You know, it’s a pretty major disappointment to see James Thompson lose in the Kansas special election. I’m not surprised, by any means, but I am sad. It’s not that the national party needed another House seat–we’d still be in the minority, so it wouldn’t overly matter. But Kansas Democrats needed this moral victory, and I think the national party also needs some kind of moral victory. Maybe it will come in Georgia–although their run-off system currently does not favor us.
A lot of Democrats have spent the last year exceeding expectations, only to come up short at the last minute. Whether you supported Bernie in Iowa or Hillary on November 8th, you know pointedly and painfully what it’s like to almost change the world. And despite the fact that Thompson was running a campaign on a much smaller scale, his achievement is real and it is important. Republicans were barely able to defend this seat at great cost, in a district Trump won by 30%. And if Democratic leaders are watching, they should take this note from Sanders playbook that–even the reddest districts can be in play if you run the right campaign. I don’t know if we would have won this race if there had been more national support–that’s the narrative that’s increasingly growing but I don’t know.
As has recently and repeatedly been the case, we Democrats must find some way to take pride in having done something amazing, even as we accept that it was not enough to win. But, nonetheless, if this is any sign of what’s to come in 2018, Trump and the Republicans are in for a royal reckoning. So perhaps there’s some comfort, ultimately, in that.