* Before we move on, though, don’t forget Georgia and the quest to make it a clean sweep against dangerously underqualified and undemocratic (small “d”) candidates. Donate to Raphael Warnock and send nonpartisan reminders to voters at Vote Forward. THEN we’re done.
Congratulations to the Democratic Party for … meeting low expectations.
The narrative changed several times, didn’t it? A few months ago, the Democrats were going to get pummeled as incumbent parties always do in midterms, particularly when the Afghanistan debacle and inflation condemned Biden to a Trumpian low-40s in approval polls. Then the abortion ruling energized everyone, the Republicans nominated a band of lunatics and madmen/madwomen, and FiveThirtyEight was telling us the Democrats would almost certainly hold the Senate. Then John Fetterman had a shaky debate performance, the stories of Herschel Walker paying for abortions actually strengthened my childhood sports hero’s campaign, and the Democrats were going to lose everything.
So when the Democrats didn’t lose everything, it was a miracle!
Media narratives are always overstated, but on the whole, the midterms brought this good news:
There’s a ceiling to authoritarian lunacy, especially when it relates to Donald Trump.
Here’s The Economist: “For a long time elected Republicans have behaved as if Mr Trump had some magic electoral power. His record shows a narrow win in 2016 after two terms of Barack Obama—an election, therefore, that a generic Republican candidate would have been expected to win. In 2018 Republicans did poorly in the midterms, losing 41 seats in the House. Then in 2020 Mr Trump lost to a rather elderly and verbose candidate never noted for his skill at campaigning. Mr Trump’s special power is over the berserker faction of the Republican Party, which has sway in primaries. But to the rest of the electorate he is becoming the thing he most derides: a loser.”
Here’s FiveThirtyEight, which noted that political newcomers who supported the Big Lie on the 2020 election were trounced: “Perhaps most meaningfully, voters almost universally rejected election deniers who ran for secretary of state, an office that is typically a state’s top election official and responsible for administering elections, enforcing election laws and certifying results.”
Here’s Reason, which might be reclaiming its libertarian mission after cozying up to non-libertarian Trump: “Without a hateable foil to run against, Trumpism doesn’t work as a campaign strategy. It’s time for Republicans to rediscover the value of actually having ideas.”
Reason also notes the rise of ranked-choice voting, which may eventually be a bulwark against extremist candidates. They cite a Nevada referendum mandating open primaries and ranked-choice voting, which did indeed pass.
So that brings me back to the most important thing on this site: A social contract (updated for 2022)
And to carry that forward, here are few important rules for 2023 for the Democrats and the media:
Dear Democrats: It’s the issues, stupid! We’ve been over this. You have the advantage on every issue. People want economic safety nets, not tax cuts for the rich. They want reproductive freedom. They want reasonable solutions to our gun problem and our immigration problem. (The first Reason piece above notes that Mitt Romney wants to expand immigration.) They care about climate change. They want gay rights. Even the Mormon Church came out (oops, maybe not the right word choice) and said they’d support measures to protect gay marriage legally as long as they could still argue against it theologically. So why are these elections even close?
Quit spending all your time, energy and money sending people like me frantic emails that you’re going to miss some fundraising deadline. Quit calling the same people over and over again. Quit using attack ads that worked on Boomers but fall flat with younger generations.
Dear media: It’s the issues, stupid! I don’t want to hear about Donald Trump in 2023 unless you’re reporting on his legal issues. The only Trump news that matters this week is that foreign governments spent $750,000 at his hotel, the latest evidence that Trump used the White House for personal gain and little else. Maybe start asking questions about why Merrick Garland is moving so slowly that I’m starting to wonder if he’s still working on impeachment papers for Warren G. Harding.
Smash the two-party system! It’s happening, folks. Support Unite America.
Finally, here’s a resolution for the rest of 2022 and at least the first 10 months or so of 2023 …
GET ON WITH OUR LIVES!
We’ve earned a break from horse-race and celebrity politics. Enjoy it.