2018 Midterms Opinion Piece

Michael Geiger

On the day of the midterm elections, the satirical publication, The Babylon Bee, published an article titled, “Nation Torn Apart By Routine Election Starting To Wonder If Government May Be Too Powerful.”

The headline perfectly captures my feelings following the 2018 midterms: a combination of bemusement and wistfulness. The election was imbued with a sort of artificial sense of importance by many, most of whom fall on the left side of the political spectrum.

Barack Obama, while campaigning for Illinois Democrats days before the election, stated: “…in two days, you get to vote in what might be the most important election of my lifetime, maybe more important than 2008.” 

Ironically, Obama said similar things back in 2008 about that presidential election: “This is certainly the most important election in my lifetime – and not just because I’m running.”

That quote could not have sat well with John Kerry, a man who only four years prior had declared that the 2004 presidential election was the most important election of his lifetime. 

I have a theory, and while it is admittedly still in the formative stages, I think it could prove fairly accurate moving forward: people have, and always will, make politics sound more important than they really are. 

Very few of the problems that are dealt with in D.C. are matters of life and death. And many of the issues that have been given that kind of status (healthcare, welfare, reproductive rights) come directly as a result of their deepening integration into the federal government.

Each political party thinks the other is a dangerous cocktail of incompetence and malevolence. Both sides wish that the other possessed less power, and the solution to their problems is simple. 

But instead of reducing the size of the federal government, a move that would shift influence to the state and local level, Republicans and Democrats have let the power of Washington D.C. grow unchecked.

Other than passing the tax cuts, which in fairness was no small victory, the GOP’s control of the House these past two years didn’t lead to all that many policy-related victories. And by all accounts, their agenda for the next two years isn’t all that ambitious either.

It’s quite plausible that the Democrats seizing control of the House will lead to a healthy next two years for the country. Both sides will get what they want: Republicans will keep green-lighting a steady stream of judicial appointments while the Democrats get to conduct investigations to find the boogeyman they suspect is hiding in Trump’s closet.

The reason that the turnout for this year’s midterms was the highest in over a hundred years was the pervading sense of desperation that gripped liberals. It seems highly likely that the GOP’s control of both the presidency and Congress led to a “crowding-out” effect on half the country. 

These past couple of years, the Democrats weren’t accountable for any of America’s missteps; they had no skin in the game. This allowed them to effectively implement a scorched-earth strategy against the GOP in 2018.

The Democrats did quite well this election. Sure, the number of seats they won wasn’t particularly unusual based on historical trends, but it was undoubtedly a resounding success. However, a fair warning to the left: don’t think that this playbook will work again in 2020.

Democrats will likely spend the next two years subpoenaing everyone in sight in a search for Trump’s smoking gun. They’ll pour over his tax returns, investigate his ties to Russia, and do their best to block every item on his agenda in the process. 

If you think that this is the best course of action for the left moving forward, you had better hope they find something damning. Because if they don’t, 2020 won’t be the victory lap for them that 2018 was. 

Cory Booker and Kamala Harris’ inevitable cries for impeachment are going to get old really quickly, and if they remain unfounded after two years, the Democrats will have no captivating message to give to any voters outside their base.

Congratulations on the win, liberals. Just remember, the clock is ticking.