You hear it, without fail, every two years, that “this is the most important, most consequential election in our lifetime, if not in history!
It’s being bellowed and blustered again as the 2022 midterm election approaches. You know what? This one just might fit the bill, given what’s at stake and what could be the fate of the democratic system of government that we all say we cherish.
The importance of this year’s midterm election has its root in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump refused to concede that he lost to Joe Biden. Then came the 1/6 insurrection, the assault on our Capitol Building, the effort to stop the certification of the election results.
Trump continues to foment The Big Lie about “widespread voter fraud.” His lying has spawned a new category of candidates. We call them “election deniers.” They are running for seats in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, for governorships, for secretary of state in many states where they serve as chief election officers.
They are running neck-and-neck in many states with “mainstream” candidates who want them defeated not just to protect their constituents from the lunacy they are promoting, but to protect our democratic system of government.
It’s the closeness of many of these contests including candidates who continue to deny the 2020 election result that simply boggles my noggin. The Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race, the race for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat, the battle for the Senate seat in Georgia, campaigns for governor in Pennsylvania, Arizona and even in Texas.
The U.S. Senate is divided 50-50, but Democrats hold the edge — for the moment — because they have a vice president who can break tie votes. A swing of a seat or two in either direction means (a) that Republicans will take control and become even more obstructionist for the next two years of President Biden’s term or (b) that Democrats can gain something close to a governing majority and move on important legislation aimed at restoring some sort of balance of power.
It’s being said that a “presidential-year turnout” bodes well for Democratic candidates, and a “normal midterm election turnout” bodes well for Republican candidates.
Me? I am hoping for a huge turnout that rivals what we saw in 2020, with Joe Biden and Donald Trump together polling more than 155 million votes. It was a stunning turnout. It means that democracy is alive and well.
May it continue to show good health and vitality this year, too.