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Monday, November 12, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.

 

A massive wave of voters marched to the polls and delivered a searing, unambiguous message: It’s time to put the speaker’s gavel back where it belongs.

Right back in the capable hands of Nancy Pelosi.

Multiple news organizations — including NBC News, CNN, and CBS — are projecting that Democrats will gain at least 23 seats in the House of Representatives, enough to wrest control away from complicit Republicans. Democrats are likely to pick up even more seats as Election Day results continue to come in over the next few days and even weeks.

After two years of relentless organizing, marching, campaigning, donating, and — finally — voting, Democrats sent a stinging rebuke to Trump, who spent the closing days of the election in a hate-filled tizzy of campaign rallies as a desperate attempt to maintain Republican control.

A record number of womenLGBTQ individuals, and people of color ran for office this year on the kind of bold, progressive platform Pelosi has been fighting for: passing common-sense gun safety legislation, fighting for a higher minimum wage, protecting Dreamers by passing the DREAM Act, and expanding access to affordable health care.

And their efforts paid off.

While Democrats ran on a positive message, one figure still cast a long shadow over the midterms: Trump.

But Democrats have a plan for him, too.

The new Democratic majority in the House will restore integrity to a chamber that has been defiled by feckless Trump loyalists who refused to uphold their constitutional duties as a co-equal branch of government.

Reclaiming the majority means Democrats will take over as the chairs of powerful committees that set the House’s agenda, hold key hearings — and, yes, issue subpoenas.

For example, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) will likely take over as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. He will depose Trump sycophant Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who has spent the past 18 months running a sham investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is in line to take over the Financial Services Committee, and she would have the power to subpoena Trump’s tax returns.

Trump’s Cabinet, which has been mired in a cesspool of corruption, will have a rude awakening once Democrats start exercising their rightful oversight role.

None of these changes would be possible without two years of unparalleled activism from progressives across the nation.

Shortly after the 2016 election, a couple of distraught congressional staffers created a GoogleDoc to help people resist the Trump agenda. That effort turned into Indivisible, one of the largest grassroots organizing groups in the country, with chapters in every single congressional district.

Women, angry and determined to push back against Trump’s misogyny, organized the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history. The Women’s March, held the day after Trump’s sparsely attended inauguration, sparked two years of well-organized, women-led resistance activism across the country.

EMILY’s List, a group focused on helping pro-choice Democratic women to run for office, was flooded with tens of thousands of women interested in running for public office, from city council to the U.S. Senate.

In early 2018, the nation was stunned as 17 people, including 14 students, were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a former student wielding an AR-15 assault rifle. In the aftermath, students who survived that nightmare emerged a leaders of a nationwide gun safety movement, sparking the March for Our Lives and inspiring a surge of young people to vote out NRA-funded lackeys.

All of these efforts paid off.

After kowtowing to Trump for two years, a defeated Paul Ryan is limping away from Congress in abject failure. His integrity long ago sacrificed on the altar of Trump, Ryan’s legacy as an inept leader will live on as generations foot the bill for the massive deficits he oversaw — all to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.

Ryan was inexplicably hyped as a “policy wonk,” but history will remember him as just another far-right, Ayn Rand-worshipping hack.

In all likelihood, Pelosi will reclaim her speaker’s gavel and begin the long, hard job of setting right what Ryan did so wrong.

Pelosi — who shepherded the Affordable Care Act through the House, fought for tougher financial regulations of Wall Street in the Dodd-Frank Act, and helped ensure the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed — will once again bring true leadership to the speaker’s chair.

While flipping the House from red to blue is critical, it is not the only victory Democrats have worked so hard to achieve.

In the days and weeks to come, stories of triumphant Democrats at the local, state, and congressional level will continue to emerge, helping ensure a progressive agenda at all levels of government.

The resistance to Trump scored a critical, much-needed victory on Tuesday.

Now the real work of fixing all he has broken, and holding him accountable, begins.