With the midterm election is just over seven months away, many Democrats, progressives and others are hoping for a big Democratic win. A big enough blue wave in November could give the Democrats a majority in the House of Representatives, control of several more state legislatures and put a few more Democratic governors in power. The US Senate appears to be out of reach for the Democrats, but a big enough wave could give them fifty seats there, weakening an already imperiled functional Republican majority in the Senate.
A Democratic win will shakeup Washington and almost immediately put the breaks on the right wing excesses of the Trump administration. However, it will not restore democracy in American government and may raise as many big picture questions as it answers. It is imperative to understand that with 67 votes needed in the Senate for a conviction following an impeachment by the house, Trump will not be impeached by a Senate that has 50, or even 48, Republicans.
Instead, if the the Democrats take control of the House, three things will happen. First, the Trump legislative agenda will grind to a halt. That is something worth fighting for and a good reason for progressives to redouble their efforts as we move towards November. Second, if the Democrats in the House are smart they will pass a lot of legislation around taxes, the economy, health care and education. None of these will become law, or even pass the Senate, but it will allow the Democrats to frame a progressive vision going into 2020. Third, the House will embark on numerous investigations of the corruption, shady dealings and troubling relationship with the Kremlin that has been at the core of this presidency going back to the campaign itself.
There is nothing wrong with any of these approaches, but to think that this victory alone, even if followed by the election of a Democratic president in 2020 will solve the problem, is to underestimate the gravity of what is happening to American democracy. The damage that Trump has done by creating seeding a deep hostility among his base to the media or towards any reality with which they disagree, the racial tensions that has exploited for his own political gain and correspondingly the white supremacists who he has empowered and the ongoing weakening of the democratic norms that are the political sinews that have made our system work in the past, are not going to be reversed in one, two or even more elections.