Elections 2018, post-cockiness edition

One calendar year ago I was excited enough to amble around campus in a state of suppressed glee, a phenomenon I couldn’t attribute to having voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton a couple weeks earlier. Although I was under no illusions about the limits of ClLinton’s power and the adamantine resistance she would experience from a newly empowered Congress, I thought a majority of Americans would rebuke Trumpism. The reckoning came the next morning.

That was a year ago. Thanks to DNC chairman’s decision to concentrate on local races, liberals/progressives can claim a few substantial victories:

– First, opponents to the Medicaid expansion can’t say it hasn’t passed by democratic means. In fact, supporters of the federalist approach to sweeping legislation should delight in what Maine voters accomplished last night. The win wasn’t narrow: by a twenty-point margin despite the robust efforts by Governor Paul LePage. By my lights, what happened in Maine represents the first time the Affordable Care Act has been popular enough to triumph.

– Second, Danica Roeme! The transgender candidate beat archenemy Bob Marshall, a scion of conservative Virginia politics who treated Roeme as if she were a Cossack about to invade his town: he refused to call Roeme by her gender and, worse, circulated these kinds of fliers.

– Third, Democrats picked up two George House of Delegate seats that in 2016 were uncontested. In 2012, Mitt Romney won the district 54-44; last year, Donald Trump by 49-46.

In my own state, incumbent Rick Kriseman beat back his Republican challenger after one of the nastiest races in recent Florida political history.

Contest every local seat. Discuss health care. Link opponents to Donald Trump. Don’t waste time converting people who voted for the president not because they wanted coal jobs back or eliminating the capital gains tax but because they wanted to fuck with people who didn’t:

Del Signore said he’s been following politics far more than before because of Trump. Trump, he said, is just “more interesting.” So now he likes watching the news. “Ninety-nine percent of the time I watch Fox,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll be sitting there listening to all this Fox stuff, and I’ll say, ‘Maybe they aren’t right, maybe I’ll flip to CNN’—but every time I’ve found that Fox has been correct, and CNN is definitely fake news.”

A Catholic whose wife goes to church every Sunday, whereas he, “shame on me,” does not, Del Signore told me toward the end of our lunch that some people at church told his wife that Obama is the antichrist. “She comes home and tells me these things that they tell you in church,” he said. I asked him whether that’s what he thinks. “I don’t know,” he said. “Some people say that.”

If Obama, I asked, is the antichrist—whose arrival is said to precede the second coming of Christ—what would that make Trump?

“The savior?” Del Signore suggested.

America, ladies and gents.

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