Congratulations, America!

You took a first step last night in restoring the checks and balances that have made President Donald Trump a virtual dictator for the last two years. The lack of a Democratic hold on the House, Senate, or Supreme Court over the past two years has created the zero accountability situation that gave Trump free reign.

I'm feeling so much relief and new hope this morning. My faith in America is igniting again.

I'm heartened by the unusually strong voter turnout that sent more women than ever to Congress. The new cohort includes the first two Indigenous women elected to Congress.

As a dual citizen of Canada and America, I'm feeling happy to see steps forward for women in government across the border.

And, although some of the Democrats' shining lights might not have won this time–– Stacey Abrams, competing for the governor's race in Georgia may ask for a recount and Beto O'Rourke was narrowly defeated by Ted Cruz in Texas –– they'll be back. This is the beginning, not the end for both. They each made history, demonstrating the presence in the South of many progressive voters who will continue to strengthen over the next two years.

I was pessimistic when the night began. Sitting with friends in a Kitsilano living room, we were all braced for the worse.

The last two years under an American government completely controlled by the Republican Party of Trump have been harrowing, and depressing. It looked to me like they had torn the fundamentals of democracy to shreds.

Listening to the BBC on the way to my friends' house, a Democratic victory was being predicted for the House. But I just couldn't believe it yet. Then the results poured in, and it became clear that America's institutions haven't been destroyed and the intentions of the Founding Fathers, that a government of the people and for the people, would be an ideal that would live past them, seemed plausible.

America's democracy lives.

"We have a crooked path and it's time to make that crooked path straight," said Alexandrio Ocasio-Cortez, 29, who won the 14th congressional district of New York, becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. "We can do better and we can be better because a better world is possible... these struggles that we are taking on our generational, these struggles that we are taking on are long. These struggles will not be solved in two years or four years. These struggles will take our whole lives. But this is the fight for our lives. This is the fight of our lives."

You rose up, Democrats.

Now Donald Trump has you to be accountable to. All the fear mongering rallies full of Americans Trump can whip into a frenzy can't change that. The importance of this and the change it represents can't be stressed enough.

Please use this power for the benefit of all who have suffered over the last two years. This includes those who have lost loved ones to gun violence, those who have been afflicted with the hatred promulgated by Trump: Muslims, Jews, people of colour, immigrants––a lot of people have been marginalized and frightened and victimized by Trump and his cohort.

Use it to create more stability. Give Americans a clearer sense of what's true and what's false.

Above all else, work to be sure that in two years, President Donald Trump doesn't have a leg to stand on. He'll threaten you, humiliate you, and bully you, but don't let it get to you. He knows he's in trouble. He knows you'll investigate him.

Now that there IS a check on Trump, it must be used thoughtfully, coordinating it closely to support and further Robert Mueller's investigation.

The next year will be rough, as Trump is forced to hit the wall of accountability.

If you think Trump's tone has been nasty over the last two years, brace yourself for what's to come.

The path back to civility in the American political dialogue will be difficult. But the journey, at least, has now begun.

The Late Show's Stephen Colbert has a lighter take on the results of the U.S. Midterms. YouTube Video posted by The Late Show

We'll see. The Democratic Party has been timid, frightened and complicit for decades. In the first 2 years of Obama's first term, when the Democrats had control of both houses, they kept asking for the Repugnicans approval, phrasing it as seeking consensus, instead of governing like they had majorities. Why on earth should this party of weak kneed, watered down, waffling cowards be expected to do much beyond work hard toward weakening and sidelining their stars like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. There's not much reason for joy in this as far as I'm concerned.

That's true, Dana, I agree. Maybe they've learned. Any check on Trump's power, no matter how small, is a step forward IMO.

US democracy may not be dead, but it's on life support. It's the ultimate proof that the two-party system doesn't work. Americans need to start voting for "third parties" and other alternatives in bigger numbers. It's beginning--I think Gary Johnson got 9% of the vote in 2016, and there was that guy in Utah who did pretty well--but they need to do a lot more of it. Otherwise we can expect more of the same, including ever-lower turnout, and no discussion of proportional representation, because who needs that when you've only got two parties?

Keep in mind--just because things are really bad right now doesn't mean they can't get worse.