• Moon Mythbuster

FLASHBACK: Ding-Dong! Nancy Pelosi is not dead


Earlier this year Rep. Pelosi crashed through the capitol chamber’s skylight, riding her Speaker gavel like a broomstick, and made it clear: The coroner was wrong.

Before we look ahead to 2020, let’s recap what happened last November: Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in 2019. Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California resurrected from the grave and returned to the throne as Speaker of the House, where she previously reigned from 2007 to 2011. Young Democrats like our own representative, Conor Lamb, called for new leadership, but nevertheless Ms. Pelosi won the formal vote when the new Congress began their first session in January. She proceeded to impeach President Trump in December 2019 for "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress," although so far she has held back on sending the impeachment articles to the Senate for a trial.

Republicans ousted Nancy Pelosi from the speakership in the landslide 2010 midterm election, winning 63 House seats and flipping the House to GOP control. While 2018 Democrats did not outperform the GOP’s 2010 showing, they flipped the people’s chamber decisively, netting nearly 40 seats. Rep. Conor Lamb defeated incumbent Republican Keith Rothfus in the only U.S. House race where two incumbents faced each other, thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ordered last-minute redrawing of congressional districts.

The Senate story is different. Republicans not only held onto their majority, but they expanded it by two seats. Surprise wins in Florida and Indiana propelled former Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Trump acolyte Mike Braun to the new U.S. Senate.

Those who treasure liberty, life, free markets, and originalism and textualism in the courts, cheered the Senate results. The Senate has continued to confirm constitutionalists to the nation’s courts, and they may get to approve Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court if a vacancy opens before President Trump leaves office. Republicans dropped the ball on healthcare reform and some other priorities in President Trump’s first two years, so for now they missed out on fixing those failures, but divided government hasn’t been the worst thing ever — fewer legislative reforms has meant fewer chances for Congress to screw everything up.

The House results were not surprising, but they spell danger for the conservative movement if Republicans underestimate the situation’s seriousness. The Senate map is less favorable to the GOP in 2020, and now they will have to fight an uphill battle in the House. If President Trump wants to win re-election in 2020, and if he wants a Congress that will carry out his agenda, he needs to soften his tone and reach out to new voters. Suburban moms and other moderates detest the president’s style, often for good reason.

The president had a tough year and has another tough year ahead of him, between a potential Senate trial and a crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates. President Trump may still be “tired of winning,” but the political neophyte — still an apprentice himself — had better be careful. With the point of an electoral finger, the American people in 2020 could say the dreaded two words: “You’re fired.”

Fast facts about the 2018 midterm elections:

  • Democrats needed to net 23 seats to gain control of the House of Representatives; they gained 39

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker, resumed her role as Speaker of the House

  • Republicans retained control of the Senate, adding two seats

  • A runoff Senate election in Mississippi went to incumbent Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith despite a last-minute media controversy over past faux-paus comments

  • Democrats flipped Georgia’s 6th District, ousting Republican Karen Handel, where Handel had narrowly defeated Democrat Jon Osoff in a closely watched 2017 special election

  • Former Gov. Rick Scott defeated incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson in the Senate, making Marco Rubio the senior senator in Florida

  • Trump supporter Mike Braun ousted Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana

  • Democrats flipped suburban districts in Oklahoma (5th District), Iowa (1st and 3rd Districts), and New York (19th and 22nd Districts)

  • Republican Brian Kemp narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams — and her recount attempts — in the Georgia governor’s race

  • Incumbent Republican Ted Cruz defeated Democrat challenger Beto O’Rourke to retain his Senate seat

Seats to watch in 2020 (other than the president’s):

  • Republican-turned-independent Rep. Justin Amash (Michigan’s 3rd District)

  • GOP Rep. Scott Perry (Pennsylvania’s 10th District)

  • Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, the Democrat who upset the accused sexual offender Roy Moore in 2017

  • GOP Sens. McSally (Arizona), Gardner (Colorado), and Collins (Maine)

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