The states may have saved democracy
Now do something with it
Right now, the dominant narrative about the midterms is what a relief they were for the Democrats. Weeks of warnings from conservative and “neutral” media about a coming “red tsunami” gave way to an evening of sheer delight on liberal Twitter and MSNBC. But once the smoke clears, it is still probable that those of us who were rooting for progress and rights won’t like what we see: most likely a Republican-controlled House, with a caucus dominated by deniers of the 2020 election; and, at best, a 51-49 Senate once again hostage to the whims of “Coal Joe” Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. (If Adam Laxalt and Herschel Walker pull out victories in Nevada and Georgia, respectively, the GOP will simply take control of the Senate, and bye-bye Supreme Court and cabinet confirmations for the next two years.)
I’m sorry to rain on anyone’s parade, but that’s where things stand. Everyone who worked for this result deserves a lot of credit and appreciation; things could have indeed been so much worse. But that will be little comfort for the next two years if, as it appears, legislating once again grinds to a halt; voting rights, reproductive rights, and climate change fall off the agenda; and the news cycle gets mired in constant threats of government shutdowns and congressional hearings about Hunter Biden’s underpants.
So why am I feeling provisionally okay about how things have gone this week? Thanks to some largely below-the-radar victories in the most retrograde of U.S. political structures: the states.
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