News & Politics

‘This Will Be Fun to Watch’: Why One Prominent Columnist Is Urging Democrats to Savor the Blue Wave — and Hold President Trump Accountable

For the first time in his presidency, Trump faces a Democratic Party with real power.

Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull

On November 3—three days before Election Day 2018—NBC’s long-running “Saturday Night Live” featured a hilarious skit making fun of nervous Democratic voters who were trying to fake optimism but feared that a blue wave wouldn’t come about. Liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, however, had been reassuring pessimistic Democrats, urging them to cheer up because the chances of a blue wave were, in fact, quite good. It turns out that Robinson’s optimism was justified: Democrats obtained a majority in the House of Representatives and won well over 300 seats in state legislatures as well. And Robinson enjoys some good-natured gloating in his latest Washington Post column—asserting that Democrats should savor their victory and enjoy the many ways in which they will be able to hold President Donald Trump accountable in 2019.

“This will be fun to watch,” Robinson gloats. And Robinson describes some of the reasons why he believes it will be so much fun.

“For the first time,” Robinson asserts, “Democrats have the power to hold Trump accountable. The next House speaker—almost surely the current minority leader, Nancy Pelosi—will name a new set of committee chairmen who can call hearings, compel testimony and subpoena documents. Pelosi indicated Wednesday that oversight of the administration will be surgical rather than scattershot, but that it will indeed be performed. She and her leadership team have been plotting their first steps.”

But Pelosi, Robinson adds, isn’t the only House Democrat who will be making life uncomfortable for Trump in 2019—The Donald will also have Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. Maxine Waters to contend with. 

“Consider the House Intelligence Committee,” Robinson explains. “The outgoing chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., did everything in his power to protect Trump from any serious investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign. The incoming chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is a Harvard Law graduate and former federal prosecutor who knows how to systematically peel away layers of obfuscation and deception to reach the truth.”

Robinson, a frequent guest on MSNBC, elaborates, “Think of the Government Oversight Committee under the leadership of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who will conduct actual oversight of an administration that plays fast and loose with the rules. Think of the Financial Services Committee under Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., whom Trump describes as ‘low-I.Q.’ in racist tweets—and who is set to plumb the Trump Organization’s cozy relationship with Deutsche Bank.”

In his column, Robinson also has fun pointing out that Trump was “in such a bad mood” during a November 7 press conference when he called PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor a “racist” and described CNN’s Jim Acosta as a “rude, terrible person.”

“It was all straight from the Trump playbook: attack the media, encourage whites to feel aggrieved, display a cartoonish toughness, never give an inch,” Robinson writes. “But it all seemed frantic and overdone, as if Trump were trying to convince himself that he could handle the difficulties to come.”

Robinson also addresses Democrats who are disappointed because of losses in certain high-profile races—for example, Beto O’Rourke’s loss to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas. The columnist asserts, “A bigger wave would have been nice, but control of the House was the Big Enchilada of this election—and Democrats grabbed it. Trump’s life is about to change in ways he will not like.”

Robinson concludes, “Tuesday was a turning point because now, the majority of Americans, who reject Trump and Trumpism, have real power. The president acted Wednesday as if he knows the second two years of his administration will be nothing like the first two years. He is right.”

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Alex Henderson is a news writer at AlterNet and veteran political journalist. His work has also appeared in Salon, Raw Story, Truthdig, National Memo, Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, L.A. Weekly, MintPress News and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter @alexvhenderson.