The Blue Wave never came. Democrats gained 28 seats in the House, less than half of what Republicans gained in the 2010 midterms, and lost ground in the Senate. Moreover, three of their up-and-coming stars — Beto O'Rourke in Texas, Andrew Gillum in Florida, Stacey Abrams in Georgia — lost in spite of millions of dollars and much media hype.
Yet they do have the House. This, I think, will certainly be bad for the country. It means two years of gridlock and dysfunction, even worse than the gridlock and dysfunction that already plagued our government. But it's very possible that last night's results will prove greatly advantageous to President Trump. He may well have earned re-election in 2020 by losing the House in 2018.
The Democrats have made their plans very clear. They will spend the next two years launching investigations and wielding their subpoena power in a blatant attempt to settle political vendettas. Apparently the first item on their list is Trump's tax returns. The ultimate goal for them is impeachment, and I have no doubt that they will move toward that goal as swiftly as possible.
They will not be able to help themselves. They will not be able to focus on anything other than the dismantling of Trump's agenda and the personal destruction of Trump himself. That is the one thing they are interested in doing and the one thing their base demands they do. This can lead to one of two results:
1) They dig up something truly ruinous for the Trump administration and ultimately succeed in bringing him down.
2) They spend two years engaged in one witch hunt after another and never find anything especially damning. At best they embarrass Trump by revealing that he isn't as rich as he claimed (a fact that has already been pretty well established), and they make other anti-climactic breakthroughs in that same vein.
I can't say for sure which of these options will pan out, but the smart money has to be on the latter. And if that is how it ends up, the voters will almost certainly make the Grand Inquisitors pay a steep price in 2020. The Democrats already paid a steep price, and probably squandered their chances of taking the Senate, when they went all-in on the Kavanaugh smear campaign and came up empty. Their campaign against Trump will be ten times more intense and last for two years rather than two weeks.
If their anti-Trump crusade proves as fruitless as the anti-Kavanaugh crusade, it is hard to imagine just how thoroughly exhausted and sickened the electorate will feel 24 months from now. Trump won't even have to campaign at all. Nancy Pelosi will see to his re-election herself.