What the Midterm Results Mean

A few thoughts about last night.

One, I am happy to see the admirable Senator Ted Cruz reelected in Texas, where you can almost buy a Senate race but not quite. I like Senator Cruz a great deal (and I like him even more when he’s not campaigning) but I’d have enjoyed watching a reasonably well-qualified ham sandwich defeat Robert Francis O’Rourke, one of the most insipid and puffed-up figures on the American political scene. I was also pleased by the victory of Rick Scott, who is either the best bad politician in America or the worst good one, depending on how you look at it.

Two, for whatever it’s worth, this did not feel to me like a national referendum on President Donald Trump, at least any more so than any other midterm election is a referendum on the president. Not exactly, anyway: This was another skirmish in the ongoing and intensifying culture war of which President Trump is more a symptom than a cause.

Which brings me to my third observation: The Democrats have gone well and truly ’round the bend. I spent a fair part of last night with Democrats in Portland, Ore. — admittedly, a pretty special bunch of Democrats, Portland being Portland and all. The professional political operators are what they always are — by turns cynical and sanctimonious — but the rank and file seem to actually believe the horsepucky they’ve been fed, i.e., that these United States are about two tweets away from cattle cars and concentration camps. The level of paranoia among the people I spoke to was remarkable.

Fourth, and related: The Democrats don’t seem to understand what it is they are really fighting, which, in no small part, is not the Republicans but the constitutional architecture of the United States. The United States is, as the name suggests, a union of states, which have interests, powers, and characters of their own. They are not administrative subdivisions of the federal government. All that talk about winning x percent of the “national House vote” or the “national Senate vote” — neither of which, you know, exists — is a backhanded way of getting at the fact that they do not like how our governments are organized, and that they would prefer a more unitary national government under which the states are so subordinated as to be effectively inconsequential. They complain that, under President Trump, “the Constitution is hanging by a thread” — but they don’t really much care for the actual order established by that Constitution, and certainly not for the limitations it puts on government power through the Bill of Rights and other impediments to étatism.

 Read more at National Review

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