This piece makes a surprisingly persuasive argument that we did!
Given that Republicans retained control of the House and Senate in 2016, president Hillary Clinton’s legislative agenda would have gone nowhere, while her court picks would have been blockaded by McConnell’s minions. […]
And since midterms favor the opposition party even when the governing one isn’t dispirited, Republicans almost certainly would have grown their House majority in 2018, while ousting far more of the vulnerable Democratic senators who were on the ballot that year (e.g., Jon Tester and Joe Manchin) than they did with Trump in office. These congressional gains would have made it nearly impossible for Democrats to secure unified control of the federal government for a decade.[…]
It is all but certain that Clinton’s administration would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic better than Trump’s, but it’s far from clear that it would have averted a major crisis entirely. After all, only a tiny minority of Western governments pulled that off, and many of the flaws in the U.S. response aren’t attributable to Trump per se (if red America resisted federal guidance on masks and social distancing with one of its own in the White House, imagine the scale of its defiance with “Crooked Hillary” at the helm). Assuming America did enter a pandemic-induced recession, there’s no way an overwhelmingly Republican Congress would have supplied a sitting Democratic president with as much fiscal aid as the present Congress has given Trump. Clinton was already an unusually unpopular major-party nominee in 2016. If she had to seek another four years while presiding over a broken economy, the GOP would have likely enjoyed a “red wave” election in 2020. Such a landslide would not only have put the party in position to enact a sweeping agenda at the federal level in 2021, but also to draw the coming decade’s House and state legislative maps in most states.