Tag Archives: midterm election

Midterm result: Boring is good

When he was campaigning for president in 2020, I wondered at the time whether Joe Biden could somehow find a way to make “boring” a more fashionable form of politics.

I believe the result of the 2022 midterm election suggests that well might be the case. President Biden, in the eyes of Democratic political strategists, simply turned to his legislative accomplishments and sold enough Americans in key states that it’s OK to plod along and produce legislation that benefits them.

The election result produced a stunning outcome. Democrats retained control of the Senate; their grip on the upper chamber might tighten just a bit if Sen. Raphael Warnock knocks off Herschel Walker in the Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia. A Warnock victory would give the Democrats a 51-49 majority, which I realize isn’t great, but it’s better than a 50-50 tie; it’s a damn sight better than turning the body over to the wacky GOP that adheres to nutjob notions that most Americans oppose.

One of the reasons I supported Biden’s election in 2020 was that he brought a steady hand to the executive branch of government. Lord knows we needed steadiness after the chaos brought by the previous four years.

Now, to be sure the president hasn’t been successful with every single effort he has undertaken. But with the help of a strong House speaker in Nancy Pelosi and a Democratically controlled Senate that at times seemed to wobble in its support of key legislation, the president has been able to notch some key victories.

Congress enacted legislation aimed at curbing gun violence; it has enacted infrastructure repair and renovation; it has approved legislation aimed at combatting climate change; the president sought and achieved legislation that curbs the cost of prescription drugs.

How President Biden helped Democrats avert a midterm disaster (msn.com)

And, yes, the annual budget deficit has shrunk, the nation has added millions of jobs, we are vaccinating more Americans daily against the COVID virus.

Do not tell me that the inflation we are enduring is President Biden’s fault exclusively. It is nothing of the sort. The inflation is a worldwide crisis that is being felt in rich countries and poor ones. It’s a result of the supply chain issue, the Ukraine War and other factors that no U.S. president can possibly hope to control.

Yep, boring is good. I believe the boring list of accomplishments that Joe Biden has rung up has given the nation an important political victory by staving off the so-called “red wave” that frightened millions of us.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

GOP to take over the House

Kevin McCarthy now appears likely to become the Man of the House … of Representatives when Congress convenes its new term in January.

Republican House candidates have secured the body’s 218th GOP seat, giving Republicans the gavel.

It’s not yet a cinch that McCarthy will succeed his fellow Californian, Nancy Pelosi, as speaker. The GOP’s underwhelming performance in the 2022 midterm election — which was supposed to produce a Republican tsunami that would sweep Democrats out of office — has brought plenty of recrimination to McCarthy.

McCarthy said he’ll seek the speakership. He will have a fight on his hands, not that I really care.

Whoever takes the speaker’s gavel from Pelosi will take command of what appears to be a razor-thin majority. The projections tell us the Rs will finish with 219 seats, compared to the Ds with 216. No wiggle room, man.

The red wave never materialized. The new Congress will be fun to watch … don’t you think?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Now … for a positive outlook on election

With all the reaction — replete with blame over who did something wrong during the midterm election — I want to take a moment or two to ponder the positive takeaways one can get from the balloting.

Democrats held off the Republican “red wave” by maintaining control of the Senate and, also importantly, by minimizing the Republican ascent to majority status in the House.

When the ballots are counted, it appears that the GOP will occupy 219 House seats, compared to 216 Democrats serving in the lower chamber. Republicans need 218 to win an outright majority. They got one more than the bare minimum.

Who deserves credit for Democrats’ stronger-than-expected showing? I suppose you can start with the abysmal quality of many GOP candidates. Some of them didn’t deserve to be nominated by their party, let alone elected to public office.

I am struck by the message that voters seemed to deliver, which is that they are weary of the conspiracy nonsense. Voters favored candidates who vowed to govern. They sought out the thoughtful candidates who promised to stop demonizing local election officials, individuals who work hard to ensure and protect the integrity of our electoral process.

The process does work. It’s not perfect. But it works. It did so again in the midterm election.

I won’t seek to assess which politicians benefited from this election. It’s easy, I suppose, to wonder whether the midterm result enhances President Biden’s chances at re-election. I won’t go there. One message, though, seems to have resonated with voters. It is that Joe Biden does not deserve blame for worldwide inflation.

If he were to shoulder that blame, then he should bask in the notion that inflation appears to be lessening. Then again, I won’t assign that credit to him, either. Global economics is far more complicated than many of the MAGA types would have you believe.

The election is over. The task now awaiting Democratic and Republican politicians alike is determining how they intend to govern with such narrow majorities in the Senate and the House. Remember that if Democrats secure 51 seats in the Senate and Republicans finish with 219 seats in the House, neither party has any room for mistakes.

Still, the midterm election ended with democracy having a good day at the polls.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Expressing thanks for charter vote

My attention has been focused since Election Day on the national implications of the midterm election and on Democrats’ astonishing performance in keeping control of the Senate and cutting Republicans’ effort to gain control of the House.

But here in Princeton, Texas, we had an important election that affects the manner in which our city government will be able to do business.

Fifty-six percent of the voters who cast ballots approved a city charter for the city where my wife and I have lived for nearly four years. This is an important step toward what I call “municipal adulthood.”

Princeton is a city in a serious growth mode. Our population is exploding, and I believe firmly that the outcome at the ballot box was determined by the numbers of new residents who decided to lift the city into the 21st century. The final tally was 2,257 votes in favor compared to 1,787 votes against.

Princeton had been governed as a “general law” city, meaning its laws were set by the Texas Legislature. The city had tried four times previously to approve a charter; it failed all four times, chiefly because of opposition from those who lived outside the city limits. Think of the irony. These charter foes opposed it because of annexation concerns, yet they couldn’t even cast ballots to oppose it, as the referendum was limited only to those who live inside the city’s corporate limits.

Well, the annexation matter has been settled. The city’s voters turned out in significantly greater numbers than they had in previous elections to approve the charter.

This means the city now can set its own rules, which is necessary for a growing community such as ours.

it was a good day, indeed, for those of us who are concerned about the tone of the Republican Party’s rhetoric. Election Day 2022 also proved to be a good day for those of us who favored Princeton’s City Hall’s decision to ask for voters’ permission to run its affairs with a home-rule charter.

To their great credit, our neighbors in Princeton answered the call.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Will majority be worth it?

Let’s presume that the conventional wisdom holds up in the wake of the 2022 midterm election, which is that Republicans are going to win a majority of the House seats and will be in charge when the next Congress convenes in January.

What I am going to wonder aloud is whether the House GOP leadership team can govern. Will it be able to control its own members, let alone dictate the flow of legislation that comes from the lower legislative chamber?

I doubt it. Seriously!

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was thought to be a shoo-in for speaker if Republicans took command. Even that’s in doubt today.

McCarthy has pissed off the right-wing Freedom Caucus wing of his House members. He also has angered the establishment wing of those who call themselves Republicans. The MAGA lovers wanted a much larger majority; they won’t get it. The establishment wing of the GOP wants to work with Democrats on legislation; that likely won’t happen, either, given Democrats’ anger at McCarthy over his back-tracking on Donald Trump’s role in the 1/6 insurrection.

I keep seeing models suggesting Republicans will win 219 House seats; Democrats are slated to occupy 216 of them. The majority party needs 218 to take command. A one-seat cushion isn’t very, um, secure … you know?

This all makes the GOP majority practically worthless.

The current speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, is holding out hope that her party can squeak through by retaining a majority. That’s brave talk from a battle-tested political warrior.

Even though I am sitting in the peanut gallery, the cheap-seat view tells me that Republicans are going to eke out their cherished majority. However, I am going to wonder whether it’s worth having.

As the saying goes, elections do have consequences. We’re going to get a good look at how those consequences play out once the new Congress takes over.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This story needs to be told

The media are grossly underreporting a stunning result of the 2022 midterm election, which involves a Democrat flipping a GOP-held seat in the House of Representatives.

What’s more, this story takes place in a congressional district just across the Columbia River from my Portland, Ore., hometown. I now intend to give this story some of the attention it deserves.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler voted in 2021 to impeach Donald J. Trump after Trump incited the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill. Beutler represents Washington state’s Third Congressional District, which includes Clark County, just across river from Portland.

Beutler also is a Republican. Her payback for voting to impeach the crooked POTUS was to face a GOP primary foe this year. Joe Kent, a MAGA-worshiping Trump sycophant defeated Beutler in the primary.

Oh, but wait! Then Kent, running for election in the midterm, got thumped out of office by Democrat Marie Gleusenkamp Perez.

Karma is wonderful … you know?

Washington’s Third Congressional District voters provided a stunning statement of disapproval of The Big Lie, of the Trump cult message of “fraud” that doesn’t exist.

It speaks as well as any individual House election result of just what drove voters to keep the Senate in Democratic hands and which could result in Democrats maintaining control of the House of Representatives. I acknowledge the latter event isn’t likely; but then again, they haven’t stopped counting the ballots in about 20 House districts.

The message to the MAGA lovers and the Big Liars out there ought to be crystal clear. The nation is weary of the conspiracy theories put forth by those who adhere to such nonsense.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Judiciary wins in midterm

Among the many winners who are basking in the glory of the 2022 midterm election result must be those who work within the federal judiciary.

Had the Republicans been able to seize control of the U.S. Senate, GOP leader Mitch McConnell had all but guaranteed that President Biden would have to endure a massive legislative blockade of all his judicial nominees.

Democrats will be in control of the Senate for at least the next two years. That means Biden will be able to fill the 50-some judicial vacancies that have stayed vacant.

Should a vacancy occur on the Supreme Court, the president will be able to nominate someone, who then will be subjected to the senatorial scrutiny required of all such nominees. Remember what McConnell did to President Obama when a vacancy occurred in early 2016 upon the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia, He played a crass game of partisan politics and blocked the man Obama wanted to sit on the court — Merrick Garland — from ever getting a hearing.

That kind of chicanery won’t happen now that Democrats have secured at least 50 seats in the Senate.

Yes, the judiciary emerges as one of the winners of the midterm election.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Michael Moore: predictor in chief

Michael Moore is trying to emerge as the nation’s go-to guy on political predictions. Who’da thunk it?

Moore is a noted filmmaker whose works have chronicled key points in recent American history. He has taken on gun violence, terrorists, and political figures of all stripes with his films.

Now he has become a predictor of political trends.

Moore was one of the few public figures to say out loud that Donald Trump would win the presidency in 2016. I laughed at him. So did others.

Now he is on record — several weeks ago! — in predicting that Democrats would defy history and logic and Republicans by saying that Democrats would get the better of the GOP in the 2022 midterm election.

Pundits of all types scoffed at him.

But again … he was correct.

Wow! That’s all I have.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Senate control hangs in balance

Election runoffs depend on turnout, or so the saying goes. Which means that the candidate who wins a two-person contest will do so on the basis of getting his or her voters to the polls.

In normal circumstances, voters need to be motivated by factors that might not exist internally. They might exist elsewhere.

So … with that the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker might depend on what is about to happen in Nevada.

The stakes are, shall we say … huge man.

The Senate is tied at 50-50, with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. The midterm election is staggering to its finish. Arizonans just re-elected Sen. Mark Kelly to a six-year Senate term. Kelly becomes the 49th Democrat to be elected. The 50th Democrat well might be Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who is locked in a fight with GOP challenger Adam Laxalt.

If Masto emerges as the 50th Democratic senator, does that render the Georgia runoff moot? Does it lessen the need for Georgia Democrats to ensure their guy, Sen. Warnock, gets enough votes to defeat Herschel Walker? Hardly!

If Warnock defeats Walker — which he damn sure must do — that would give Democrats a 51-49 majority in the next U.S. Senate, scenario few of us saw coming.

I cannot post this blog item without mentioning that Herschel Walker might be the most unfit individual to run for the Senate in the past, oh, 50 years. He was Donald J. Trump’s handpicked nominee, which tells me plenty about Walker’s qualifications to hold this valuable public office — which amount to zero!

Walker is an abortion hypocrite on the basis of two women who say he paid for their abortions. He has next to no relationship with many of his children, yet he campaigns as a staunch anti-abortion family man.

OK, I got that off my chest.

Back to the point, which is that the pending outcome in Nevada does nothing to the importance of the Georgia runoff. Democrats already have made plenty of history by bucking what was supposed to be a political shellacking.

I am going to hope they make more of it next month by re-electing Sen. Warnock to the Senate.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Thanks, Beto, but time’s up

It pains me to say this, but I must get it off my chest: It’s time for Beto O’Rourke to call it a career.

The young man perceived as Texas’s rising Democratic political star got his butt thumped in the midterm election. He lost to Gov. Greg Abbott by 11 percentage points in the cash-heavy race for governor.

O’Rourke broke some sort of fundraising record. He raised and spent more money than Abbott. He drew enthusiastic crowds. He got ’em fired up.

But … he finished with far fewer votes than the GOP incumbent.

O’Rourke’s high-water mark is now more evident than ever. He reached his zenith in 2018 when he came with 3% of defeating U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. He got a lot of us salivating over his prospects. Then he ran for president in 2020 … and flamed out.

Now this. In 2022, O’Rourke fell victim to belief in what he could do. He has fallen short yet again.

The Texas Tribune reports: “It’s been one [election] after another where we ramp everybody up and set up these expectations that we’re going to finish in first — and then we finish in second,” said Joel Montfort, a Democratic consultant in North Texas. “I don’t see any indication that we can win at statewide levels or won’t continue to bleed house seats to the other party.”

After election, Texas Democrats admit faltering on messaging, voter turnout | The Texas Tribune

Beto is now a three-time loser. Hmm. It seems to me his days on the Texas political stage have come to an end.

I voted for O’Rourke in 2018 and again in 2022. I don’t regret my votes for the young man. Still, the former congressman from El Paso, in my humble view, needs to find a job and pursue a new career.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com