In what passes for tradition here at Wickersham’s Conscience, we spend the last week of each year thinking about the year that is ending, and making our wishes for the coming year. This second blog post is firmly in that tradition.
Traditionally, Wickersham’s Conscience notes the five best things that happened in the year just ending. This year, it’s tough. It has truly been a kidney stone of a year. WC hopes you will forgive him a bit for groping to find the following five things to celebrate.
1. Trump’s approval ratings remain very low.
Throughout all of 2018, Trump’s general approval rating remained at historic lows. The FiveThirtyEight website tracks averages of all polls, and has a majority of Americans, ranging from 54 to 57% disapprove of President Trump’s performance. only between 37 to 42% of Americans approve of Trump’s performance. Yes, it’s pretty shocking that as many as 42% of Americans approve of the madness. That’s a long term problem. The short term problem is getting those who disapprove to vote and vote sensibly in the 2020 election.
2. Democrats regained control of the U.S. House.
It’s not unusual for the party out of power to gain seats the in U.S. House in the midterm elections. But the Democrats did a surprisingly good job, gaining 40 seats, more than enough to give them a comfortable majority. That should serve as a brake on some of Trump’s excesses. Not judicial or other confirmation processes, which only require a senate vote. And it should ramp up the inquiry into the many, many areas where Trump appears to have broken the law. All that assumes that the Democrats can avoid infighting, never a safe assumption. But in the face of a greater threat, perhaps they can remain unified.
3. Women made immense progress in all levels of elections.
At least 92 had won in the House and 10 had won in the Senate (joining 10 already in the upper chamber) for a total of 112 women. That’ the most women to serve in Congress at once in history. The previous record was 107. Sure, it’s still only 21% but call it a hopeful sign. WC recognizes that women can be just as dangerous in elective office as men – Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman would be examples. But we’ve tried Old White Men for a couple of centuries now and it has kind of gotten us where we are.
4. Scott Kawasaki beat Pete Kelly.
Yes, this is just an Alaska State Senate race, but Pete Kelly has been a boil on the butt of common sense for too long, the author of too much that has gone wrong in Alaska. Scott Kawasaki took a big risk giving up his safe House seat to go after Pete Kelly’s severely gerrymandered senate seat. And brought it off. If Fairbanks can bring that off, so can North Pole and Wasilla.1
5. Mueller Continued to Make Progress.
WC is not so naive as to believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller III will find such incontrovertible evidence as to sway the Republicans to vote to convict Trump on a House bill of impeachment. Or to override the long-standing Department of Justice policy against indicting sitting presidents. But Mueller’s investigation has been a spectacular success so far. He has demonstrated a methodical, unrelenting approach that seems likely to result in convictions of many Trump family members. And produce a report which will put strong pressure on Congress.
You may have your own favorites, but the choices are pretty skimpy. Feel free to offer them in comments. WC remains optimistic that we’ll have more and happier choices in 2019.
- If you live in Idaho, substitute Raul Labrador losing the Idaho gubernatorial primary to Brad Little, improving Congress and the state governorship at the same time. ↩