Tuesday’s Elections

The following was included in an email edition I receive of the NY Times “The Morning.” The reporter, Claire Moses, was interviewing Astead Herndon, a political reporter who has been covering this election cycle. Following are (a portion of) his comments in response to Claire’s questions.

I live in Europe, where many people are only now starting to tune into the midterms. How would you explain to them, and others who need a refresher, why this election matters?

If the Republicans take back the House, it would change the scope of U.S. policy. We know they’d try to stop President Biden’s agenda. A Republican House would hurt Biden’s ability to respond to domestic challenges on his terms, like inflation, and to global crises — Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader, has signaled that Republicans might stop approving aid for Ukraine.

We’ve also seen a global rise in fears of democratic collapse. If the U.S. elects lawmakers who spread conspiracy theories about elections and who promise to tear down tenets of democracy, that will embolden autocratic leaders in other countries and weaken the United States’ standing in the world.

These midterms also matter because they could signal the start of an even more divisive era of politics. We should not assume we are at the floor of division — we’re going to get lower.

When you say Republicans would try to block Biden, what could that look like?

If Republicans take over Congress, some members will push their new House speaker to start impeachment proceedings of the president and members of his cabinet like Merrick Garland, the attorney general. Some Republicans have been ready to impeach Biden since he took office. Their complaints are about policy and politics, not accusations of the kinds of abuses of power that have historically been grounds for impeachment. McCarthy has tried to minimize talk of impeachment lately, seeing it as polarizing, but the hard right rank-and-file will almost certainly press for it.

You’ve been covering politics for years. What do you think we should be paying more attention to?

Democrats are asking their base to rally behind the idea of protecting democracy — that’s what Biden has said. But that base is mostly working-class Americans and people of color. And many of those people feel like the system has not provided tangible and meaningful change on issues that most affect their day-to-day life — like housing, wages or public safety. (Emphasis mine.)

A woman on last week’s episode of “The Run-Up” told us that democracy has never worked for her. She’s borne the brunt of poverty. Her top issue was housing. That’s not what the Democratic Party is talking about. While Biden and Democrats did pass funding related to housing, that money was drastically cut from the levels that most people who focus on the issue say was necessary to effect lasting change.

And one of his closing remarks pretty much zeros in on what’s happening today:

I also think that the media has done too little to explain Republicans’ built-in advantages. Their control of legislatures in some battleground states is backed by gerrymandering.

Of course, many of us who stay abreast of the current political climate are already aware of all of this. However, for those who tend to pay little attention to “politics,” hopefully they will read this and see why this election is so VERY, VERY important!

38 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Elections

        • And I’d humbly add Cagjr that those infected by it don’t seem to have the critical-thinking skills and critical-analysis to RECOGNIZE they are swallowing propaganda and they’re are too often TOO LAZY to verify the facts, data, and/or evidence that should (might?) be supporting said propaganda! I guess that’s the definition of confirmation bias, huh? 🙄🤦‍♂️

          Liked by 2 people

        • Just look at Herschel Walker. The republicans use him as a token black and he believes they really like him. Not too smart. The republicans also think other blacks will vote for him, because he is black and they are not too smart. I suspect many blacks see through this using Walker as a tool and the picture they paint of other blacks being not smart enough to see the caricature they are making of Walker and them also and will turn and vote for him.

          Liked by 5 people

  1. I can say this-until the Dems get enough people in both houses of the legislature, they’re going to have trouble getting things like housing, general equality, and better price/supply control reform. Here’s the thing I’ve seen after more than a couple of decades of campaign/election work:
    People tend to be more comfortable with a balance of power, so that they know the checks are at work. However, that’s been taken advantage of (not saying by whom but it’s easily seen on https://www.congress.gov/ over as many years as anyone wants to check,) and gridlock on the big stuff that many people’d like to see has prevented some “Dem” things from happening. There is one party who’s had a big-picture/long-term (actually historical) plan to dismantle everything ever done for the US that benefits anyone but the wealthy. They just keep their noses down, getting things done when they can (SCOTUS as a recent example,) and keeping things from happening if that’s all they can do (we’ve watched it over our lifetimes. Again, congress.org above.)

    I guess, in my usual verbose way, I’m saying that if we never have enough Dems in the legislature to get stuff done, people are always going to blame Dems for everything whether it’s their actual faults or not. We ought to just elect the people who are amenable to what we the people want, rather than looking at the party affiliation and just hoping they’re going to take care of things.

    Of course, then we have to do our civic duty to direct them once they’re elected… lol!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Average citizens are frustrated and I think many just want to shake things up. Any change is better than the status quo. What they don’t realize is that if the Republicans take back one or both houses, the ranks of “legitimized” election deniers that hold seats of power will increase dramatically. Right now most Republicans, if pressed, concede that Biden won in 2020. When the next wave of Republican dominance hits, as most polls predict, the number of office holders that promote the idea that the election was stolen will go up considerably. This is horrible for our democracy. Sadly, these same people are quite likely to endorse violent attacks on our government institutions. If in 2024, the Democratic candidate wins the presidency, the new even more extreme members of congress may happily endorse future coup attempts—going beyond the current Republican legislators that skirt danger by remaining silent on the issue. Would this spell an end to democracy. Who can say? But it won’t be pretty.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I still believe if enough voters cast ballots, the Dems will gain seats in both houses. Of course, I don’t believe polls because they are too easily made to look like what certain parties want them to look like.
    And I hope I am right, for everyone’s sakes.

    Liked by 4 people

    • This election will ultimately come down to unlikely voters, and whether the efforts by Republicans, to curtail the rights of half the population (and likely apply the same to minorities), is enough to get them out to vote or not. If those unlikely voters come out in droves then Republicans will not win. If women stand up to thugs, Republicans cannot win.

      I also hope you’re right, but I fear the worst, as mid-terms tend to change the dynamics of power.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I agree with Herald and I blame Fox and right wing media, but also mainstream media for constantly keep trump in the picture and not reporting the good things Biden has done and the things like doing away with Medicare and Social Security and other types of aid many people rely on, through no fault of their own, that the republicans plan on doing. Not to mention no help for climate change for the millions who will be terribly affected by it, if not eventually everyone.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. “Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader, has signaled that Republicans might stop approving aid for Ukraine.”

    This would be a very dumb move by House Republicans. Ukraine is going to win that war, it’s only a matter of time. Ukraine is a massive provider of food for much of the world, and with already soaring food prices, being able to send out their grains will have a massive stabilizing effect.

    Of course, I’m convinced that Republicans don’t care who gets hurt in their mad quest for power.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “This would be a very dumb move …” — And what else is new with the Republicans?

      Have you noticed how there seems to be some kind of “connection” between stupidity and a drive for power???

      Liked by 5 people

    • “…Republicans don’t care who gets hurt in their mad quest for power.”

      Let me remind everyone that Steve Bannon declared early in 2017 the Trump administration’s intention was the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” We cannot continue to expect them to do things in agreement with good governance. They don’t intend to govern. The constitution stands in the way of many people’s agendas, principally capitalism and religion. Elimination of the administrative state means the elimination of constitutional government. Despots do not want constitutions. Tyrants do not share their dominion.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. From the outside it looks like the Republicans have a good chance of winning. If the issue is for example rising crime, it is easy to sell ignorant people the idea, that longer sentences are the solution. To punish the transgressor more. It is very hard to convince them, that does not solve the problem. The fact, that it has never worked anywhere and that countries with the most severe legal punishments are also the ones with worst crime, seems unintuitive, so people do not believe it. It is hard to try to explain to just ordinary people, that only way to actually solve the problem, is that the root causes, like inequality, must first be addressed and that before this is going to help it is going to take a long time and it is going to cost them money. They do not want to hear.

    In the words of Lemmy Killmister of the Motörhead: “To hide our guilt we build more jails…” March ör Die.

    The same populistic offer of simple solutions versus the complex problems and harsh reality is in play accross the board. Global inflation is the fault of the president and more guns in the hands of “good guys” somehow solves the problem of too many guns at loose – only, who is the good guy? Paul Rittenhouse? Freedom of speech means absolute freedom to insult, attack, lie, manipulate even the most voulnerable people without any responsibility, or there is no freedom at all? Because the voter must have an outlet for their own anxiety caused by the commercialistic Capitalist society around them. Freedom in general is a good thing, but does it incorporate freedom to abuse and exploit people?

    Elon Musk has said people should vote for Republicans, because that would give the society balance, as the president is a Democrat, but who is he addressing, since is it not obvious to all, that this would most likely cripple the entire bgovernment and possibly stop all descision making? That certainly would make the Russian government happy.

    People do not like politicians who demand them to change their ways, no matter the reasons, even to awoid a global catastrophy, but they like Jesus who forgives them everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ” it is easy to sell ignorant people the idea, that longer sentences are the solution. “

      The idea that Republicans deal better with crime also requires a bit of ignorance. Looking at the data, blue states tend to have lower crime rates than red states. If Democrat policies are the reason for the recent crime problem, why is it that red states tend to have a bigger crime problem in the first place? Surely Republican states should have lower crime rates if they have better policies to address crime.

      “Elon Musk has said people should vote for Republicans, because that would give the society balance.”

      I don’t much care what that idiot has to say. Having success in one area doesn’t make you smart in another. The idea that you need “balance”, when one party is tipping the country into theocracy and authoritarianism, and is also leading the charge to undermine democracy, is not balance. It’s a recipe for disaster.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, agreed. It appears, that the conservatives everywhere and always have appealed to crime and punishment as a solution, but is it just because their political support is always generated by fear? Fear of the, transgressor, outsider, immigrant, different in colour, creed or even as private matter as sexuality. Today they cry foul, when such bigotry is condemned, as they can not see what is wrong about it, so the silly buggers think they see a sort of hypocricy and conflict between demands for tolerance of difference and demands for intolerance of bigotry. Does this black and white worldview stem from stupidity, or is stupidity in these fields a product of said worldview?

        Talking about stupidity, Musk is a curious example of “success” despite obvious stupidity. It is not so rare, but to unintelligent people money appears to be some ultimate measure for success, as it is an indicator – of sorts – of winning. I guess the need to compare and compete comes from some sort of innerexperience of inadequacy, that drives a person not only to measure themselves to others constantly and win or cheat to feel better about themselves, but also to accept societal hierarchies based on these games of theirs. A stupid person is incapable of recognising wisdom, so they rely on all sorts of arbitrary means to find and define it. They argue, that competetiveness brings forth progress and wealth, when what it really does is it shifts wealth, concentrates it to few “winners” and disrupts co-operation, creativeness and innovation, that are the real forces behind progress. But I guess without it a bunch of dudes who are not good at anything else, would feel bad about themselves. What a pity we all have to pay for that, and how we have stupidly accepted their satisfaction as a natural part of human culture. I found this comment by Musk interresting in the sense of how do people interprit it. You are right, of course, that after moving the goal posts so far right, as has happened, the demand for “balance” in the middle is just ridiculous. The US left is not very far left. To quote the Finnish US ambassador, Bernie Sanders would be seen in Finland as representing the “boring mainstream”.

        Liked by 2 people

        • “Does this black and white worldview stem from stupidity, or is stupidity in these fields a product of said worldview?”

          I think that, to a significant extent, the stupidity is a product of the worldview, in particular the fundamentalist Christian worldview that demands that everything is black and white, and has little room for nuance. I don’t think most people are stupid, but they accept really stupid ideas uncritically, mostly because they’ve been indoctrinated since they were children to believe such nonsense.

          “Talking about stupidity, Musk is a curious example of “success” despite obvious stupidity”

          In my opinion, most rich people are rich because (and these are not mutually exclusive):
          A. They were born to rich parents, which gives a MASSIVE leg up, mostly because of who they know and the easy capital they have access to
          B. They managed to get lucky and be in the right place at the right time
          C. They actually managed to use their talents to achieve the incredible

          I think A plays a much larger factor than B, and B is generally a larger factor than C.

          “To quote the Finnish US ambassador, Bernie Sanders would be seen in Finland as representing the “boring mainstream”.”

          Which ultimately speaks of just how far right-shifted the Overton window is in the United States. “Normal” political discourse in the US doesn’t seem capable of accepting what is easily accepted in every other peer country. Hell, Americans can’t even get socialized medicare, something the rest of the industrialized world has had for decades.

          Liked by 2 people

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