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Right and Left React to the Midterm Results

Right and Left React to the Midterm Results
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The results from Tuesday’s voting were projected at a Future Now Fund event in Brooklyn.CreditCreditYana Paskova for The New York Times

The political news cycle is fast, and keeping up can be overwhelming. Trying to find differing perspectives worth your time is even harder. That’s why we have scoured the internet for political writing from the right and left that you may not have seen.

Has this series exposed you to new ideas? Tell us how. Email us at ourpicks@nytimes.com.

The Editorial Board of The Washington Examiner:

“We got a normal midterm election, in a year and with a president we were told was anything but normal.”

Democrats fell far short of the “blue wave” they had expected, the editors say, and even underperformed historically. Indeed, Republicans lost fewer House seats in this midterm election (28) than Democrats did under President Barack Obama in 2006 (63) and President Bill Clinton in 1994 (54). This wasn’t a rebuke of President Trump, The Examiner argues, so much as a “modest disagreement.” Read more »

James P. Pinkerton in The American Conservative:

“On Tuesday, the voters showed that they prefer divided government; that is, they simply don’t trust either party to have all the marbles in Washington, D.C.”

It’s no surprise that voters put one party in charge of the House and another in charge of the Senate, Mr. Pinkerton writes: Americans don’t like power to be too concentrated, despite the gridlock that can bring. But the results of this election don’t necessarily predict what will happen in the next one. Divided government also gives both President Trump and House Democrats someone to blame the next time they run. Read more »

Megan McArdle in The Washington Post:

“Partisans seemed focused on the bright side: Democrats happily anticipating their House investigations, Republicans savoring their future judicial appointments. But eventually, these joys are likely to pall in the sight of the opposition’s ongoing victories, and partisans’ attentions will turn to what might have been, if they’d been a little more focused on practical politics and a little less focused on instant, evanescent victories in the culture war.”

This election was one of missed opportunities, Ms. McArdle writes. While it’s normal for the president’s party to lose seats in the midterms, Republicans shouldn’t have lost nearly so many given the strength of the economy. They weren’t helped by Mr. Trump’s inflammatory style, which turned off voters and drove many Republican lawmakers to retire. The Democrats, she argues, would have done better if they hadn’t been so insistent that Brett M. Kavanaugh was guilty of sexual assault. Read more »

Michael Warren in The Weekly Standard:

“There’s little chance Trump will be able to pass much meaningful legislation unless he embraces some more Democratic positions and convinces House Democrats that he won’t sell them down the river … And that’s assuming it’s even politically palatable for House Democrats to work with Trump, who is toxic to their party’s base.”

The situation for Republicans isn’t as rosy as Mr. Trump says it is, Mr. Warren argues. Democrats gained House seats across the country with support from suburban, educated, upper-middle-class voters who opted for Mr. Trump in 2016. Perhaps the G.O.P. can win without them in 2020, Mr. Warren says, “or perhaps the Republican coalition is weaker than Trump or anyone else realizes.” Read more »

John Cassidy in The New Yorker:

“Tuesday’s elections represented a significant rebuke to Trump. Not a killer blow, to be sure, but one that will have immediate consequences for him and his presidency.”

The Democrats had some remarkable wins, Mr. Cassidy writes, pointing to the governor’s races in Kansas and Wisconsin, congressional upsets in Virginia and Illinois and a seven-percentage-point margin in the popular vote. These results show that Republicans need to court women and young people, he argues, if they want to hold on to power well into the future. Read more »

Damon Young in The Root:

“I just can’t feel the optimism that I’ve been told I should feel about the Democrats winning back the House … Because what happened in Pittsburgh and in Kentucky and with the mail bombs should have torpedoed the entire Republican Party. It should have crashed Donald Trump’s entire foundation. It should have been a disaster for them, for Americans to be killed so close to an election by men merely following their leader, but it wasn’t.”

Mr. Young notes that the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, the wave of mail bombs last month and the killing of two black people at a Kentucky grocery store were all carried out by white men with politics reflective of Mr. Trump’s commentary and policies. If that didn’t lead Americans to at least reconsider voting Republican, “knowing that a red vote is a vote for terror and hate,” he despairs, then maybe nothing would. Read more »

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor in Jacobin:

“These are important repudiations of the white supremacy emanating from the White House. It was also a confirmation of the audience that exists for actual left politics, not watered-down centrism.”

Progressive victories in the midterms show that the answer to white nationalism is not “middle-of-the-road appeals to civility and good governance,” Ms. Taylor writes, but a “radical political agenda” that inspires voters to show up. She says progressive candidates who lost, like Beto O’Rourke in Texas and Andrew Gillum in Florida, were hampered by voter suppression and outright racism. Read more »

Virginia Heffernan in The Los Angeles Times:

“Nothing should distract us from the fundamental and urgent work for the Republic: rebuilding a nation founded on shared truth, on facts in common.”

The Trump presidency has been characterized by a hostility to truth, or even the idea of agreed-upon facts, Ms. Heffernan writes, with limited ability to push back on behalf of reality. But with a Democratic majority in the House, she says, “lies have some competition now.” Read more »

Peter Beinart in The Atlantic:

“The harsh truth is this: Racism often works. Cross-racial coalitions for economic justice are the exception in American history. Mobilizing white people to protect their racial dominance is the norm.”

While Democrats campaigned on protecting the Affordable Care Act, Republicans used anti-immigration scare tactics to animate their base, Mr. Beinart writes. In this sense, the approach of Mr. Trump and his allies represents politics as usual. (Mr. Beinart’s colleague David Frum makes a similar argument.) Read more »

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