Good News In The NY Times

By

Leonard Zwelling

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/07/opinion/swartz-beto-cruz-texas.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion&action=click&contentCollection=opinion&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=sectionfront

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/06/opinion/iran-saudi-arabia-thelma-louise.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion-columnists

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/06/opinion/james-comey-election-trump.html

It’s the morning after Election Day and for those who had hoped that somehow Beto O’ Rourke could upset Ted Cruz for a seat in the U. S. Senate, it’s not sunny. But as the first of the links from Mimi Swartz suggests, this is not the end for Beto at all. He may start running for John Cornyn’s seat that may be open in 2020 or he may just forego all the preliminaries and start a bid for the White House right now. Personally, I wish he would as the other candidates offer very little beyond experience (i.e., age) (Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders) and credentials (i.e., in Senate) (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris). None of these people will beat Donald Trump although if Biden were ten years younger he might have a chance. But he’s not and he won’t. Beto is the most Obama-like figure the Dems have. He may as well get on with the inevitable and go for broke.

The likely defeat of Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacy Abrams in Georgia suggests that America still has a racial divide it can’t quite get past as both of these people were superior candidates to the ones who beat them. But they too, like Beto, got close.

The second column is by a perennial favorite, Tom Friedman and tells the tale of the failed Obama cozying up to Iran and the equally fraught Trump wooing of Saudi Arabia. He likens both of these countries to Thelma and Louise driving off the edge of the Grand Canyon only in separate cars. I agree. Our putative relationship with neither country amounted to much and our best path is just to be rid of foreign oil and let those countries muddle through their own bad decisions without our help.

Finally. James Comey—yes, that James Comey—writes about what he is perceiving as he travels around America. He believes the dark days of Trump dividing us are coming to an end just as previous eras of darkness have closed from a rise of the KKK in the 1920s to the McCarthy Era of the 1950s. Comey believes there is a basic streak of goodness in America that places us in an upward trajectory, even if that trajectory is rather jagged and ragged as it moves ever higher.

I think that these three pieces are sobering ways to try to digest the results of these mid-terms that saw the election of more Democratic governors, more Republican senators and more Democratic congressmen (and more importantly women, over 100 in Congress for the first time).

The economy is better than it has been in recent years. How much of that is attributable to Mr. Trump is hard to discern, but it is not nothing. His anti-regulatory instincts have undoubtedly eased anxiety in the business sector to some extent. And you can’t quibble with 3.7% unemployment unless you are closing the border to the labor that is so desperately needed.

We do have a new rock star in Texas and he may well be on his way to having a real impact in the state and maybe even in the country.

America is woke to the fact that this is no longer only white, male America.

It has also woke to the fact that we probably really don’t have any reliable allies in the Middle East beyond Israel and we should stop pretending that we do or that we even can.

Finally, I share Mr. Comey’s optimism. History is on our side even as the Trump aberrancy has its antecedents in the history of American scoundrels as well.

As Mr. Comey is telling the people he meets as he travels the country, we will recover from all of this. As the cast in Avenue Q sings, even George Bush was just “for now.”

Donald Trump will no more be the end of free America than Beto’s recent campaign is the end of the Beto story. Stay tuned. There’s hope.

Leonard Zwelling