So you have a House majority. Congratulations are in order. It’s been a hard-fought campaign, one of the hardest waged that we can recall.
More than once we have heard voters say in recent weeks that this was the most important election of their lifetimes. The morning after a win such as you had in Congress last night is hardly the time to quibble.
You have a mandate, and we do not have to wait for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who has already given good and loyal service, to interpret it.
President Donald Trump was on the ballot yesterday. He said so and he made it so. It was almost a dare. So were decency and civility, former President Barack Obama claimed. We hope he was right, too.
Still, last night, The Resistance took the People’s House and today there is no shame in saying it. This is just how it is all supposed to work – at the polls, not in the streets of Portland, Oregon, or even in the Senate gallery.
So you have a mandate to resist Trump, and to be civil and let decency prevail. You must also be effective because we all can see 2020 from here.
The question is, how will you resist Trump? By now you have heard free advice from many quarters warning not to turn this into a subpoena-fueled extravaganza. Do not overreach, they say. Do not pull a Newt Gingrich and try to shut it down.
They are right. So the answer is: by getting things done.
Pelosi said infrastructure will be one of your three priorities. Listen to her. All of the people want this.
Get busy figuring out how to pay for a multi-trillion-dollar investment in roads, tunnels, airports and high-speed rail that will be more popular than beer, without raising taxes.
Just replacing every bridge is not the answer. Plan for the future. Sooner or later, our roads will be dominated by autonomous electric vehicles — plan for that.
Thousands of miles of surface and garage parking will no longer be needed, much of it publicly owned, much of it prime urban real estate. Sell it to help finance your great public works.
Tie your infrastructure package to the cities and towns of the future and carve your names upon it. It will be your strongest suit in 2020.
A lot of voters yesterday sent you to Congress to fix health care. Specifically, they do not want you to support dropping mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions, as the Republican House majority before you just did.
We also find it hard to believe there is much support for bringing back the mandate and putting the IRS in Blue Cross’ business again.
Take this opportunity to do something new. Find a Senate Republican ally who can work with you to craft legislation that sets the stage for the future, which surely is some form of socialized medicine, without going there yet. Big steps and small steps, just like a tennis player.
You will also have to get in a room with health care providers and private insurers, just as your predecessors did to craft the Affordable Care Act.
All you need is incremental progress from here. Make coverage more affordable. Keep your eyes on that ball.
It is an exciting time for you, not least because of all the things you are going to get done. Be bold, happy warriors and keep your powder dry.