I find it helpful to contrast the real America, the place we actually live, with what I think of as “Senate America,” the hypothetical nation implied by a simple average across states, which is what the Senate in effect represents.
We’re all Americans, and we all deserve an equal voice in shaping our national destiny.
Not to put too fine a point on it: What Donald Trump and his party are selling increasingly boils down to white nationalism — hatred and fear of darker people, with a hefty dose of anti-intellectualism plus anti-Semitism, which is always part of that cocktail. This message repels a majority of Americans. That’s why Tuesday’s election in the House — which despite gerrymandering and other factors is far more representative of the country as a whole than the Senate — produced a major Democratic wave.
So what happened Tuesday, with Republicans getting shellacked in the House but gaining in the Senate, wasn’t just an accident of this year’s map or specific campaign issues. It reflected a deep division in culture, indeed values, between the American citizenry at large and the people who get to choose much of the Senate.
We may, then, be looking at a growing crisis of legitimacy for the U.S. political system — even if we get through the constitutional crisis that seems to be looming over the next few months.
Writes for The New York Times.