Opinion writer

* Mike DeBonis reports that at least some Republicans are worried about the effect of their losses yesterday on the tax cut effort:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said the losses could shape the tax bill going forward.

“I mean, it could, because the elections went against the Republicans,” Hatch said in a brief morning interview.

Asked whether he is feeling pressure to tilt the tax plan’s benefits more toward the middle class, Hatch said, “I think we’ve been moving that way anyway.”

But House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said that he intended to move full steam ahead on a House plan that would cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over 10 years but deliver the bulk of the cuts to corporations and the wealthy.

“It doesn’t change my reading of the current moment,” Ryan said of the elections during a morning event hosted by the Washington Examiner. “It just emphasizes my reading of the current moment, which is: We have a promise to keep, and we have to get on with keeping our promise.”

Paul Ryan will not be deterred from his holy mission.

* But really, everything is fine, and Republicans have nothing to worry about:

The White House was in damage control mode on Wednesday as it sought to deflect blame for Tuesday’s sweeping electoral losses and reassure Republicans who fear President Trump’s unpopularity will cost them at the polls in 2018.

Democrats view Tuesday as the start of a nationwide voter uprising against Trump. The party coasted to victory in governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, while cutting into GOP majorities in statehouses across the country.

A person familiar with the president’s political operation dismissed the notion that an anti-Trump wave is building, arguing that Democrats had merely held on in states they were expected to win. New Jersey is a deep-blue state, and Virginia has gone for the Democrat in the last three presidential elections.

Maybe they’ve had so much winning they’ve gotten tired of all the winning, but in a little while they’ll get back to winning.

* Michael Kruse talks to Trump voters in western Pennsylvania and finds they really don’t care whether he keeps his promises or not — they’re sticking with him forever.

* Ruth Ben-Ghiat explains how Trump is poisoning our collective mind with his endless stream of authoritarian trial balloons.

* Dan Witters reports that the Gallup and Sharecare index of well-being declined this year for the first time in three years, mostly because Democrats are feeling worse about everything.

* Here’s a new memo from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that lays out how Dems view next year’s elections, based on yesterday’s results.

* Susan Demas discusses some lesser-noticed election results that show the Trump effect spreading as far as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

* Jonathan Chait takes stock of Trump’s private efforts to persuade Democrats to support the GOP tax bill, and finds that, miraculously, they are more dishonest and stupid than his public efforts.

* Neta Crawford reports that the total cost of America’s post-9/11 wars has now reached $5.6 trillion. But hey, it’s not like we could have used that money for anything else.

* The National Democratic Redistricting Committee points to a remarkable illustration of the power of gerrymandering: Democrats beat Republicans by 53-44 in the popular vote for the Virginia House of Delegates, but they’re essentially tied in seats.

* At The Week, I raised the possibility that the Trump crew was too stupid to mount a genuine collusion conspiracy.

* And Melanie Schmitz flags the Fox News chyron of the day, which explains what happened in Virginia:

Republican Gillespie loses VA governor’s race after failing to fully embrace Trump

Yeah, that’s exactly why Gillespie lost.