't get me wrong. But in the long run if there are two fiscally-irresponsible parties allowed to rule we are certainly doomed.

  • JesseAz||

    At least the GOP members split on increased spending. Goos at the democrat vote numbers.

  • JesseAz||

    Goos = go look.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The Democrats winning the house is bad news


    . . . for the backward, the bigoted, the grievance-consumed, poorly educated, economically shambling, rural whites.

    Also for corrupt Cabinet members and for presidents with sketchy finances and shady ethics.

    Carry on, clingers . . . so far as a narrowing white, rural, intolerant, disaffected, elderly, male electoral coalition can carry anyone.
  • Buddy Bizarre||

    Learn how to format your comments, authoritarian swine.

  • TLBD||

    I have a theory:

    Men who claim to hate their own gender are generally sociopaths and have much higher chances of being predators.

    It is why most of us are find Kirkland to be creep af on a visceral level.

  • TLBD||

    *most of us find Kirkland to be creepy af on a visceral level*

  • 68W58||

    Weren't you just claiming that "60 percent of the country is going to wake up with Democratic Governors."?

    How'd that work out Rev?

  • Teddy Pump||

    U are 100% correct......Trump is far from perfect, but, his greatest achievement by far is the tremendous reduction in onerous & costly federal regulations that have freed up businesses!

  • TangoDelta||

    But what can the blue team really do but whine? Trump has already gotten a good amount done. So, no wall and he couldn't kill off Obamacare. Most everything else is done and with the Senate in the red we can hopefully get more judges like Gorsuch.

  • AmosArch||

    Pretty narrow perspective. The left has control of virtually every major institution in the West, education, culture, corporations, the government bureaucracy etc. The right having a slight hold on the top level of the federal government hardly makes up for this. It's like the Pope being happy that the Italian army invaded the vatican but he still gets 51% of the say in the catholic church.

  • TLBD||

    To be sure, Reason writers do not have the greatest minds. I'd contend that 90% of the commetariat would whip them in a debate.

  • JesseAz||

    95 if you removed Arthur, baculum, Jeff, and Palin.

  • Mr. JD||

    This ^

    The notion that Republicans have been the stronger party at any time in recent memory is absurd.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Most sitting republicans members of congress are pretty weak at this point.

  • IceTrey||

    He's happy a bunch of admitted socialists are going to reign in Trump? Did you hear Pelosi's speech? It was literally gibberish.

  • AmosArch||

    establishment Libertarians are born losers. They love being punchingbags its all they know. Thats why they've never been more than a minor party on their own and are so threatened by Trump and the altright that seem to be in danger of turning the right into a success.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Are you the new Podesta beat troll, skippy? Fuck off.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Gridlock is the best we can hope for in the present situation.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Gridlock = Tipping point = Libertarian Moment? Wishful thinking?

  • DesigNate||

    Gridlock is great, if it actually happens.

  • JesseAz||

    Gridlock equals baseline budgeting and no rollback of government authority.

  • Gray_Jay||

    "Gridlock equals baseline budgeting and no rollback of government authority."

    This. If there's only one bill that'll pass for the next two years, it'll be a continuing budget resolution.

    OTOH, at least there won't be any more giant new gov't programs to hoover up money. Maybe.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Amen. I sleep better at night when the Federal government is gridlocked.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    The federal government was already gridlocked. The Democrats have the bureaucratic apparatus, you can check out the voting patterns in Washington DC and the surrounding suburbs. Even if the Republicans controlled Congress and the presidency, they would still have to rule over a hostile bureaucracy.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Likewise, limits the things DC can fuck up.

  • gaoxiaen||

    +1 Ambien Walrus

  • JesseAz||

    Because griock worked great last decade... Do people think throgh their statements?

  • TangoDelta||

    Have we ever had gridlock for a decade recently? Obamacare went through with full blue team control before gridlock was reestablished. Full red team control got us the Iraq war and before that full blue team control got us a scary looking gun ban. What good ever came out of having either team in full control?

  • mpercy||

    " Full red team control got us the Iraq war "

    Point of order...the Iraq War was a fully bi-partisan deal. Check out the House and Senate roll calls for the votes on the Iraq War. Pretty much every prominent Democrat voted in favor of the actions, including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Harry Reid, and Joe Biden.

    In the House, 82 (39.2%) of 209 Democratic Representatives voted for the resolution.

    Indeed, in the Senate Democrats could have stymied the whole thing if they had not gone over to the other side on the vote. It passed 77-23, but 29 (58%) of 50 Democratic senators voted for the resolution. If Democrats had voted as a bloc against the war, it would not have passed (i.e., resolution fails 48-52).

    Senate Democrats voting for the resolution were:

    Sens. Baucus (D-MT), Bayh (D-IN), Biden (D-DE), Breaux (D-LA), Cantwell (D-WA), Carnahan (D-MO), Carper (D-DE), Cleland (D-GA), Clinton (D-NY), Daschle (D-SD), Dodd (D-CT), Dorgan (D-ND), Edwards (D-NC), Feinstein (D-CA), Harkin (D-IA), Hollings (D-SC), Johnson (D-SD), Kerry (D-MA), Kohl (D-WI), Landrieu (D-LA), Lieberman (D-CT), Lincoln (D-AR), Miller (D-GA), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Reid (D-NV), Rockefeller (D-WV), Schumer (D-NY), and Torricelli (D-NJ).

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It could go either way. Either they could do for Trump what the Gingrich House did for Clinton (ground him after two years of floundering into being a relatively effective president) or the two political entities could continue to go at each other in the most nonconstructive (read: destructive) way possible.

    As for everyone else (read: twiitersphere), let's remember there's another election in two years. I have doubts there's any going back.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Nonconstructive or destructive sounds peachy keen to me. When DC assholes get constructive is when things get worse. To paraphrase Iowahawk as long as they are beating each other over the head they won't be fucking with the rest of us.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Agreed.

  • Merl3noir||

    Actually the route I fear is that Trump will do what Obama did. Go crazy with the Executive Orders. I think had Obama done like Clinton and tried to work with the Republicans in Congress things may be much better. Grid lock is good as long as it keeps both sides in check. But Obama simply bypassed Congress.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But Obama simply bypassed Congress.

    Many of those EO's were undone by his successor, so that isn't a strategy for legacy building.

  • JesseAz||

    Except Obama's judges are blocking the repeal of those orders, see daca.

  • Gray_Jay||

    Which is one of the reasons Trump has been gung ho on getting Federal judges appointed. To give the Turtle credit, he's done a really good job at it the last two years, and getting some more GOP Senators will only aid the task.

    If you suck at lawfare, and the Trump Administration does, just change the referees.

  • mpercy||

    "If you suck at lawfare, and the Trump Administration does, just change the referees."

    I thought that's what Democrats have done for years...putting controversial things in front of federal judges who make stuff up out of whole cloth. This has allowed Democrats to publicly take one side of the action while getting judges to override.

    E.g.

    Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY): "I believe marriage is…a sacred bond between a man and a woman….a fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and woman, going back into the midst of history, as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization."

    Harry Reid (D-NV): "I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman….no state can force its laws on marriage on another."

    But they all cheered Obergfell.

  • Doug Heffernan||

    The dems may do a benghazi-style investigation of trump, but I doubt they'd bother to try to impeach the orange one, with 2020 around the bend.

    It will be a costly treadmill type exercise, much like the benghazi investigations. Maybe they'll try to get some tax returns but i doubt they will anytime soon.

    But the investigation will be cheaper than any legislation, so net-net the next two years will be about as low cost as we could hope for. If it distracts them it might even be worth it.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Who's paying the pensions?

  • JeremyR||

    How can you possibly think things are going to get less crazy? The Democrats in the House will go hard as they can against Trump for the next two years, investigating every aspect of his life.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    I'm guessing you are right, Pelosi won't be able to stop the looney toons like Maxine and shit will fly. If you are a Trump supporter it will be one long reelection commercial for 2020. I foresee many, many yucks in the near future, it'll be an epic comedy sketch.

  • DiegoF||

    I won't shit on Boehm for wanting the Democrats to win the House. Just Say'n wants split government, and he is the most beloved guy on here. Denouncing Just Say'n is like denouncing mom and apple pie.

    I have to say he doesn't make much of a case for why or how the Democrats controlling the House will help curb the things we wouldn't like out of Trump. How is this result going to rein in Trump's protectionism and ensure freer trade, for example?

    Just about the only real thing I see here is that Boehm wants Pelosi to investigate Trump. I don't see anything else of substance.

  • Doug Heffernan||

    The democrats would be beyond stupid if they don't put pelosi in a home and elect a different speaker. Republicans would be smart to want the dems to stick with pelosi.

    Of course there won't be anything of substance. That is the best outcome for everybody.

  • DiegoF||

    They should parachute Conor Lamb into Speaker or something. Yesterday's results, while a bit worse than projected for Democrats, show enormous long-term strength because they show how close they can make races while running Black Lives Matter gun-confiscating socialists in the Deep South and so forth. They may yet fuck it up by getting overconfident that this is the way forward, and leaning into the radicalism. They will get their socialism eventually, if they are only smart and patient, but of course their bubble often makes them not so. Also, "young inspiring" people like Ocasio Cortez are simply dumb as fucking posts. If they make them the faces of the party they will pay dearly just for that factor. Ocasio Cortez may be some of the best news for Republicans this election cycle.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    I have to say I saw the same thing with wingnuts like Gillum and Edwards getting mighty close to winning (though in part it may be because DeSantis and the Georgia dude both seem like colossal assholes). Progs really are metastasizing and spreading to unruined parts of the country, doesn't bode well for the future. Economic implosion may arrive before I croak, didn't figure it happening while I'm alive. (63)

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Keep clinging to hopes relying exclusively on declining, can't-keep-up rural communities and voters. Republicans can't compete in growing, educated, modern, successful communities. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and our system's amplification of yahoo voices are only going to prop up Republicans for so long.

  • DesigNate||

    I would expect nothing else from a racist ass bigot. Never change Rev.

  • TLBD||

    Yesterday's results, while a bit worse than projected for Democrats, show enormous long-term strength because they show how close they can make races while running Black Lives Matter gun-confiscating socialists in the Deep South and so forth.

    This is what is terrifying. The electorate rewarded the Democrats for their actions over the past few years. It does not bode well for the country when socialists and semi-socialists employing mob violence and straight up non-stop propaganda gain power.

    The Democrats are dangerous to liberty on a scale that has been rarely seen in our history.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The electorate rewarded the Democrats for their actions over the past few years.

    Those who prefer authoritarian right-wing bigots are going to continue to be disappointed in an improving America. Republicans will continue to be lords of every half-educated, intolerant, backward, declining hamlet in rural America, though, so right-wingers have that going for them!

  • DesigNate||

    As opposed to your racist, bigoted left wing authoritarianism, eh Rev?

    Newsflash: both types suck.

  • Lowdog||

    As opposed to authoritarian left wing bigots?

    As someone who believes in the sovereignty of the individual, I can say both Rs and Ds suck.

    Christ, are you boring.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It ain't over till the fat lady sings.

    The media hacks are calling this election and it is really close with seats still too close to certify.

    It will probably be a 5 seat lead for Democrat in the House in the end.

  • DiegoF||

    I meant I didn't see any ofther point of substance being made by Boehm.

  • Adans smith||

    I think this could be quite entertaining. And as a bonus they'll be so busy fighting nothing will get done.

  • JesseAz||

    Except for continued growth rates on spending through baseline budgeting and limited regulatory roll backs.

  • DesigNate||

    I'm sure the Dems, having spent the better part of the year bitching and moaning about the deficit, will get right on cutting spending.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Yay!

  • gaoxiaen||

    IDGAF!

  • Buddy Bizarre||

    CT is completely screwed. It appears Lamont will win the Gov spot & D's have retaken the state senate & continue to have the majority in the state house. They've been pushing for highway tolls & plan on further tax increases & more social engineering.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Someone who dislikes modernity, an educated population, tolerant neighbors, and economic progress is destined to be unhappy in Connecticut. Rural Mississippi, backwater West Virginia, or can't-keep-up Idaho might be better picks for a superstitious, backward, conservative American seething with white grievance.

  • kevrob||

    Economic progress in the Nutmeg State? Unemployment above the Natl Average (still over 4%,) corporations like GE leaving, and voters who elect pols convicted for corruption back into office when they finish their sentences? Yeah, Corrupticut is a beacon of hope for the nation.

    The Dems will be keeping the governor's chair due to "strong late returns" from the cities. Delays were caused by "wet ballots." Do you folks remember the bad old days of "Q. How many votes for Smith from Bigtown? A. How many do you need?"

  • DiegoF||

    The worst of all nightmares come together for Paul LePage--not only have ungrateful Mainers chosen a Democrat for his replacement; but even D-Money, Smoothy, and Shifty will be leaving New York and Connecticut after these impending prog hellholes start taxing away half their heroin money.

  • Briggie||

    Thank God I left Maine years ago. That state has been circling the drain for decades.

  • Robert||

    Reinstating tolls on the Merrit, Wilbur Cross, & Conn. 'pike that were long since paid off & endowed? Or newly imposing them on recently-built roads that never had them? Digging back into hx & reinstating the charters of old turnpikes?!

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Well, three cheers for popcorn consumption at least.

    It will be like the Republicans in 2011: the worst impulses of the Democrats will be constrained by the fact that they only have 1/2 of 1/3 of the branches of government, while they can grandstand and harrumph and investigate Trump and raise money for 2020.

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    I think my favorite part about last night is watching the dems pay for trying out their uber liberal fringe candidates in GOP areas. The one that stands out the most is GA. You want to win? Put up somebody that represents the people in your state and/or has a real chance. Lamb in PA and Jones in Alabama are perfect examples. Not the most exciting candidates, and hell maybe they will actually reach across the aisle at some point. But you run a progressive socialist in GA? You deserve to get your ass handed to you.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    But they didn't get their asses handed to them, per se. They lost, but very closely. Plus, they had some coattail effects that allowed downballot Democrats to get elected. Two years ago, if I would have told you that Ted Cruz would barely win re-election by only 2 points, you would have laughed at me.

    It's the same argument that all political mass movements have: do you energize your base with the most ideologically pure candidates, or do you try to appeal to a wider audience with the most 'electable' candidates? Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, all have these same conversations.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    You assholes spent the last several months claiming yesterday was going to be a big blue tidal wave, and you damn well know it so stop lying.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I didn't say anything about a big blue tidal wave, Mikey.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Those Dem candidates will end up getting roasted in about 4 years when it becomes obvious that they're just proglydyte lickspittles. Same thing happened with the Blue Dogs, who ended up voting in lockstep with Reid and Pelosi despite the hype over their supposed moderate positions.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Not only that, but it's an outcome that allows, for one night at least, the faintest hope that the crazy train of American politics over the past two years may be slowing to a more sensible pace.

    No. The leftist crazy train will continue apace or get worse because they are now emboldened. They want power for the sake of power and they want it by any means necessary.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Here's hoping it leads to a government shutdown! A real government shutdown, the kind that last for months or even a year and saves trillions of dollars in spending. Yeah, it probably won't happen, but we can dream.

    Meanwhile, the quest is officially on to see if Ruth Bader Ginsburg can manage to survive at least two more years (I give it 50/50 at best, maybe even less). The best news of all is we get two more years of easy confirmation of judges who believe in America and the constitution. Keep throwing those phony, ludicrous sexual assault allegations out you Block Yomommatards, that really worked out great for you yesterday!

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Democrats will be able to check the worst parts of Trump's presidency

    But were the "worst parts" things that Trump did via Congress? To judge from the Democratic caterwauling of the last couple of years, I don't think so. Sure, they hated the tax cuts. But what else?

    Shit, most of the things that Democrats hyperventilated about only exist in their own minds. I keep waiting to see all the wimmen in Handmaid's Tale outfits and Nazi stormtroopers goosestepping down my street, but so far I've waited in vain.

  • Robert||

    That's the trouble. 1 bad part of Trump (though not as bad as some thought) was using executive discretion (enabled by statute subject to certain criteria the executive judges) to not plug in exemptions that Congress allows to default tariffs that Congress enacted long ago. If you don't like how Trump's administering that discretion, why'd you put it in place? Why'd you enact the underlying default tariffs to begin w? Do you think having more Democrats in the H.R. will make it more likely those tariffs will be repealed??!

    Another bad part of Trump (again not as bad as some think) is his administr'n of immigr'n procedures. Same complaint, long-ago bipartisan Congressional enactment. You think a few more Democrats in the H.R. will improve this?

    What did those unseated Congressmen help Trump do?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Democrats won the House. Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate.

    Boy, you Lefties at Reason sure are counting your chickens before they roost.

    NYT's count has Democrats at 219 seats with 218 needed for control. There are over 26 Congressional seats still not certified by the states.
    NYT election counts

    Hahaha.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We need Part II of Ken's correct assessment of midterm election losses, which would be the swing back of Congress during a president reelected year.

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    "counting your chickens before they roost"

    I was going to correct that to hatch, but then realized you probably chose your words with intent.

    In all seriousness though, most sites have them at some sort of narrow majority now, with some seats up for grabs. But regardless, if they already have the majority, and have potential to get more, how is that counting anything too early? Are some of those "for-sure" contests magically going back to the GOP?

    LC you promised me a GOP house majority. What the hell man.

  • Gray_Jay||

    "LC you promised me a GOP house majority. What the hell man."

    Bigger than that. Weren't you saying at first LC that the GOP was actually going to gain seats in the House?

    Still, I think it'll eventually settle out at 222/213 or so Democrat. It looks like that, unlike the ~2.5-3 point Dem bias in polling 2016, the Republicans were overrepresented in pre-election polls by about 2-3 points.

    Buck up most of you who were hoping for a GOP House win. At least you don't have a 27 year old medical interpreter who is now responsible for allocating literally billions of dollars of equipment and personnel for things like hurricane emergency relief, like Harris County, Texas now does.

    Jesus, did Houston go California-lite this election.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    "Democrats won the House"....
    Boy, you Lefties at Reason sure are counting your chickens before they roost.
    NYT's count has Democrats at 219 seats with 218 needed for control.

    Are you arguing that Democrats didn't win the House last night? I'm really confused by your post. Even you admit that they have at least a 1 seat margin in the House.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It also looks like Libertarians were "spoilers" in numerous elections.

    Democrats might have won those location but the desire to vote Libertarian even if a Democrat won is promising for the future.

  • Gray_Jay||

    "It also looks like Libertarians were "spoilers" in numerous elections."

    The Harris County Judge election I was bitching about above? The Lib candidate pulled 2.1% and the margin of victory for the tyro who won was only 1.5.

  • Hank Phillips||

    This is true. But there are only two issues. The Dems push the Soviet agenda of freeing the R Buckminster Fuller energy slaves by crippling and banning the conversion of energy. Current Millerite Global Warming predictions are the verbatim Soviet predictions made in 1960 for the year 2017: http://tinyurl.com/ycpxm9cb
    The GOP thinks only of forcing women to have unwanted children--a dream they could realize by simply moving south to one of the Junta-controlled Lateran Treaty states--from which locust swarms of refugees are currently fleeing northward. The LP had until recently very clear views on these two issues. 1. Superstition and pseudoscience do not override the freedom to produce and trade in energy. 2. Women are individuals with inalienable rights even when pregnant. Both Kleptocracy parties therefore have little choice other than to try to infiltrate the LP and wreck those stands--at least in the eyes of potential defectors to the side of freedom. Already women avoid us, thanks to the "good faith" plank. Now all we need is for real engineers and scientists to cross the street to avoid us and the Kleptocracy wins.

  • NoVaNick||

    This clown show has gotten so old that I can't be bothered to give a shit anymore. In two years, the dems may beat Trump, and take the senate, so we can then look forward to a red wave or Tea Party II in 2022. Or if not, then in 2026, who cares? Its as predictable as the Friday the 13th series. Only reason I voted yesterday was to set a positive example for my kids, who asked me if they could watch me vote. The LP candidate for senate in Virginia barely got 2%. Now it looks like the dems picked up three other house seats here but only one was decisive.

  • Gray_Jay||

    "In two years, the dems may beat Trump, and take the senate"

    Nah. Not unless, with apologies to P.J. O'Rourke, Trump gets caught in bed with a naked business recession. It is more than a little concerning though that the Democrats basically took off the mask the last two years, and have pretty much come out as the party of genitals, race, and socialism, and still did as well as they did.

    Again, returning to Texas, Cruz won by less than 3 points, over a candidate who I wouldn't doubt is actually clinically mentally retarded. (But looks good on T.V., and bought himself the John Kerry Starter Kit.) Who goes into Texas, says, "Yep, I'm going to ban guns," and then says "15 trillion to pay for my health care bill over 10 years? We'll just tax corporations an extra 10% and that will pay for it," and still only loses by 2.5 points? I mean, what the fuck Williamson County? You used to be the homeland of fled-Austin suburbanites living lives of quiet middle class desperation, voting for law and order in amounts that would make Judge Dredd blush, and you split for Bob the Fake Mexican 50-50?!

    Just how many Californians have moved to this state already? I'm calling my shot. This is the last term a Republican wins for Governor in Texas in the foreseeable future. Guarantee the Democrats will run with better qualifications than, "I'm a woman, and I like chicks," for the next election.

  • NoVaNick||

    You used to be the homeland of fled-Austin suburbanites living lives of quiet middle class desperation

    Same could be said for Loudon County, VA, which just elected a dem for the first time since the 70s. Lots of millennials who were living in DC are having kids and now fleeing to suburbs, despite what all the experts said, because of the shitty public schools, and have brought their prog voting habits with them.

    I suspect Beto tapped into the huge number of clueless Californians, NYers, and hipsters who have moved to Texas. Give it another 10 years for it to be fully Californicated. be the dems.

  • Gray_Jay||

    "Give it another 10 years for it to be fully Californicated. be the dems."

    Honestly? I don't think it'll be that long. 4-6 years, tops. Less than that if Amazon does bring its HQ to DFW.

    There are a shit-ton of cars with CA, NY, IL, MD plates on the road here, and a bunch more with TX plates, but license plate frames/car tags that indicate the thing was bought in the above states.

    Rick Perry et al with their aggressive courting of Blue-state businesses and employees, laid the seeds for his party's defeat in Texas politics.

  • NoVaNick||

    Most recent buzz is that Amazon HQ2 will be split between NYC and DC (Crystal City, Virginia to be exact). So you can breathe a small sigh of relief. Was talking with my wife that it might be a good time for us to move and cash in, also get away from the property tax hikes and horrific traffic that will follow.

  • Robert||

    That seems true. So what you gonna do, make your st. less attractive for biz?

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Prohibition party barely averaged 2.1% across the board. But after 11 presidential campaigns of this "we" had a Prohibition Amendment and revenue agents murdered close to 2000 people, imprisoned thousands for man-millennia and wrecked the economy. 2016 was the Libertarian Party's 12th campaign, with a 328% increase in the vote count. Canada and Mexico (which both have LPs) and US states with Libertarians running are now striking down the 1936 bans on plant leaves have repealed laws that have aggregated thousands of deaths and man-years in prison. THAT is winning. Every time a Dem votes to decriminalize energy production, or a Republican votes to delete the Coathanger Amendment plank from God's Own Platform (Allah be praised!)--those too are examples of the LP winning by repealing bad laws.

  • Robert||

    expansive and blunt use of of executive power to restrict immigration and impose tariffs deserves oversight from Congress


    Or Congress could, you know, just repeal the restrictions & tariffs they enacted. The executive's supposed imposition of tariffs means simply failure to administer exemptions to tariffs that Congress had enacted.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    So an ostensibly libertarian publication is cheering the victories of a party that is against free speech, free association, self defense, the free market and pro tax on everything.

    When did Poe's law become a goal?

  • Mr. JD||

    We're about to see two years of Trump getting the Kavanaugh treatment. Why should Reason be happy about this?

  • MikeP2||

    "Democrats will be able to check the worst parts of Trump's presidency "

    Wow. do you really think the Dems will check the "worst parts"? Or are they more likely to check the "best parts" of Trump's proposals because they will vote against anything that appeals to the middle?

    Only a statist or someone clueless to the Dem platform would think this midterm result is a positive for good governance.

  • ThomasD||

    "Democrats will be able to check the worst parts of Trump's presidency..."

    What utter horseshit.

    Like a Democrat House is going to cut the damned spending.

    Tell me another one Boehm.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Immigration enforcement is almost entirely in Trump's hands.

    He could start enforcing immigration law and deporting 20 million illegals tomorrow if he had the will, and the Dems in the House couldn't do squat about it.

  • Shinbanger||

    Also unbelievable that a Libertarian journalist would praise a warmonger like John McCain for helping to
    keep the GOP in check. He was a maverick that cost untold damage to the Republic in blood and treasure and
    who's last act as a Senator was to prevent a substantial rollback of the ACA. It's clear that Reason's brand
    of Libertarianism has little to do with the principles of limited government and limited involvement in the affairs of
    other nation states.

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    Oh come on now, its not like the GOP was doing anything with control of both houses.

  • Rockabilly||

    Oh We're Marching on to

    Washington

    With my comrades

    Tony and Rev Arthur L Kirkland

    We have pints

    Of Ben & Jerry's #Restistance Flavor

    And We'll Bring

    The Donald Down

    For Being So Mean

    And Cheating Hillary

    For It Was Her Turn

    Everyone Said So

    But The Russian Robots

    On the FaceBook Brainwashed The People

    And Now The Donald he is president

    And Not Hillary

    But We'll Bring

    The Donald Down

    Oh On Ward Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters

    We all have pints of the #Resistance !!!!

  • Hank Phillips||

    Most of the anti-tax voters uninterested in the LP tell me they vote against letting either half of the kleptocracy have a hegemony. This made sense before there was an LP. After all, both gangs of looters are fairly indistinguishable. Both will admit that Congressman X is a sumbitch, but what matters to them is whether he's OUR sumbitch. Thoughtful voters strove to keep them at each other's throats. But the Three Party Problem, like the Three Body Problem, now shifts the burden of the defense to the Kleptocracy because the burgeoning 3rd party in its 1972 debut wrecked the Comstock laws banning birth control and is now withering The Political State from without. A tiny percentage of voters need only vote for candidates opposed to the initiation of force. The culling among Kleptocracy candidates automatically eliminates those that are most totalitarian. Victory (repeal of unethical and violent laws) is immediate, its effect lasting.

  • vek||

    If Trump had got through maybe 2 or 3 of his other main goals, I would be STOKED about a split congress. But since he didn't, this sucks. But it was probably the best one could expect.

    If the Dems use the House to make even bigger asses of themselves, which seems the likely scenario, Trump could sail back into a House majority in 2020. Then we might see some real shit gettin' done!

    Until then, pop the popcorn, sit back, and watch the Dems go wild with witch hunts and passing legislation that will go nowhere.

    I DO wonder if they'll ram through infrastructure stuff, or anything like that though. I guess we'll see.

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