A Red Trickle
It was not a red wave. Certainly not a tsunami. It seems like it will turn out to be more of a trickle.
As we go to sleep tonight, we still don’t know the outcome of races that will determine control of the House and the Senate. Either party could win one or both chambers. But Democrats have outperformed every expectation for a party in the White House at the midterm elections. It was a very good night for Joe Biden. But it was an even better night for the country.
Big takeaway: Democracy can still win. Ultimately, it’s the voters who have the greatest ability to impose accountability on politicians who violate their trust, just like they did with Trump in 2020. Never bet against America.
And the youth vote! If you live in a state like Alabama and crunch the numbers, you know that a fairly modest uptick in the youth vote is outcome-determinative. But it’s also, historically, been a phantom. This year it wasn’t. Videos showed packed lines at polling places full of college student. Statistics, like those in Wisconsin where the youth vote was said to be up 360% over 2018 even before election day itself, tell the story, as do statistics on 18-29 year olds breaking heavily Democratic.
When the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs, many people told me I was wrong to suggest that the loss of abortion rights would drive voters to the polls in the midterm elections. But a generation of fierce women voters, who, having fought a long and hard battle for rights that permitted them to control their own bodies, make their own decisions about starting a family, and participate in the economy were not about to go back, joined hands with their daughters and granddaughters and voted. The Court may have awakened a sleeping giant—young women who now understand that when they turnout they can begin to regain control of the future. The economy matters, but democracy and our fundamental rights matter too.
One caution: down ballot races matter. In far too many cases, supporters of the big lie prevailed in state elections. Some of them will be in positions like Secretaries of State that will give them substantial control over the process and outcomes of future elections. In North Carolina, where state court judges are elected, Republicans won control of the Supreme Court. There are voting rights cases pending, including one that will impact the rights of people with old felony convictions to vote. We are going to have to be vigilant about protecting our elections and every American’s right to vote in the future.
So many great moments tonight, but John Fetterman’s Senate victory in Pennsylvania, picking up a seat for Democrats, was such a standout. He’ll be an important voice for Americans who have struggled with health issues and other challenges. Also, one hopes this means we’ll never have to hear from Dr. Oz again unless it’s for this purpose:
We did this. We lived through all of it together, found ways to help, supported each other, and we voted. We ignored the polls that told us we would lose and voted anyhow. No matter how this turns out, we fought for this country. Apparently, a lot of us still think it’s worth fighting for. That’s a good thing, because we’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us! But we’ve seen proof tonight that we can get there if we all work on it.
We’re in this together,