Dodging A Bullet

Because Embry was away election night attending a convention, I was so apprehensive that I could not survive the evening alone that I invited three couples here at the Kennedy-Warren to help me through what I thought was likely to be a wake. They all came, armed with liquid medications, prepared for the worst. Their presence made a huge difference for which I am grateful.

Friends, it could have been a disaster. My acquaintance, Swarthmore, had warned me that this might be  the beginning of the end of democracy as we have known it if the outcome was a Red Wave with election deniers and MAGA Republicans winning most of their races. But occasionally life brings pleasant surprises. This was one of those evenings. The election results of the 2022 mid-terms will be written up in the history books and read by future generations.

No, we can’t call the results a total success, and two Senate seats are still up for grabs, but what could have happened did not happen. We dodged a bullet.

What could have happened was that the fanatical Trumpers and election deniers got elected across the board, and we Democrats got thrashed. Afterall, when there is an unpopular president, the mid-term elections historically have been catastrophic for the party in power. Democrats in Obama’s first mid-term election lost several Senate seats and over 60 House seats. Bill Clinton’s experience was not much better. Pundits on Fox News were predicting the greatest thrashing in U.S. history with the “Red Wave” decisively taking over both the Senate and the House with huge gains, setting the stage for a Trump comeback and essentially bringing the Biden Administration to its knees.

What  did happen was this: The Senate is likely to hold as Swarthmore predicted and the Republicans will gain at most only a handful of seats in the House. Even more important very few of the election deniers and avid MAGA Republicans got elected. This is true not only for governors and representatives in Congress but, even more important, for state secretaries of state, and state attorneys general, the people  who are responsible for conducting future elections and doing the vote counting. A majority of the candidates Trump supported did not win. Democracy survived. The fingers in the dike held—at least for now.

The other factor that has not gotten much attention is that none of these Republican losers are calling the election fraudulent and rigged—at least not yet. If this holds, it could be the brightest sign of all that our election process will survive the Trump onslaught. It certainly should dawn on some people as ironic because the same election procedures were in place for the 2022 mid-term elections as for the 2020 presidential election. Will we get past these false claims about the “big steal” and move on? Anyone’s guess, but surely a big deal if the false accusations about election fraud remain dormant.

So what happened?

According to most of the post-election analyses that I have read or listened to, what distinguished the 2022 mid-terms from previous elections was the  large increase in the number of women voting and an even larger increase in voting from younger voters, the  Gen Zs. The reasons for this are due mainly to three things—the Dobbs Decision by the Supreme Court on abortion, the threats to democracy caused by January 6 Insurrection, and the Maga Republicans claims of election fraud. I would add a fourth factor—the fear of accelerated climate change if the Republicans are calling all the shots. Were it not for this increase in the voting block of women and younger people, the election results would likely have been much closer to the Red Wave most Republicans were predicting.

For this I suppose credit goes to the Supreme Court for its outrageous decision on abortion  and to Trump for his continuing  in-your-face lies, outrageous claims and accusations on line, and his stirring up the pot. While his base will probably never abandon him, more Republicans appear to be getting tired of his antics and weary of  the chaos that goes along with it. His base is not enough to get him reelected. Could this mean he will fade? Probably unlikely, but we can always hope. But then there is DeSantis waiting in the wings, but I am not going to let that spoil the stew for now.

So, yes, election night was a good night for us Dems—especially when compared to what it could have been. Are we home free? Hardly. You can count on the Republicans even with a tiny majority in the House to pursue the hearings on Hunter Biden and anyone else they can come up with in hopes of embarrassing the President, the  impeachment of President Biden on the chaotic exit from Afghanistan, and using the debt ceiling issue to coerce the Democrats into submission on issues like fighting climate change and trying to level the playing field when it comes to race and class inequalities. It will be nasty. But it won’t be as bad as it might have been and for that we can be thankful.




3 thoughts on “Dodging A Bullet

  1. Grateful, grateful, grateful! Lots of folks worked hard to get us to a better outcome, including my brother and husband and many students. Thank you everyone!

  2. DeSantis may be a strong contender. Folks may be sicker of Trump than they are of his policies. I don’t think woke plays well In Peoria. I know it doesn’t play well with me.


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