It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times…
Well, That Was Interesting
Much still going on out of the elections and important matters yet to be decided. Still, we know some important outcomes from all this. First of all, at least two people were right – Joe Biden and me (forgive the hubris on this one).
Biden went straight to the country in hammering home two points. One, this is not a referendum on himself – it is a choice on what we do and who we are as a country. Two, given the extremism now afoot in America, democracy is on the ballot and on the line.
He was, of course, right on both points. Remarkably, the people listened, agreed, and voted accordingly.
I will claim being right in that I said early on that the polls were useless for this one and we should all just do what we think is right and let the chips fall where they may. The polls, at least some of them, did a bit better in this round, but in general, I offered good advice. Almost no one – not reporters, not Democrats, and certainly not Republicans – expected the outcomes that came forth.
I have to admit I was not as Zen-like as I would have liked to have been. I made it a point not to listen to, read, or watch any feedback during the immediate post-election period. I checked in once at 9:30 PM and again at 1:30 AM. But it was all surely on my mind. Here is an illustration of the proof.
I have an App on my watch that tracks and evaluates my sleep every night. It tells me how long I slept, how much was deep sleep, restlessness, etc. On a good night the pattern looks like a smile, going from awake, to deeper sleep, to gradual consciousness. Sort of like a smile, a smooth line into sleep and then slowly awakening.
Here is what my pattern actually looked like on election night:
Not exactly a calm evening, but we all survived, didn’t we? Out of many, many observations that are legitimate, here are my top selection that are worth our attention:
Moderates, Centrists had a Good Day: To a very large degree, voters decided that they, more often than not wanted centrists who might work to represent everyone. See the following note on election deniers in particular.
Election Deniers Got Their Butts Kicked: Don’t over celebrate – a lot of them did get elected to Congress. The majority of the Republican members of Congress are election deniers. Remarkable. But many went down in flames. Most importantly, those running for Secretary of State (people who run elections) and governor pretty well failed across the board. Citizens decided Biden was right – democracy was on the line and voters were having none of it.
Trump’s Standing Nosedived: No one had a worse night than Trump. A very large swath of his endorsements flamed out. It is possible that his interactions and statements may have costed his party control of the Senate – again. More on this shortly, but how many times does it take for Republicans to learn T-R-U-M-P spells L-O-S-E-R?
Abortion Rights – A lot of people convinced themselves that this had faded as an issue (mostly due to bad polls and self-delusion). Nothing could have been further from the truth. This carried major weight across the country, and it will do so in 2024 as well. Note that several states in this vote enshrined this important right in their state constitutions and two more refused efforts to limit this right.
Medicaid Expansion – Yet another Republican ruled state signed up for Medicare expansion, once voters secured the power to make it so by public referendum. South Dakotans said YES by wide margins. Only a handful of states remain, stupidly, out of this program today. Unfortunately, my state is one of them. Yet another “gift” from our Republican legislature. Maybe this coming year….
Voting Rights and Access – In several states, voters secured voting rights and access by passing laws to ensure this remains in place. No one appears to have been fooled that the rash of voter restrictions put in place across the county have anything to do with voting security.
Legislatures and Governors– The Democrats picked up a couple of important governorships, both houses of the Michigan legislature, and one legislative house in Minnesota. In every place that had moderate Republicans on the ballot (yes, there are some out there), they did significantly better than Trumpian extremists on the same ballot.
Case in point: Trumps pick for Ohio senator did win (a terrible loss – his opponent was so much better) but lagged behind the more moderate Republican governor by a whopping 9 points. At least we could enjoy the fact that the guy Trump wanted did not mention Trump once in hi victory speech. Bet that irritated The Orange One.
Two States – Moderates in general and Democrats in particular should be doing better than they are in Texas and Florida. For a while at least, until someone develops a better game plan, these are locked into a romance with some ugly trends. They are not well served but they have made their choice.
Election Violence and Intimidation– This was much less of a problem than expected, even though people like Bannon called for such intimidators to show up at voting sites. They did not. Maybe they believed their own “red tide” propaganda, maybe they figured out this did not work, maybe they figured out such shenanigans were not worth going to prison. For whatever reason, we dodged that bullet – literally and figuratively.
Turnout, Transparency, Problems – turnout was remarkably high almost everywhere. Youth showed up in record numbers; a very good thing that is. Problems with process, machines, and supplies were rare and minimal. A lot of good people at local levels did their jobs. We owe them.
The Future – So, Where Does All This Leave Us?
Take Note – Everyone kept saying Biden & Company had the wrong message, would be defeated by economy, etc. None of that was true. This was, by many measures, the best midterm outcome for a President in over 50 years, except for the boost Bush had coming out of 9/11. Biden is already reaching out to meet with legislative leaders of both parties to talk about the way forward.
We will talk later about what all this means for 2024 and who runs, but for now, just note that people keep writing Biden off and he keeps racking up successes for his country and his party.
Guess When 2024 starts?
Yep, it is already underway. Has been for some time. Remember – politics is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Gulp some Gatorade and get back on the track.
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3 replies to About Those Midterm Elections
I think you mean Medicaid expansion, not Medicare.
Indeed. Thanks for the catch!
Excellent post! I like the reminder that 2024 has already started!