2020’s Biggest Election Losers

2020’s Biggest Election Losers, by Kimberley Strassel.

The jury is still out on who’ll occupy the Oval Office, but America’s verdict on liberal norm-busting is resounding. This election’s clearest losers were Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the public faces of the unhinged left.

The Democratic Party is split, and if Joe Biden prevails, it will be because he claims (accurately or not) to represent its moderate wing. He spent his campaign hiding from his party’s progressive agenda, and toward the end even disavowed parts of it. Mr. Biden’s greatest selling point was always his promise of a return to normalcy.

This was a hit on his own party. If Washington has been a circus these past four years, it is in substantial part due to congressional Democrats. Americans elect lawmakers to pass budgets, confirm judges, develop considered legislation. The Pelosi-Schumer era has been day after painful day of faux scandals, gotcha hearings, breathtaking accusations, progressive-fantasy bills and promises to dismantle longstanding institutions. It’s theater, not governance.

The press would normally check such behavior. Instead, Democrats and their media allies allowed their disdain for Donald Trump to lull them into believing they’d benefit. The liberal FiveThirtyEight election-analysis outfit in July mused on Twitter : “Could Democrats pick up 13 seats in the Senate?” — an estimate that now looks to be off by a mere 12. The accompanying video envisioned Democrats presiding over a “filibuster-proof majority.”

Establishment media outfits, polling companies and crystal-ball types swaggered into the election predicting the great blue wave would hand Mrs. Pelosi up to 15 more House seats. Instead she was handed her hat. Republicans have picked up at least six net seats in the House and could net up to a dozen. …

In the Senate, Republicans the press had written off weeks ago retained their seats, including Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Maine’s Susan Collins. Sen. Mitch McConnell is still favored to remain majority leader, though it may take a couple of Georgia runoffs to get there.

Politico reported that “shell-shocked” House Democrats spent Wednesday asking “What the hell happened?” — as if that’s in question. No doubt the left will come up with all manner of excuses, given time. But this result was a direct consequence — a rebuke — of the Pelosi-Schumer decision to let the lunatics run their asylum. Call Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler what you will, just don’t call them good politics.

What exactly did Mrs. Pelosi’s members have to run on? In two years, they’ve passed one bill of consequence: Mr. Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. They otherwise spent their time running investigations into unfounded claims of Russia collusion and supposedly fishy Trump finances. They ginned up an impeachment spectacle, with articles that listed no crimes. They refused to negotiate with the White House on further virus spending, infrastructure, immigration — solely to deny Mr. Trump any legislative accomplishments. Senate Democrats were no better, playing their own impeachment role and vowing that if they took power they’d pack the Supreme Court and admit the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as states to swell their own ranks in the upper chamber.

Mrs. Pelosi can’t claim to be surprised by what happened this week; she’s been through it before. In 2006, Minority Leader Pelosi recruited centrist candidates across the country and ran on a modest agenda of pocketbook issues. House Democrats picked up 31 seats, took the majority, and paved the way for Barack Obama’s election in 2008. Then Mrs. Pelosi gave license to her left wing, producing ObamaCare, climate-change legislation and spending blowouts. The response was the 2010 midterm, in which voters sacked dozens of those same Democrats and took away Mrs. Pelosi’s speakership. …

America remains a center-right country, and there is great political upside for politicians who govern in a center-right fashion. And real losses for those who don’t.