A Bucks County Progressive Reflects on the 2022 Midterm Elections

We may have dodged a bullet, but the GOP gun is still loaded with democracy, women’s rights, and public education perpetually on the firing line.

Let me first quote Coach Doc Rivers from his interview after yet another Black man, Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was shot by police: “It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back. It’s really so sad.”  

Many Democrats feared a red wave in the 2022 general election even when women’s freedom and democracy were on the line. When the initial results showed that blue resistance had turned the red wave into a mere trickle, there was joy and celebration in most Democratic camps around the nation where so many unexpected and truly surprising victories occurred. Democrats had maintained control of the Senate and there was an outside chance they could maintain control of the House. Governor races in key battleground states went blue as did many secretary of state positions that had been challenged with election-denying Trump endorsed candidates. No state legislatures flipped from blue to red and some even flipped  or were on the verge of flipping blue. Our country had seemed to dodge a bullet despite the challenging economic state of the country and the frightening  political landscape of truly extreme and almost ludicrous Republican candidates. Democrats, now optimistic, had hope that the feverish scourge of Trumpism had finally crested. Their love of country seemed to blossom in this warm November and the country’s voters had seemed to love them back with victories for so many critical political positions.

But I ask: “Should we be so joyful?”

Yes, more young women came out to vote in a midyear election who were rightfully outraged about their freedom being stripped away by a conservative Trump-packed Supreme Court. Independents and suburban women went Democratic, not only because of the Republican attack on women’s freedom, but because of the obvious craziness of so many of the election-denying Trump endorsed candidates. “Enough of the crazy; let’s return to normal” went through their minds as they voted, despite the high price of eggs and gas. The reemergence of the former twice-impeached president meddling in this election triggered in their minds “Enough of him already!” for these voters who then delivered a resounding defeat to many of these truth-denying Trump acolytes.

But as the dust settles, the Democratic majority in the Senate is as slim as ever although there is some hope that the runoff in Georgia (PLEASE HELP SENATOR WARNOCK WIN AGAIN!) will provide the Democrats with 51 instead of 50 votes in the Senate, thus providing a way around Senator Manchin or Sinema (but alas, not both).  As I write this article, maintaining control of the House now looks like a pipe dream. Losing the House (hey, you can thank Bucks County ticket-splitters for voting in “moderate independent” Congressman Fitzpatrick yet again, thus foolishly helping to ensure a Republican majority in the House). This will mean for the next two years endless pointless investigations into meaningless issues led by the ilk of “Benghazi” Jim Jordan types. And the dream of flipping the Pennsylvania State House in Harrisburg has seemingly just been dashed by Mark Moffa’s close 100 vote or so loss here in Bucks County.

So where is our Great Victory to celebrate when we have lost the House and now have no way now to advance the Biden agenda? For two years we will be able to accomplish almost nothing because of the power of the Republican controlled House to do political theater instead of passing legislation to help the American people. 

Will the minimum wage be raised? No. 

Will we traverse the road to universal healthcare? No. 

Will we protect women’s freedom? No. 

Will we protect voting rights for all? No.

Will we make progress on systemic racial injustice? No. 

Will we deal effectively with climate change? No. 

Will we stop the senseless slaughter of our citizens with weapons of war? No.

Will we deal humanely and intelligently with immigration when so many businesses are desperate to fill so many vacancies? No.

But will we perhaps instead cause harm to America on dangerous Republican stunts like not raising the debt ceiling and not passing a budget? Yes, most likely we can look forward to that self-induced wound because we lost power to the party that cares more about maintaining its own power than about governing our country well.   

We also need to remember that millions of Americans voted for fringe candidates who blindly parroted the former president’s Big Lies that damage our democracy and champion a fascist misogynistic racist ideology.

So why are we celebrating? We should be as frightened as ever that dark forces still live and flourish in this country which wish to strangle our democracy, subjugate women, glorify ignorant demagogues, destroy our educational system, promulgate white supremacy ideology, and worship the possession of guns that are killing so many innocent people every year.

Yes, I want to love this country, but from where I sit, I see a country filled with too many people who do not understand or love back its ideals, and who instead are sadly willing, either knowingly or unwittingly, to destroy the foundations of what could be our very glorious and wonderful democratic experiment: our beloved America.

It is too early to celebrate, my friends. There is much work to do. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and work even harder for the better America we know is within our grasp, if only we are willing to reach for it.

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Picture of Steve Cickay

Steve Cickay

Steve studied philosophy at the University of Chicago where he developed critical inquiry and writing skills that enriched all his endeavors in life. He moved with his family to Bucks County in 1985 attracted by the excellence of its public schools for his children. He spent his life in public service in the Departments of Army, Navy, Labor and Treasury in the information technology field. During retirement, he became more active in local politics as an independent activist, a Democratic Committeeperson, and a Democratic candidate for State Senate in 2014. Although he enjoys walking his rescued pitbull Hazel in the beautiful parks of Bucks County, biking and trying to run in his advancing years, his new role as a grandfather fills him with exquisite joy.

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