No sooner had the clocks struck midnight and we rolled in 2022, when the avalanche of 2022 prediction articles came crashing down on us. I’m guessing you’ve already seen at least a handful of these stories, whether on TV or news sites or social media.
Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give you some real talk, and then I’ll give you my thoughts.
First of all
None other than Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a scholar on authoritarians and threats to democracy, said the following on Twitter yesterday:
“Part of GOP psyop is to make you lose hope, to become defeated and not even try to save democracy. “It’s all useless.” It’s an old trick.” Source
We should expect that Republicans will push out articles written by anyone who proudly proclaim the Dems will lose the House, will lose around the country, because it serves this goal of discouraging our voters. But be on the lookout for anyone pushing these articles and messages — what is their aim in doing so? We all have a role in pushing back, even if it’s a simple comment to say that nothing is set in stone until the last vote is counted.
The real talk is that most of these articles are basing their predictions on historical precedent. And history shows that a majority of the time, the party of the president in the White House loses a lot of seats, especially in the House, during the midterms. Here’s that chart:
All that orange means a lot of losing for the president’s party. You will note, though, that there is some green, however infrequent. So this historical context is important — not to discourage anyone, but to point out what we’re up against.
All that to say, politics does not feel even remotely “normal” to me these days. Does it feel like that for you?
Will the “normal” reasons why the president’s party does poorly in the midterms stand up when many of us feel like democracy is on the line, and so many Republican politicians and voters seem to be perfectly ok ushering in authoritarian rule?
If Biden’s approval ratings return to where they were towards the beginning of his term, or the economy continues to improve, or if COVID19 is mostly behind us, how will voters treat the incumbent’s party?
How will nearly half of Republican voters who saw the events of January 6th as a threat to our democracy (source) feel about voting for politicians who continue to push the Big Lie and support the insurrectionists?
Not to mention that the Democrats have shown INCREDIBLE turnout, not just in the last presidential election (81 million voters!!) but we also broke nearly every record with our turnout in 2018. Will the same forces that animated all that organizing, registering, and voting be in force this year?
Well, I aim to do everything I can to make sure that happens. And that, is exactly what the message of this post is. Historical precedent is only that — history. Every election cycle has its own personality, its own forces pulling and pushing on voters. What we can do is ensure that as many people as possible see how important it is to keep showing up to the polls, to actively engage in our democracy, to ensure that it lasts.
Are you in?
In the coming year, I’ll be focused on winning the 2022 midterms, pushing positive Democratic messaging, and bringing some relief in the form of good news and cartoons. If you’d like to support my work, you can do that at my Patreon page!