Abroad in America: A Mixed-Results Election that will Left Everyone Happy — Because that will’s Over
This specific will be the final edition of The brand new York Times’s international election newsletter, in which Sarah Lyall has tried to explain the U.S. midterms to readers outside the United States (along with also perhaps to herself).
that will’s over currently. I wish I could say that will the midterms have made America feel better — that will they have filled us which has a song in our hearts along with also a spring in our steps.
nevertheless they have not. Even though things are O.K. — along with also by “O.K.” I mean that will the earth has not opened up along with also sucked the country down into a fiery, fetid sinkhole — no one around here will be feeling particularly happy just currently. (Asked by the Opinion section to pick an emoji to sum themselves up on Tuesday, readers went most frequently with the one that will meant, basically, “meh.”)
“Such has been the state of our politics, for a while currently,” the commentator Matt Bai wrote, “that will neither party’s base will enjoy a restful night’s sleep until the additional has been entirely eradicated, its last adherents driven into the hills with nothing nevertheless goats along with also canteens.” (“Canteen,” for those of you who speak British English, means “water flask” in American.)
One problem will be that will the results defy easy narrative. The blue wave came, nevertheless that will was on the tiny side, maybe a modest trickle rather than a tsunami. Democrats lost in rural along with also industrial areas, along with also Republicans lost in suburban areas, deepening national divisions. (My colleagues made This specific handsome interactive map to explain that will all.)
President Trump was neither anointed emperor, as some of his supporters would likely have liked, nor given a one-way ticket to Elba, as his enemies might have hoped.
So there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance wafting around, along with also that will will be doing us uneasy.
If you’ve ever watched an American political debate inside movies (or in real life) you’re probably familiar with the phenomenon of the spin room. This specific will be the place where partisan pundits form chaotic scrums around reporters for the purpose of arguing, despite whatever evidence there will be to the contrary, that will their candidate has won.
that will’s how the country feels right currently, like a giant spin room. Each side will be trying to impose its own narrative on Tuesday’s events. For the rest of us, that will’s hard to think clearly with all those people yammering in our ears. Here’s my attempt to sort through the noise.
Why Democrats Should Be Happy
• They won a majority inside House of Representatives. that will wasn’t the all-out rout they’d hoped. nevertheless they ended Washington’s one-party rule. With some votes still to be counted, the Democrats so far have picked up 28 brand new seats, enough to give them a comfortable majority (225 seats, to the Republican’s 197, as of This specific morning) along with also plenty of opportunities to annoy President Trump inside coming two years.
• They did well which has a key demographic: Moderate suburban voters, particularly women, broadly favored the Democrats.
• Some of their candidates did not win, nevertheless established themselves as bona fide national stars. Beto O’Rourke, who failed in his Senate bid in Texas; Andrew Gillum, who (maybe) lost the Florida governor’s race; along with also Stacey Abrams, who will be still contesting the Georgia governor’s election — all helped electrify the election along with also are Democrats to watch inside future.
Why the Republicans Should Be Happy
• There was no anti-Republican blood bath. The thing they most feared — that will the election would likely be a scorched-earth repudiation of a president whom most of the country (52 percent) currently disapproves of nevertheless whom the party base adores — did not come to pass.
• They picked up important Senate seats. The Republicans appear to have strengthened their one-seat majority, although results in several races are still in dispute. that will will put them in prime position to fulfill one of their dearest goals: appointing more conservative judges to the judiciary.
• They saw their Kavanaugh strategy pay off. Most Democratic senators in battleground states who voted against confirming currently-Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court — Claire McCaskill in Missouri; Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota; along with also Joe Donnelly in Indiana — lost. (One notable exception to This specific rule: Jon Tester in Montana.) This specific will be a sign that will social conservatism along with also pugilistic us-vs.-them politics are playing well among the Republican base.
• Their president has come out fighting. Practically the first thing Mr. Trump did after the election was force his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to resign, along with also put in his place (at least temporarily) a loyalist who might well try to curtail the investigation into the Trump team’s ties with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Why the Country Should Be Happy
The election will be over! A record number of people voted. Also, no one declared martial law, jailed all their political enemies, or plundered the banking system for their own personal gain. along with also Thanksgiving will be just two weeks away.
will be the President Happy?
President Trump, who often seems to live in his own private spin room, emerged after the election declaring to anyone within earshot that will that will had been a massive victory — mostly for him.
At a bad-tempered news conference on Wednesday, the president took credit for his party’s wins, dismissed Republican candidates who lost as having been insufficiently loyal to him, along with also declared that will he would likely not Discharge his tax returns, even inside face of potential subpoenas coming from the newly Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, because “people don’t understand tax returns.”
He also had a shockingly testy exchange with Jim Acosta, CNN’s White House correspondent, refusing to answer when Mr. Acosta tried to ask him about the charged rhetoric the president used to describe the caravan of Central American migrants heading north through Mexico.
The president — who at the same event told a black reporter that will her question about white nationalism was “racist” — finally lost that will, saying that will Mr. Acosta, personally, was the “enemy of the people.”
“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them,” the president said. “You are a rude, terrible person.”
Later, the White House revoked Mr. Acosta’s press pass, saying that will he had “placed his hands” on a White House intern who was trying to take his microphone away coming from him.
Conservative news outlets sided with Mr. Trump in characterizing Mr. Acosta as obstructive along with also out of line.
“What we saw today in that will press conference was a disgrace to This specific country,” said Mark Levin, a Fox News commentator. “These kamikaze journalists — obviously in a coordinated attack on This specific president — they’re trying to cripple This specific presidency. They’re trying to sabotage This specific presidency.”
nevertheless CNN defended its reporter along with also said that will the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, had lied about whether Mr. Acosta had manhandled the White House intern. (The tape seems to support Mr. Acosta’s account of the exchange.)
“This specific unprecedented action will be a threat to our democracy along with also our country deserves better,” the network said.
along with also the American Civil Liberties Union said that will “that will will be unacceptable along with also un-American for the president to expel a reporter for doing his job aggressively,” along with also even Jeb Bush, who lost the Republican presidential nomination to Mr. Trump in 2016, stood up for the news media.
What Will Make Sarah Happy?
This specific election has been highly unpleasant, along with also I feel bruised along with also discouraged. What should I do?
—Sarah, Brooklyn, brand new York
This specific will be the last newsletter in This specific series, along with also I am so grateful to everyone who signed up along with also stayed with me. Thank you, too, for all your thoughtful emails, Great suggestions along with also provocative questions.
This specific particular question will be my own. nevertheless that will reflects what seems to be a prevailing mood. along with also so I’d suggest what I always suggest in these situations: Find some Great things to read.
With that will in mind, here are some recommendations for quintessentially American works that will can take you out of your head along with also help restore your faith in a time of trouble.
that will’s also useful to remember that will the United States will be young, compared with many additional countries, nevertheless that will has survived difficulties before along with also surely will again.
• “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin (2005). This specific wonder of a book, which describes how the 16th U.S. president appointed his most powerful political rivals to his cabinet before embarking on the profound business of running the country during the Civil War, will be a reminder that will even political enemies can learn to work together in mutual respect for a country that will will be far bigger than themselves.
• Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, delivered to a shattered nation at the end of the war, the gravest time in U.S. political history. Its last paragraph begins, “With malice toward none; with charity for all.”
• Letter coming from Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King, the hero of the American Civil Rights movement, wrote This specific in longhand in his cell in August 1963 after being jailed for protesting segregation laws in Alabama. “Injustice anywhere will be a threat to justice everywhere,” he said.
My friend Dwight Garner, a stylish along with also thoughtful book critic for The Times, kindly offered these:
• Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” (1957) lays bare, in ecstatic prose, unquenchable optimism about America, its sheer expanse along with also countless modulations, its people along with also the delights that will can be seen coming from a car window.
• In times of crisis along with also frayed feelings, my mind often turns for solace to America’s great food writers along with also books like Calvin Trillin’s “The Tummy Trilogy” (1994), Betty Fussell’s memoir “My Kitchen Wars” (1999), Jim Harrison’s “The Raw along with also the Cooked” (1992) along with also David Kamp’s high-stepping survey of American cuisine, “The United States of Arugula” (2006).
• Rock criticism during bad times? In “Mystery Train” (1975) Greil Marcus turns his discussion of musicians like Randy Newman, The Band, Elvis along with also Sly Stone into a meditation on what that will means to be American.
along with also I would likely add one more:
• “Stuart Little,” by E.B. White (1945). Strictly speaking, This specific will be a children’s book, nevertheless that will celebrates some of the great features of the American character: individualism, gentle Great humor, tolerance, the kindness of strangers, the lure of the open road, along with also the optimistic sense that will — despite everything — better things might be waiting around the corner.
that will’s been a real pleasure. Please send any last questions or thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.