The midterm elections are over, and while there are still a few races yet to be decided, it clear that the “Red Tsunami” of Republican victories that so many have hyped and hoped for since Biden took office, simply didn’t happen. To be frank, the results were more of a lukewarm letdown for me, as I harbored few illusions about the power of the well-oiled progressive political machines in blue states to motivate their base, low-info, and low-interest voters. And by “low-interest” I mean the younger voters (aged 18-29) who came out in record numbers, but only to vote for their particular preferences such legalizing pot, abortion, climate change hype and lies about free money for their student loans.
Explanations for the lackluster Republican performance have included a gamut of excuses as to how with Biden’s abysmal approval ratings, rising inflation, an open border, the threat of war with Russia or China, and an entire panoply of woke degeneracy pushed by the Democrats, did the Republicans underperform at what should have been easy victories. Ben Shapiro over at the Daily Wire blames Trump, the lack of Republican leadership and failing to fund key campaigns for the losses, and is calling for a serious overhaul of the party. Podcaster Tim Pool, who had a more positive take on the results, commented that the Republican gains while not spectacular, were still enough to regain the House and to oust Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Meanwhile, Scott McKay over at The American Spectator simply stated the plain truth, “The American electorate in 2022 is awful” and in as much as “weak men make tough times” we as a nation are still comfortable enough with our lives to allow these weak politicians to keep their jobs.
Obviously, there are truths to all of these explanations. However, the problem with all of them is that in our contemporary political landscape, for every problem the government tries to fix there are three more problems that also need to be addressed before tackling the original one. And those three problems in turn have three more problems of their own, and so on and so on. As someone who is not really a political wonk and who tends to have a more jaundiced view of politics in these “last days” of our establishment vs. the rest of us politics, I am not the one to offer up any winning solutions. Nonetheless, here are five takeaways from the midterm elections that struck me as ones with which to open up the debate for serious changes in the way we vote for those who govern us.
1. We need to Establish some Standards on How we Vote
Ever since the Bush vs. Gore SCOTUS case in 2000 (oh those “hanging chads”), I have never known an election that has not been challenged on account of shoddy ballots or voting machines. While there have and always will be conspiracy theories about cheating or voting irregularities, the trust Americans have that their votes will be counted has to be at an all-time low. Like some dystopian novel about A.I. run amok, we are sardonically suspicious of the machines and methods we use to count our ballots for Federal elections.
While I understand that federalism dictates that each state establishes their own voting laws and regulations, if we want Americans to trust their government again and to stop being fixated on some of the most outlandish conspiracy theories, we cannot have more elections like 2020 or today where Florida knew that Ron DeSantis won on election night, but the Kari Lake vs. Katie Hobbs race is still in doubt. At some point, we need to establish certain voting standards that all states can agree on, and which will definitively address issues such as early or mail-in voting, ballot harvesting, the counting of ballots, and yes making election day a federal holiday.
2. Ideology not Facts Still Reigns Supreme with Most Voters
The fact that John Fetterman won over Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, proves that when it comes voters, it’s not facts and figures that motivate most voters, but fantasies and fancies, i.e. ideology. To be fair, I thought Oz was a pretty poor pick who alienated a lot of Pennsylvanians who would’ve preferred David McCormick or Kathy Barnette. But I was surprised that voters choose a man who is recovering from a stroke and cannot speak properly without technical aid. That is until I realized that we already have someone like that as president; in fact the memes and t-shirts are already out, “Biden-Fetterman 2024: It’s a No-Brainer!”
While most of us have come to accept the word-salad talking-point politician as a fact of life, what does it say about us a nation when we vote for politicians based solely on them saying what we want to hear and their promises of free stuff based on our ideological preferences? Especially in light of the ticking time bomb of problems- relations with China or our national debt combined with unfunded future liabilities- that have been kicked down the road for almost a century now. If all we have are pre-programmed and interchangeable politicians that say and do little, it kind of defeats the purpose and gravity of voting for them in the first place.
3. The Republican Party needs to Figure out Who it Is
Recently conservative commentator Andrew Klavan commented that the Republican party seems to be going through a kind “mid-life crisis” in that it is deciding what it wants to be and for whom. I have little love for the party as the RHINOS, the MAGA’s and the hodgepodge of all the other conservatives bicker and badmouth each other about their tenets and tactics. The problem is that we have become a nation of voters who vote against our enemies, instead of for candidates that will do the hard work that needs to be done. Of course it would help if there were more decent candidates.
So while it is great that we are seeing an ever-growing exodus of Blacks and Hispanics from their longtime homes in the Democratic party over issues such as immigration, CRT in public schools, or drag queens and the whole trans agenda, that doesn’t mean they are going to automatically vote for every candidate with an “R” in front of their name. Especially if the GOP acts like just another incompetent “establishment” that sees these individuals as just another voting block for them to use.
4. MAGA Needs to Grow With or Without Trump
I was suspicious of Trump when he emerged on the scene, and ended up being one of those “voting against” voters in order to keep Hilary out of the White House. Despite his bombastic personality and governing style, his staffing choices (do not get me started!), or his grasp of certain serious topics, I never regretted voting for him and was very satisfied with his term as President. The phrase “Make America Great Again” was both genius and meaningful, as it (despite what cranks and critics tried to paint it as) reiterated the perennial call for all Americans to live up to our founding principles that have made us the envy of the world.
However, the world is in a far precarious position at home and abroad than it was in 2016. So as much as we enjoyed Trump being the bull in the Establishment china shop during his presidency, the time for breaking things is over. Direct and strong leadership mixed with an informed, free and active populace is needed to again, do the hard work ahead. While it may be that Trump now realizes the mistakes he made as president- especially in terms of his Covid/vaccine policies- based on his recent rallies and even sniping at key winning Republican figures like Ron DeSantis, I am not seeing evidence that he has sufficiently changed his politicking enough to be a better president if he were to run again.
In the end, no matter who runs in 2024, the best of MAGA’s message must be rekindled, but it has to be able to do so even without Trump. Because either the message really is about making America all that it can be, or it’s just another trademarked establishment talking point attached to one man. I have no doubts about Trump's sincerity and desire help all Americans or his patriotism, but even he needs to believe in the message enough to know that it can work even if he is not president.
5. Politics Needs to Catch Up to the 21st Century
Right now it seems that our politics are stuck in a feedback loop, like a scratched DVD the gets to a certain point in the movie before it slows down or blurs and freezes before skipping to some other scene. The reason for this is that the education/information and capabilities Americans have access to, have outpaced the “Capital City” machinations (i.e. the bureaucratic governing complex) that is running our nation on an outdated 20th century political “power” grid. This “Capital Machine” is good at taking care of itself, but generally useless in keeping pace with a rapidly changing world. Furthermore, there is a sense of spiritual ennui in our culture, where far too many Americans see politics as an ersatz religion that can solve all of our problems, both public and private. But as the Psalmist reminds us, “Put not your trust in princes, in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation.”
So if you remember one take away from this election and some insight in looking forward to 2024, it would be this: be careful who and what you vote, because after that you are stuck with it. For in terms of the current state of our nation, far too many voters have bought into the Dem’s notion that we are a “democracy.” A democracy that is, in the words of H.L. Mencken, “the collective wisdom of individual ignorance” which assumes “the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” Thus if you want better candidates and leaders and a better run nation, one that starts working like a constitutional republic again, then start being better Americans who will demand that they do so.
Start learning to separate the things that belong to Caesar to do and the things that belong to God, your family, and your local community to do. That way when the Capital City elites start prattling on about “our Democracy” and all the reasons other people are entitled to your time and money, you can say from a position of power, “We got that already! So how about you get busy with those other things, the ones you’re supposed to handle.” It probably won’t happen anytime soon, and war or a major depression may come before 2024, but at least you can ponder these suggestions and plan accordingly.
Photo Credit- thenewamerican. com