By the time this column goes to press, the midterm election season will be over in most states, and in other states there may be potential run-offs, recounts, concession speeches ﬁnally given, and wound licking. There will be adulation, congratulations, and the arrival of acute depression.
As with any competition, there are winners…and losers. Midterm season 2022 was that one family member or close friend that came for a visit that seemed to never end. You knew the visit had an expiration date, but in the days leading up to it, you were literally pulling your hair out from the tension and stress. On this quiet Monday evening, almost 23 hours before the ofﬁcial ﬁrst election results are known, I am reflective. Contemplative. I am not one that throws a lot of weight behind what the polls are revealing. I am a realist with a smidgeon of optimism. I think that by the time you the reader enjoy my pre-election day musings, Ron DeSantis will be re-elected governor of this great sunshiny state, and Marco Rubio will go back to Washington as senator. That’s unfortunate to predict. But that is how the cookie crumbles as my Mom used to say. I would have loved to see Val Demings in that senatorial position.
To even write this on the eve of the midterms gives me chills. Makes me sad, yet, as I mentioned before, I’m reflective. There was something that Demings mentioned in her debate with Marco Rubio a few weeks back that pretty much sums up the Midterm election season of 2022: “I am really disappointed in you because I think there was a time when you did not lie in order to win."
I am not naïve enough to believe that politicking and political campaigns are not fraught with embellishments and white lies. This is a competition to appeal to the sensibilities of voters and the methods in which politicians use to get a check in the likability column can be eyebrow raising, questionable, and occasionally unethical.
Yet we have learned from four years of Donald Trump that unethical ain’t all that bad where it comes to solidifying votes and getting what you want. The Trumpublican MAGA playbook has many pages to peruse and on each of those pages are the words lie and fear because let’s face it, that is how the former Republican party operated before it dissolved into the arm of Donald Trump. Trump-like minions ran a campaign across America during the midterm season serving up lies and fears which were the meat and potatoes of each candidate.
Am I surprised DeSantis won a second term? Not really. Charlie Crist, in my opinion, was not the optimum candidate, but who else did the Florida Democratic Party have strong enough to run a competitive race against DeSantis? However, on that note, I believe that Charlie Crist ran a solid campaign and I supported his platform.
What I loved about Midterm season 2022 was Barack Hussein Obama. When he told Milwaukee voters that it was good to be back in their city, I was thinking to myself, “It’s good to see you back, Barack.” I am sure I am not the only one who fell in love all over again with Barack. I am certain I was not alone in secretly wishing that he was on the ballot somewhere. That is idealistic thinking. Barack Obama has always been a fantastic speaker, a powerful orator. Maybe that is why I was sold on Obama in 2008, and in 2012. I simply enjoyed listening to him, and as he stumped for Democratic candidates, I can only hope that everyone within earshot of his laughter and lilting voice went directly to the polls. I am sure that in the coming weeks, or maybe by the time you read this, the statistics may be available as to how many Americans voted in the midterms. It will be record-breaking. The question is: will it be enough?
With so many important issues on the table in this country, such as the Supreme Court’s decision to strip a woman’s right to choose, the midterm season touched a specific cord in everyone paying close attention. The most important issue that was on the ballot though was not the economy i.e. inflation, gas and food prices, or Ukraine and Russia, critical race theory or women’s reproductive health. The most important issue on the ballot was democracy. Can America continue to uphold democracy or will it after 246 years crumble into something that resembles a mashup of authoritarianism and fascism?
On the eve of the midterm season climax and conclusion, I am optimistic that democracy can withstand this moment that we have been having since 2016. At the same time, I am a realist. With a Supreme Court stacked to lean against democracy, a political party cemented in upholding and propping up the amorality of Trumpism, and perhaps 71 million people who believe that what happened on January 6, 2021, was nothing more than civil political discourse, the results of the midterms may just be an additional boot on a ski heading down a slippery slope to whatever America is about to become because whether we want to admit it or not, America is changing. There are many signs that this country is moving towards a reckoning.
Will the other half of this country be strong enough to hold back the winds of a proverbial civil war that threatens to tear the very fabric and façade of what America portrays herself to be? That question perplexes and troubles me. Fast forward to November 2024. Did midterm season 2022 open the door to a corrupt former president to finish what he started? Or will DeSantis, eclipse his mentor with Marco Rubio and Rick Scott to help propel him into the White House? What other landmark decisions will the Supreme Court overturn that will make gay and interracial marriage illegal, and extinguish civil and voting rights for Black Americans? On the eve of this very important midterm election, my thoughts wonder from the present to the past, and then from the past to the future.