Perhaps I spoke too soon about the Senate. And if so, the Trumpkins have even more to answer for
Other observers think that the Democrats may well, in fact, retake the Senate- including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The situation is fluid, but there is clear cause for concern. Here's how Larry Sabato sees the Senate right now.
Again, Hillary Clinton is going to win- because the Republicans nominated an unelectable opponent for her when almost any of his competitors for the nomination would have beaten her easily. And if the GOP loses the Senate it will be because the Republicans nominated an unelectable opponent for Hillary when almost any of his competitors for the nomination would have run a strong enough race to have coattails of their own rather than giving Hillary coattails.
The Democrats are going to win the presidency. Make no mistake about that. That became certain the moment a clown like Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination. And if they also lose the Senate- and the Supreme Court swings Left for a generation, effectively rendering the Constitution null and void and making the whims and caprices of socially radical, revisionist judges the de facto constitution of the United States- it will be because the Republicans nominated an unelectable opponent for Hillary Clinton who dragged Republican Senate candidates down to defeat with him when almost any of his competitors for the nomination would have run a strong enough race that they would have retained the Senate and been able to block Hillary's nominations.
This is the fundamental fact of the 2016 elections. The Trumpkins will, of course, deny it. But this is what history will record (at least to the extent that it is honestly recorded) because this is what any objective observer will conclude actually happened: in a year in which the Republicans should have been utterly unbeatable. a large minority of its most ignorant, extreme and in many cases morally repugnant voters threw a temper tantrum which, coupled with the division of the sane and decent majority among so many candidates, enabled the only Republican candidate the polls showed before, during, and after the primary losing to Hillary Clinton to become the nominee.
It will have happened because this was the year even some usually sane Republicans decided that throwing a temper tantrum was more important than winning the presidency and saving the Supreme Court.
And don't even say it. No, the Republican senators who will go down to defeat will not lose because they've done a lousy job or didn't have the backbone to stand up to Obama. This is the thing even the Cruz wing of the Republican party doesn't get: as angry as conservatives have been at "the Establishment" both in and outside of Congress for not "showing more backbone" and standing up to Obama, the majority of the November electorate- those who are not Republicans, and whose votes the GOP needs to win- are just as angry but for exactly the opposite reason. They are angry at obstructionism and petty partisanship. They are angry because the Republican majority in Congress (and yes, the Democratic minority, too- but since the Republicans are in the majority they get most of the blame) has been too belligerently partisan!
What has been wanting has not a lack of partisanship. What has been wanting is a failure to act within the parameters of what the majority of both Houses can do by their own inherent powers, without reference to the White House or the Democrats. Symbolic filibusters and vitriolic attacks are not the same thing and are in fact counter-productive. To invoke Teddy Roosevelt, the Cruz wing of the party is right about the big stick but desperately needs to learn that it is wielded most effectively when one speaks softly, In today's political climate, the winner is the party that comes across as calm and rational and reasonable. Letting Obama get away with claiming that role while actually being neither, and doing so precisely by letting his actions do the talking, has not been smart.
Take a look at the popularity figures for Congress. Compare them even to Obama's. What does that tell you about the electoral prospects of a party which runs on a promise to do even more of what has made Congress so unpopular that its popularity can't break 20%?
That's why I only say that almost any Republican other than Trump would have lost. I would have voted in a heartbeat for either Ben Carson or Ted Cruz. But Carson's temperament and lack of experience and knowledge would have doomed him. And Ted Cruz, like it or not, based his entire campaign on the promise to do more of what the General Election voters were already furious about!
The GOP will have a rough road ahead of it in any case. The moral blemish of the Trump nomination will not wear off for a generation. And it still has to deal with a majority of its membership who are political lemmings- whose entire program is a kamikaze style of government that is nothing more or less than an intensification of what the voters are already furious about! Anger does not beget good judgment, and neither is anger a strategy.
But one thing at a time. What follows is a point we need to be very clear about. It is non-negotiable if I or a great many others who have left the Republican party and re-registered as independents in view of the Trump nomination are ever going to return. And we cannot allow Trump's supporters to talk, rave, gyrate, or hallucinate their way out of it: losing the presidency, losing the Senate, losing the Court and quite possibly losing the Constitution will be their fault and theirs alone. Were it not for Trump's nomination, none of it would have happened.
People make mistakes. I am not talking now about people who made an error in judgment and are willing to admit it. Neither am I talking about people like Marco Rubio or Joni Ernst, who collaborated (i can think of no other word) out of the honest conviction that it was the best way forward despite their personal repugnance at Trumpism. I'm talking about the tinfoil-hatters, the core Trump loyalists. I'm talking about the Nazis and the Klansmen and very frankly all the unreconstructed Trump supporters who will deny Trump's responsibility for the coming debacle and its consequences and want to continue the fight for whatever they imagine Trump's campaign of narcissistic self-glorification actually stands for. They must be removed from all positions of party influence and leadership and never again allowed to occupy them. And they must never, ever under any circumstances be allowed to speak for the Republican party again.
And so must the party officials who used their position to bully dissenters into line. So must every single state chair, RNC member or officer, or other party functionary who collaborated with the Trump movement to remove legitimately elected delegates to the 2016 national convention because they refused to endorse Trump or can be shown to have interfered with the right of delegates to vote or to be heard while on the floor of the convention. These must be removed from office and never again allowed to serve in any responsible capacity as officials of the Republican party.
The Alt-Right crowd cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be humored. They cannot be talked to. They live in a different dimension than the rest of us. They are incapable of either recognizing or engaging reality. The latter cannot be trusted, cannot be respected, and cannot be seen as the public face of a party which detests what they stand for.
Of course, Republicans should be willing to accept the votes of even hard-core Trumpistas in the future- but they should not be willing to court them or in any way to give credence to their ugly ideas.
Finally, if the Democrats regain the Senate and Hillary's Supreme Court justices get confirmed, the party needs to get over the Cruzite nonsense about making symbolic gestures and actually act decisively. Not only is a great deal of the anger Republicans feel at the Congressional leadership justified, if misdirected (it should be at their failure to take decisive action that is within its own power, not at their failure to make enough faces at the White House or be sufficiently partisan), the chief plank in the 2020 Republican platform must be to call a constitutional convention to undo the damage a generation of judicial activism has done to our most basic law.. And this must be the non-negotiable and overriding aim of every Republican and every candidate until it's accomplished. After all, the Trump mass temper tantrum will have cost us our last chance to save the Constitution any other way.
And there's one more thing we all have to do: work like hell and do everything humanly possible to win enough seats so that the Republicans retain the Senate on November 8 despite Trump's defeat.