Even though the final tally is not in there are a few things that the election showed the nation.
First a theory on modern American politics…..
These days, it seems that Democrats will vote for Democrats, and Republicans will vote for Republicans, no matter what happens during the election cycle. This “calcification” of American politics is explored in a New York Times essay by Ezra Klein, who draws from the work of political scientists John Sides, Chris Tausanovitch, and Lynn Vavreck in their new book. Klein points to a stat he finds “shocking”—in 1952, 50% of voters saw a big difference between the two parties, but that figure had risen to 90% by 2020. Decades ago, then, if voters were disillusioned by a particular candidate in their own party, they might consider voting for a rival because the parties weren’t seen as so fundamentally different. These days, there’s little chance of that.
Meanwhile, a second issue—”parity”—throws another wrench into things. We have roughly a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats, meaning that even a tiny change in voting patterns has a pronounced effect. “Because politics is so calcified, virtually nothing matters, but because elections are so close, virtually everything matters,” writes Klein. Elaborating: “So even as calcification means fewer minds change in any given election, parity means those small, marginal changes can completely alter American politics.” His piece explores how these factors help explain the 2016 and 2020 elections. Read the full essay, which also discusses a third theory, “cultural backlash,” and how it works in tandem with the other two to explain a great deal about current American politics.
What about all those ‘independents’ we hear so much about?
Did you get what you voted for?
Let’s look at the 12 things that have been noticed…..
+1. The official song of the 2022 mid-terms should be Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. The widely expected “red wave” did not emerge but neither did the Democrats’ promised “blue tsunami.” Something different or in-between took place, full of mixed messages that have provided opportunities for both of the two sadly dominant US capitalist-imperialist parties to claim victory.
+2. David Brooks continues to be a statistically illiterate moron. In his New York Times column and on his election night television commentary on “P”BS, this ridiculous blowhard saw the mid-terms as yet another opportunity to claim against all evidence that the Trump and DeSantis (see below)-era Republicans are a party of “populism” and “the working class.” This childish narrative, widely shared across the chattering skull and pundit class, is based on extreme false conflations between the lack of a college degree and rural residence on one hand and working-class status on the other hand. It leaves out people of color to a shocking degree and naturally deletes the racism, sexism, fundamentalist Christianity and general related authoritarianism (indeed neofascism) that by far and away trump economic anxiety as the driving force behind Republi-fascist voting (including the votes of actual working-class Republi-fascists). It helps the militantly elitist and fascist Republicans falsely and ludicrously brand themselves as the party of everyday working people.
+3. The Democrats’ claim of victory is weak tea. Yes, they avoided a complete shellacking at the hands of the Republi-fascists (Rfs). Revanchist Trumpian reptiles like the open Christian white nationalist Doug Mastriano, the Oath Keeper who wanted to take for the Arizona election system (Mark Finchem), the noxious far-right television quack Mehmet Oz, and perhaps (fingers crossed) the AR-15-toting maniac Lauren Boebert went down to humiliating defeat. There was no big red wave. Great, but the fact of the matter is that the January 6th Party of Fascist Insurrection is about to take over the gavel and agenda in the US House of Representatives and still has a chance of controlling the absurdly powerful US Senate. If the fake-“populist” Rfs get Congress, that puts them in charge of two of three branches of the federal government: the legislative branch and the judicial branch, currently topped by a 5-4/6-3 far-right majority well to the starboard side of the populace.
+4. Another election cycle goes by where the US pretends to have a democratic system despite: the absurd right-leaning partisan gerrymandering of the US House and state legislatures; the preposterous right-tilted malapportionment and absurd power of the US Senate; the ridiculous undemocratic Electoral College; the extreme power of the absurdly lifetime-appointed Supreme Court; the toxic and ongoing anti-democratic horror that is “states’ right;” the openly arch-plutocratic power of the nation’s campaign finance and corporate media systems.
+5. The plutocratic corporate tool and geriatric imperialist Joe “Burn Pit” Biden – an open agent of potential nuclear Armageddon – will likely decided to run again in 2024 on the basis of his party not getting its head as completely caved-in as was widely expected. Super! If he wins again, he can be 86 years old at the end of his second term, assuming that he and Putin don’t blow up the world over Ukraine in the meantime.
+6. “Burn Pit” Joe will dig Republi-semi-fascist control of the House (and perhaps Senate). It will give him a welcome excuse for his and his dollar-drenched neoliberal party’s failure to win and advance even semi-progressive policies (“we don’t have the votes”) and for him to pursue his beloved pastime of “reaching across the aisle” (since “we have no choice” and must “find common ground” to “get things done”). It worked for Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
+7. Potential global nuclear war and global warming – two grave existential menaces both rooted in the anarchic madness of capitalism-imperialism – were largely if not completely absent from the mid-term elections. With all due respect, what in f*#k are we supposed to make of a “democratic” elections and party system that pushes the two biggest issues of our or any time to the margins of public debate and consciousness?!
+8. Also missing from the mid-terms: the rest of the world. This deletion is nothing new of course. As the most powerful oppressor state and empire in the history of humanity, the United States has been sucking up the wealth and health of much of the rest of the world for at least the last 77 years (the global Pax Americana was born at the end of World War II). It is by far and away the leading force behind numerous forms of planetary misery, with the climate catastrophe now in the lead. As usual, the notion of the United States having any core responsibility to nations and people outside its borders was completely missing in electoral action.
+9. “It was Roevember.” I have on social media seen numerous liberals and even progressives claim that the mid-terms showed the “brilliance” of the Democrats’ campaigning against the Supreme Court’s June 24th, 2022, Dobbs v. Jackson decision – the horrific ruling that killed Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Court decision that had established women’s constitutional right to an abortion. This exaggerates the extent of Democrats’ mid-term success and grants undeserved cover to the Democrats’ refusal to meaningfully mobilize masses against the well-telegraphed Dobbs decision – a decision partly rooted in the cynical calculation that the abolition of a basic human and women’s right would work to their advantage in the mid-terms. But worst of all, it strikes me as a big raised middle finger to the many millions of childbearing-age females stuck in the 22 or so states that have essentially banned safe and legal abortion following Dobbs. Wtf did the mid-terms do for women and girls with current or future unwanted pregnancies in Republi-fascist prohibition states like Ron DeSantis’s and Greg Abbot’s Florida and Texas? Is Joe Biden now about to wake up and (as Rise Up for Abortion rights demanded on the date of the Dobbs ruling) properly declare the war on abortion a national public health emergency and issue an executive order granting women and girls access to safe and legal abortions without apology on federal lands and military bases across the whole United States? No, he isn’t.
+10. Democrats are crowing about how many of Trump’s preferred MAGA candidates went down, reveling in his potentially waning chances of coming back to the White House in 2025. Okay, but they might want to reflect on the rising star of Ron DeSantis, who might be a more dangerous fascist than Trump. DeSantis rolled in Florida, making big incursions into the Miami-Dade Latino vote. He is one evil motherfucker and a force to be reckoned with. (How far is DeSantis’ “political stunt” of deceiving Latin American migrants onto an airplane and dumping them like human garbage in a northern liberal enclave from packing people into boxcars and shipping them to concentration camps?) On the other hand, and on the positive side for the Dems, they have reason to hope for a Trump-DeSantis war inside the Republican Party. If Trump goes all out with narcissistic rage against DeSantis’s ascendancy, he could help sabotage the party heading to 2024.
+12. Bourgeois-democratic American Style election outcomes, even decent ones, don’t achieve very much for the people without mass mobilization in the streets and public squares beneath and beyond the election cycle.
Anything to add?
Howard Zinn made one of the best observations….
“The Election Madness…seizes the country every four years because we have all been brought up to believe that voting is crucial in determining our destiny, that the most important act a citizen can engage in is to go to the polls and choose one of the two mediocrities who have already been chosen for us…No, I’m not taking some ultra-left position that elections are totally insignificant, and that we should refuse to vote to preserve our moral purity. Yes, there are candidates who are somewhat better than others, and at certain times of national crisis (the Thirties, for instance, or right now) where even a slight difference between the two parties may be a matter of life and death…I’m talking about a sense of proportion that gets lost in the election madness. Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes—the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth…But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice. Let’s remember that even when there is a ‘better’ candidate (yes, better Roosevelt than Hoover, better anyone than George Bush), that difference will not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that the occupant of the White in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice. Let’s remember that even when there is a ‘better’ candidate (yes, better Roosevelt than Hoover, better anyone than George Bush), that difference will not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that the occupant of the White House will find it dangerous to ignore…Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war. Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”
The Right needs to give up on the rhetoric that the Dems are socialists….why?
The Democratic Party used to be shaped–at least partially–by social movements–especially labor and civil rights. Now it’s shaped by the movements of money: does Raytheon want more war in Ukraine? Does Goldman Sachs need a bailout? Who does Cargill think will provide the biggest ag subsidies?
None of that is of a socialist nature….but that is not important as a lie will win some votes huh?
Now we wait on the 2024 election and its candidates.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”
4 thoughts on “12 Takeaways From The Election”
The two-party system is just as ingrained in America as it is here in the UK.
Until we break that mould, we have to accept mediochrity.
Best wishes, Pete.
So true and we excel in mediocrity….chuq
That’s a lot to digest, Chuq.
Sorry just a few thoughts on the election….much to digest. chuq