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A Few Election Thoughts

Oregon Gubernatorial Candidate, Tina Kotek, greets children from Arleta Elementary school, during their field trip after she delivered a victory speech at Salmon Springs in downtown Portland, Oregon, on November 11th, 2022. Photo by Jordan Gale.

I’ve stayed quiet about election results for a few days, just to see how things really played out, read some smarter people than me (not a high bar), and think a bit.

The thing most clear to me–which if it’s like most things “clear” to all pundits after a single election will be proven wrong in five minutes–is that we may be beyond the era of wave elections. This nation is, simply put, deeply divided and most people know where they stand. There will always be the morons in the middle but they didn’t overwhelm the electorate this time. There are ticket splitters too–who the hell would vote for Warnock and Kemp, or Kelly and Lake? This is beyond comprehension to me, but it’s where we are. And of course there are some changes to do continue to take place–Florida moving hard right, Arizona and Georgia slowly moving to the left, whatever the hell is happening in New York.

But I don’t know that I think we will see any wave elections in the near future. Republicans are going to continue to embrace fascism. Other Americans are outraged by this, even if they are not leftists in any sense of the word. So long as Republicans nominate crazy people, there will be enough response to that to at least hold things in place, or I think that’s likely anyway. I have no idea how you convert many of these fascist curious voters to not being fascist curious, but as Fetterman demonstrated, you don’t have to convert that many of them. You just have to appeal to 3 percent of them or so to significantly increase your chances of winning, at least in state such as Pennsylvania. In Ohio, obviously it’s much harder and while Tim Ryan ran a good race, that state is pretty much lost for now, though I do think Sherrod Brown will likely win reelection in 2024 and be the last Democrat standing from that state. Color me moderately optimistic about Jon Tester too–he’s already won 3 times in Montana and it’s not as if the Treasure State has really become more conservative over the years.

It’s also hilarious to watch the media have to admit that abortion was more of a motivating factor for a lot of voters than INFLATION, it’s second favorite thing to talk about outside of DEFICITS. I may not know what I’m talking about when it comes to American politics, but neither does Chuck Todd, Maggie Haberman, Chris Cillizza, etc. Every Man His Own Pundit, to riff from the legendary historian Carl Becker. Might as well when the pundity coming from the blob is so obviously wrong.

Thus, I think there’s little question that one way to keep motivating voters is to keep abortion rights on the ballot. I’d like to see a ton of bills to promote abortion rights on the ballot in 2024. I’d like to see a to of bills codifying both gay marriage and birth control too. We have the moral and political high ground on all these issues. Take advantage of it!

Another thing that seems clear is that the upper Midwest is now stable. The great fear was that the Great Lakes states would all permanently keeping moving to the far right, but with 2018, 2020, and 2022, it’s pretty clear that is not the case. Even more importantly is that even in a state where Republicans have ended democracy, such as Wisconsin, Democrats continue to hold the governorship, so in all three of the states Trump flipped, Democrats have key control over the 2024 elections. Right there I simply feel that fascism has been held in line and that we might have more time left in this nation as a semi-functional democracy than I thought.

Moreover, while we need to stop thinking of demographics as destiny, the demographic makeup continues to favor Democrats going forward. Outside of Florida, the Latino move to the right seems to have stalled. As for Florida, I give up. But young people fucking despise Republicans. Two more years is two more years of the electorate changing. And what we do know is that age cohorts do tend to stay pretty stable through their lives. The Republican Party is pretty much the party of old racist white people, with some misogynists of other races thrown into the mix. That will keep you pretty competitive in most of the states, but it’s not much of a long-term strategy. On the other hand, with every young Democrat moving to 10 different states, there are limits to said electoral strategy. I’m not blaming anyone for not wanting to live in red states, but if you have a choice on where you live, a state such as Ohio or North Carolina or Tennessee or Montana is a good one in terms of being on the ground to try and drive political change. I was never more politically active than I was in Tennessee because it was so needed there and people tended to find each other and build community that way.

I suppose Republicans are going to carry the House, though we still have a small chance if a bunch of races break our way. But it will be such a narrow majority that it will be a shit show watching Republicans try to govern themselves, not to mention the nation. There’s a real downside to this of course–there will probably be a serious government shutdown that could have a global impact. But if anything, it will demonstrate to everyone willing to listen even a little bit that Republicans cannot govern at all at this point. And the party is completely dead in the entirety of New England.

Of course, the Beltway will learn nothing from any of this. They will still focus intently on INFLATION!!! They will continue to promote any breathing Republican as DADDY. But it’s also increasingly unclear whether anyone actually listens to any of these people, outside of Fox News of course but that’s another issue entirely.

As for internal Democratic strife, Sean Patrick Maloney can stick it up his loser ass. His petulance over AOC is a gigantic object lesson in a) blaming your own failures on others and b) why large sectors of the left hate the centrists of the Democratic Party. It’s not so much an ideological dislike as it is that these are just kind of awful people who hate the left more than they hate the Republicans and show open contempt for anyone to the left of Bill Clinton in 1995. If Maloney wants to blame anyone for his loss (other than himself, which he should) it should be Andrew Cuomo for making sure that he could govern with Republicans who then ratfucked the Democratic Party in redistricting.

Well, that’s enough for now. Except to say one thing–Fuck you Phil Knight. Oregon is a Democratic state and will remain so. And I mean, really, since Democrats have now held the governor’s office since 1987, Nike hasn’t grown at all………..

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