I happened to catch up with Scott on the way to work from our respective downtown bus stops this morning, reaching him fairly close to the office, at Elliott Avenue and Broad Street, across the street from the Olympic Sculpture Park, and we got to talking about yesterday's elections pretty quickly. He immediately said something positive about Democrats taking back the House -- and, just as I said in text exchanges with Laney last night, that significance of that really cannot be overstated. "They're the ones who hold the purse strings," Scott said. Indeed that's true, and it will make it easier to hold President Fuckwit accountable, for . . . some things. A little bit.
And that's just the thing, right there. I said to Scott, "It just feels like we had all this momentum, only to barely get anything." The Senate will now be even more Republican than it was before, after all; moving from 51 Republicans to 47 Democrats and 2 Independents, to (although many of the races are still too close to call, they are leaning Republican) as many as 55 Republicans. And based on the past two years, we have little reason to believe any of these new Republican senators will hold this vile president to account in any way.
And this is serious information when it comes to the Senate. As I was also discussing with Scott this morning, we like to say our government has three autonomous branches, except that the makeup of the judicial branch is entirely at the mercy of the partisan makeup of the Senate: it's up to that branch as to who gets confirmed to the Supreme Court. So, guess what? The House flipping Democrat is all well and good, but has no bearing whatsoever on the number of file court justices President Fuckwit will push. I really never truly understood this point until this election -- even more than in 2016, when the hysteria was all about the party of the president who makes the nominations of judges to begin with. But the party that has the majority in the Senate is even more important, and has severe bearing on how successful the president is with that agenda.
In other words, the makeup of the judicial branch is entirely dictated by both the executive branch and half of the legislative branch. Why the fuck is judicial confirmation not up to the House, which is far more fairly representative of the electorate? Instead, we get senators from the least-populated states getting massively outsize influence on how our courts are stacked, as compared to the percent of the U.S. population they actually represent. It's insane.
So, a lot of this shit is still fairly dispiriting. But! Anything that will make President Fuckwit's life more difficult is good news, and the new House will absolutely do that. And, nonexistent-God willing, Robert Mueller. When it comes to that, though, it's probably best to take an "expect the worst and hope for the best" approach. I fear Shobhit is right that President Fuckwit is very, very likely to get re-elected in 2020, and that yesterday's elections will, taken on average, make that easier for him to accomplish. I'll never stop marveling that forty percent of this country approves of that man's job performance, which just proves one thing: it doesn't matter how vile the person is, people will stand behind the president, for no other reason that he managed to get the position. Yet again: it's utter insanity. Such is America.
There are several really fantastic things that did happen yesterday, though -- basically, the things that go far to almost-neutralizing the nausea created by the bad things. Such as:
*Two Native American women elected to Congress, one of them a lawyer lesbian -- in Kansas!
*The first-ever openly gay governor elected (in Colorado)
*29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress
*Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib is the first Muslim woman elected to Congress
*A record number of women elected to Congress (more than 100)
*Arguably the best news to come out of yesterday's election is Florida expanding voting rights for ex-felons. That state managed to keep Republicans in both the Senate and their governorship, but they were extraordinarily tight races. These extra voters could make all the difference in future elections. Granted, with a state legislature still controlled by the Republicans, Shobhit may very well be right that they'll just find other creative ways to suppress those votes. On the other hand, I'm sure people like the ACLU is poised and ready to challenge any such suppression. So we'll see how that goes.
Also, although most of Washington State's ballot measures did not go the way I voted, one of the most important did, making our state one of the few with the strictest gun control laws in the country. I'm pretty disappointed to see the "ban on taxing groceries" pass (although I did see one article use careful language, "making it harder" for other cities to follow Seattle's example -- but not impossible) and particularly the defeat of the carbon tax initiative. People who identify themselves as environmentalists came out against it because of it being imperfect, and I am so done with that fucking argument. Demanding perfection or nothing always gets us . . . nothing.
I really, really wanted the gorgeous (and also objectively awesome) Beto O'rourke to beat Ted Cruz for Texas Senator. Alas, it didn't happen -- which means the truly god-awful Ted Cruz remains for yet another six years. Barf me a river. It is telling, though, how incredibly tight that race was when Cruz won by a huge margin in 2012. I think there's a very good chance Cruz's days are still numbered, and he may be a lot easier to beat six years from now. And that will be a beautiful day.
As expected, Shobhit spent pretty much all evening last night keeping tabs on election results. I wasn't interested in being that obsessive about it, so I walked Denny Way to Fairview to catch the bus and barely make it on time to see a movie in the U District, Wildlife, starring Jake Gyllanhaal and Carey Mulligan, both of whom I am pretty big fans of, and directed by Paul Dano -- who I have long felt is a great actor, but I'm not sold just yet on him being a great director.
I went to see this basically by virtue of there being nothing better to choose from, and it has a rather high 80 rating at MetaCritic. It didn't impress me a great deal, honestly. It was fine -- I gave it a solid B. That makes it good enough to watch once but otherwise fairly forgettable.
Next week appears to start the late-in-the-year stretch of more movies I'm eager to see than I can maybe even keep up with. It may be a while before I'm again seeing something just because there was nothing better to choose from. Indeed, I would otherwise have seen Can You Ever Forgive Me? already, and I am very excited about that, but I knew Laney would be interested and so we are seeing it after our Happy Hour on Friday. This weekend I have too many other plans to see other movies in theatres on Saturday or Sunday probably, so I have no fewer than three movies scheduled on weeknights next week.
Anyway, I took the bus home after the movie, ate some of the very tasty tomato soup with a few vegetables and veggie sausage put in it that Shobhit made, and wrote my review while Shobhit kept on with his political commentary shows. By the time I was done with that, it wasn't much longer before I was getting ready for bed.
[posted 12:17 pm]