Reflections on the 2022 Midterms

3 mins read

Before the election, we were hit with a barrage of warnings that we were in for a red wave. This was from FiveThirtyEight:

In fact, as of this writing, the Democrats:

  • Are holding the Senate and may pick up an extra Senate seat.
  • As of this writing, it looks like Republicans will take the House but with a razor-thin margin that will give them enough power to make a lot of noise, create spectacle, but accomplish nothing. The Republicans know how to be an opposition party, but they don’t know how to govern. Even when Trump had a trifecta, they couldn’t repeal Obamacare, and that was part of their platform.
  • The election deniers in key states (Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania) lost. The only election denier who won a significant race was for Wyoming Secretary of State, where he ran unopposed.
  • Candidates who Trump endorsed lost (or, in the case of Herschel Walker, failed to win).

Had the Democrats kept the House and added two Senate seats, Democrats would have been able to:

  • End the filibuster and make Washington, D.C., a state, thereby adding two senators.
  • Add Supreme Court justices, thereby undoing McConnell’s court-packing. (The Constitution gives Congress the power to add Supreme Court Justices.)
  • Pass sweeping election reform; for example, requiring all voters to receive mail-in ballots and providing the ability to drop them off easily at designated offices. (The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate national elections.)

(Sinema and Manchin prevented these things after 2020.)

On the other hand, a red wave would have enabled the Republicans to pass widespread voter suppression laws. Election deniers would have been poised to hand the election to the Republicans in 2024. A Republican-held Senate would have blocked Biden’s judicial nominees. (There are currently 85 district and appellate judge seats for Biden to fill.)

Instead, we’re treading water. Even if the Republicans take the House, they won’t have enough power to do real damage (other than withholding money from Ukraine). The Democrats don’t have enough power to make rapid progress.

The Democrats can, however, continue making some progress: Judicial nominations will move forward. Biden controls foreign policy. The DOJ will continue taking an active role in monitoring the elections and dismantling white supremacy groups.

I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief and start looking to the Georgia runoffs and 2024.

Originally posted here. Reposted with permission and minor edits.

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Teri has written novels, short stories, nonfiction for both young readers and adults, and lots of legal briefs. She is currently working on a book on disinformation to be published by Macmillan Publishers. Her political commentary has appeared on the NBC Think Blog and Her articles and essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Education Week, Slate Magazine, and Scope Magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in the American Literary View, The Iowa Review, and others. For twelve years she maintained a private appellate law practice limited to representing indigents on appeal from adverse rulings. She believes with the ACLU that when the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled. She also believe with John Updike that the purpose of literature is to expand our sympathies. Teri lives with her family on the beautiful central coast in California.

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