Some Democrats read the election returns as symptoms of health because things could have been worse: “Happily, we have leprosy, not cholera.” But embracing the fallacy of false alternatives is not a step toward recuperation. Neither is continuing the attitude that Democrats adopted when passing Obamacare and that foretold their unhappy election: “No compromise with the voters!”…

On Oct. 1, Nancy Pelosi, referring to Republicans, said, “I would rather be where we are than where they are.” Now she is where they were – in the minority in the House. The Democrats’ House caucus will be smaller and more homogenously liberal. Their Senate caucus will be leavened by one freshman who got there by strongly criticizing the defining aspects of Obama’s agenda (Joe Manchin of West Virginia) and another who endorsed an important part of George W. Bush’s (Chris Coons of Delaware, who endorsed extension of all the Bush tax cuts).

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had 40 or 41 senators in his caucus, he usually had 40 or 41 votes when he felt he urgently needed them. Beginning in January, with at least 46 senators, he will always have 41 votes when he really wants them.