It may well be that the worst defeat for the Democrats in the 2016 election was not that Hillary Clinton lost, but that Democrats failed to take the Senate, which they had been widely predicted to control.
Even had Mrs. Clinton won the Presidency, it would have been a Pyrrhic victory at best. The Democratic agenda would have been dead in the water from January 3, 2017, the opening day of the 115th Congress. With the results of the 2018 elections, it would have remained dead. Since neither party could mount a veto-proof majority, Mrs. Clinton could have vetoed legislation but she would face huge challenges in getting such things as a budget through a hostile House.
Other than participating in a two-year game of “dueling investigations,” the House majority can do little more than posture and perhaps force more government shutdowns. They can prevent more fiscal damage but they can do little to heal the damage already done.
A real threat to Democratic prospects is the new House majority itself. Even before it’s seated in January, there is already a schism. The GOP Senate has far more unity and that’s even more true now that Arizona’s Jeff Flake has been replaced by the far more progressive Kyrsten Sinema. Flake was a weak link in the Republican majority. Perhaps the weak link new is the newly elected Rick Scott of Florida and, judging by his track record as governor, he doesn’t appear to be all that weak. The Republicans that replaced Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill are all more hard-line than the incumbents. Mitch McConnell doesn’t have to worry about Susan Collins. In fact, the Republicans could lose both the special election in Mississippi and the election that will be called to replace Jon Kyl in Arizona and still hold a winning hand because Mike Pence is still the tie-breaker.
You might say that Trump got his wall. Only instead of it being between the U.S. and Mexico, it’s between him and a hostile House of Representatives.