Maybe one day, all those people putting dark money into campaigns in Arkansas will learn: Arkies are stubborn. We don't like to be told what to think. And we won't be told what to think by out-of-state, deep-pocketed types with their frightening voice-overs on television.
Did all those commercials--millions of dollars of commercials--do any political damage to Mrs. Justice Courtney Goodson? Last reports show her margin of victory in this small, wonderfully mule-headed state to be nearly 100,000 votes. And a viewer could hardly buy a vowel on Wheel of Fortune in the evenings without seeing those dark money ads against her.
The best part of the campaign might have been when her challenger conceded with dignity. Once again, the concession allows for the best in American politics. Anybody can celebrate victory. The test of character comes when looking at the cameras after a crushing defeat. Will a candidate go Adlai Stevenson or Al Gore in that moment?
And the worst of American politics? Call it "negative advertising." The conventional unwisdom says it works. Who can forget all the mud slung at French Hill and Leslie Rutledge . . . four years ago? Yes, this go-around wasn't the first time they'd had to deal with assassination attempts on their characters. Yet, they've been re-elected.
Arkansans will not only think for themselves, but vote for themselves. There's no explaining the Arkansas voter. Remember the classic vote of 1968, when Arkies gave their support to George Wallace for president, Winthrop Rockefeller for governor and J. William Fulbright for U.S. senator?
But the people funding the dark arts might not be educable. If they were, they might have learned from previous elections that the Committee for Our Brand of Fear and Justice, or whatever, "not affiliated with any candidate or campaign," doesn't always move the needle in Arkansas. So in two years, expect the same during Wheel.
Somebody had to be the odd man out, and it was Warwick Sabin.
It reminds a body of the Big 12 three-way tie between Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma back in 2008. All three teams were strong, all three teams deserved the championship, all three teams made their cases. But only one could advance to the championship game. Any decision would be hard.
In Little Rock, the race for mayor was a hard one. Baker Kurrus and Frank Scott Jr. advance. They're very good candidates. But then again, so was Warwick Sabin. We hope his political career continues in Arkansas.
The casino measure passed in Arkansas. So did the increase of the minimum wage. Both issues will likely hurt poor and under-educated Arkansans the worst. Then, again, Arkies won't be told what to think by editorialists, either.
Nationally, things are likely going to get interesting, even entertaining, with Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff expected to take leadership roles in the U.S. House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi, 78, is expected to be Speaker. Maxine Waters, 80, might be chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. There's also a representative from New York State, Jerry Nadler, 71, who might take over the House Judiciary Committee. Which would be in the news a lot if the Democrats try to impeach the president. As many have promised.
The baby of the group, Rep. Schiff, 58, could become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Mr. Rep. Schiff told CNN that the House Intel committee would work with Maxine Waters' finance committee to investigate any money-laundering schemes or Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Great.
Mother Jones reports that the Democrats had their investigation papers sorted, filed and ready to mail before the last of the votes were counted. Now that the U.S. House has turned blue, expect:
• The House Foreign Affairs Committee to investigate Saudi Arabia and the murder of The Washington Post writer.
• The House Homeland Security Committee to investigate the family-separation policy at the border.
• The House Armed Services Committee to investigate moving troops to intercept that caravan from Honduras.
• Other committees and subcommittees will investigate White House security clearances, the Muslim travel ban, the Puerto Rico hurricane response, nepotism in the White House, the firing of James Comey, the use of non-disclosure agreements, hush money to certain porn stars, President Trump's tax returns, and anything related to his businesses.
But democracy is the theory that the people know what they want, and deserve to get it, good and hard. (Mencken, H.L.)
Something tells us that the next two years are going to make the last two years look like the previous two years. Because this president has largely had a Congress beholden to him. Now he doesn't.
Oh, sure, his judicial appointments will have, in theory, an easier time of it. The Republicans picked up three more Senate seats, so nominees will have more wiggle room. But now the Democrats control half the Congress. Which will doubtless give this president more hassle--and targets. Until now, the president's party could provide cover for him. Imagine what he'll tweet come next spring when his wonderful, stable genius ideas are DOA in Nancy Pelosi's chamber.
What now? Must things get worse?
That's not a necessity. Believe it or not, Bill Clinton provides a lesson for us all. And for once it's a lesson to emulate, not beware: Looking over the ruins of his party after Newt Gingrich and the Contract With America turned politics on its head in 1994, the president didn't sulk or go looking for excuses or fight with the press. Instead he changed course. And, by doing so, assured his own re-election.
The two years following that election might have been some of the most fruitful years in the history of American governance. Budgets were balanced, welfare reformed, an economy straightened out.
Who says a divided government governs the least? With the right combination of leaders, from both parties, this ever-new country can continue to grow and be reborn.
Editorial on 11/08/2018
Print Headline: The aftermath