House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she’s confident she will win enough support to be elected speaker of the House next year, and that she is the best person for the job. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Opinion writer

Here’s some straight talk on the Republicans’ not-at-all victory. “Every half-intelligent analyst in the country looked at that map four years ago and said Republicans would likely pick up seats in South Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, and probably Montana, and would be favored in West Virginia . . . . If those analysts knew unemployment would be at a record-low level, with inflation still low by ordinary standards and no major international crisis, they would say Republicans would have an even-money chance to gain at least two additional seats from among Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota (two elections), Wisconsin, New Mexico, Virginia, Maine, and Ohio, while having a good chance of holding their seat in swing-state Nevada. In sum, the actual ‘break-even’ pickup number for Republicans on this map, in this economy, would be at least five seats, with six or seven more likely than three or four.”

A victory for checks and balances. “A serial liar heads the executive branch. The appearance of impropriety that surrounds him is unsurpassed in the post-Watergate era. And the Constitution charges Congress with checking his abuses. Republicans have disgraced themselves over the past two years by failing to probe matters as basic as what business relationships and other conflicts divide Trump’s loyalties between the country’s interests and his family’s interests as he presides over U.S. foreign policy. Now there is an opportunity to uncover the truth.”

You can win a political victory by defending the Constitution. “Voters in traditionally Republican districts in the suburbs joined those in more heavily Democratic communities to elevate Democrats to power as a check on Mr. Trump after he spent the past two years largely unconstrained by a compliant House and Senate led by Republicans.”

No victory for the anti-immigration crowd. “[A] review of this year and prior years’ results in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kansas, especially, make clear that running immigration restrictionists in anything but the safest, most pro-incumbent seats, is a dumb political bet. Argue about the policy all you want, but from a political standpoint, the message is pretty clear.”

When that many people vote, it’s a victory for democracy. “Approximately 114 million votes were cast in U.S. House races in 2018, compared to 83 million in 2014. .  . .  In Florida, more than 8 million voters cast ballots in the Senate matchup between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson, with 99% of the vote counted. Compare that to 6 million votes in the 2014 midterm and 5.5 million in 2010 — another wave election.”

When even a Fox personality gets it, consider it a victory for the rule of law. “The president can fire an Attorney General for almost any reason, but not for an improper purpose. He cannot fire him if the purpose of the firing is to shake up the leadership of the Justice Department in order to interfere with a criminal investigation that the President wants to interfere with. Now, the person who is now running the Justice Department told CNN . . . the best way to take care of Mueller is to dry up his funds. If that is the reason for which [Matthew G.] Whitaker is now the Acting Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Whitaker himself could be in the crosshairs of Bob Mueller.”

It’s a personal victory for her. “House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi celebrated a remarkable political comeback on Tuesday as the former speaker led her caucus back into the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives after eight years in the minority. . . .  Her focus on the bigger prize is one reason many of those who have served with the 15-term incumbent are reluctant to bet against her. If chosen by her caucus to lead the next Congress, Mrs. Pelosi would become the first House Speaker to regain the gavel after losing it since Sam Rayburn of Texas did so in 1953.”

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