But before the Democrats get too excited, they should take a breath.
First, the ‘blue wave’ they were hoping for did not materialise. Mainstream media analysts in the US expressed their disappointment with the results. CNN’s Jake Tapper, for example, commented as the results came in that: ‘A lot of the Republicans who were critics of President Trump . . . they are being defeated.’
Nor did any of the new ‘progressive’ (no one calls them ‘alt Left’) Democrats burst on to the scene:
‘If the 2018 midterms prove anything, it is that Trump is standing strong while Democrats and their allies who thought Trump would have been affirmatively rejected are in fact the ones who have themselves been denied,’ wrote Ed Rogers of the Washington Post. What no liberal wants to admit, he argues, is that Trump is as much of an asset to the Republican Party as President Barack Obama was a disaster for the Democratic Party.
Despite the near non-stop condemnation of Trump across the media in the run-up, despite all those expressions of liberal distaste and outrage, Trump has been vindicated. He’s been vindicated in going for the culture war over the booming economy to sell his ticket on. He’s turning out to be a brilliant and pugnacious politician. He deliberately chose immigration, to be tough on it, and go for the very thing that the ‘bleeding heart’ Democrats thought they could shame him over, disparage and smear him with. Instead of kowtowing he went full frontal, and, turning the tables, exposed them as having only words of virtue, no policies and blindly in denial of a real and imminent crisis.
The lesson of the midterms is not that Trump’s crudeness worked but that his policy concerns and priorities did – that he, unlike the Democrats, was prepared to protect ordinary Americans, of whatever background, come what may.
If he horrified liberal sensibilities with his crime rhetoric about the migrant ‘caravans’ approaching the border, arguably the Left’s response – casting his championship of America First, his ‘Americentric’ definition of national interest, as ‘white nationalism’ was equally offensive to ordinary Americans, even slanderous.
And, as with the BBC over here, with the exception of Fox News the networks didn’t wise up as the campaign went on. The more horrified they became, the more the accusations of xenophobia, bigotry and racism were hurled from their studios, the more Trump determined to ‘trigger’ them at the next rally.
The response at times was almost comical. James Naughtie, reporting for Radio 4’s Today programme earlier this week from West Virginia, could barely disguise his emotions. In a voice trembling with outrage, he asked how, when there was so little immigration there, could West Virginians be bothering about it, let alone complaining about it? I won’t begin to ask, according to this logic, how physically close an experience has to be to justify caring about it. His imputation was that their concern was irrational, they must have been stoked up.
Immune to his own hyperbole, the overwrought Naughtie told us that Trump’s campaign weapons were anger and fear. Ratcheting up his own rhetoric, he said that there was ‘sulphur in the air’. The irony. What Trump was ‘waiting for’ was immigration which ‘necessitates troops being sent to the border to save America’, as though it was an alien invasion.
If Naughtie had a criticism of the Democrats at all, it was not about their denial of America’s illegal immigration crisis, but a presentational one – their failure to find ‘a language that cuts through the toxic political atmosphere’, to find that magical ingredient to counter it.
There is nothing magical about it all. Either they believe in opening America’s doors to the world or they believe in its right to be a nation state with borders. Either they accept the necessity of immigration controls and their enforcement, or they condone criminality.
What do they propose to do about the migrant caravans? No Democrat interviewed on the BBC seemed to know, and the nice BBC did not embarrass them by persisting with the question. Instead they persisted with their Trump outrage fest.
They could have pointed out that rhetoric apart from Trump’s immigration policy is little different to that of his predecessors. This is what the legendary Ann Coulter reminded the forgetful Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday. She pointed out too that Mr Trump is not divisive – that he speaks across class and race divides to ordinary Americans.
‘It’s been two years, he hasn't built a wall.’ Trump supporter Ann Coulter says that Donald Trump's position on immigration is ‘not divisive’ and is ‘inclusive'#ElectionNight pic.twitter.com/KOu6wXxZoR
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) November 7, 2018
The Democrats fell into a trap of their own making. Refusing to acknowledge that the migrant trains approaching the southern border demand exceptional action, they handed Trump an open goal.
He could now take Ann Coulter’s advice (as he has done in the past) and give a serious Oval Office address on the immigration crisis to say: ‘I might have used some wild rhetoric at times, and campaigns are heated, but I think we need to protect the people who are already here.’
He could agree, too, that there was much discussion during the campaign about ‘who we are as a country’ and what America is all about. Well, a lot of it, he could remind them, seems to be about supporting him and his policies. If Nancy Pelosi’s emollient words of promise on bipartisan working mean anything, Trump could suggest that this, on immigration, is where it should start.
Who’ll be divisive if they refuse?
As for the media and Robert Mueller: he doesn’t need to tell them. He is still a winner.