I, along with many other Americans, woke up on the morning of Wednesday, November 8, 2023 hopeful for the future of America. Democrats unexpectedly won an incredible number of contests across the nation and especially here in Bucks County where there were resounding Democratic victories from school boards to township supervisors to county commissioners. No doubt, many volunteers in the Democratic political community felt, as I did, a great satisfaction knowing that the hard tedious work they exerted for this off-year election had not been in vain. More importantly, there was relief and joy that so many voters resoundingly rejected the extremist MAGA agenda at the polls. There was hope in the air that the long nightmare of the extremist MAGA political ideology had begun to sour – and that a return to a civilized normalcy was finally on the horizon.
I see three failures of Republican policy and ideology that led to our victory in November:
– their continuing war on the freedom of women,
– their outrageous attacks on our public education system that often demonized and discriminated against the LGBTQ+ community, vilified teachers and librarians, and banned books and mutilated,
– and their ongoing attacks on voting rights, elections, and just democracy in general.
I contend that the convergence of these three un-American assaults on our fundamental American values drove American voters to the polls and created the big beautiful blue wave that washed away the extremist Republican candidates who championed the reactionary positions I just mentioned.
In red state Ohio, voters flocked to the polls to enshrine in the state constitution a woman’s right abortion to choose and to make other reproductive health care decisions. Women’s freedom and bodily autonomy was also front and center in red Kentucky where voters returned their Democratic governor Andy Beshear to a second term in office. Fears of the Virginia Republican Governor Youngkin obtaining a Republican majority in both houses in the Virginia State Legislature, where then both reproductive and election rights could easily be denied, led to the exact opposite: Democrats now control both houses of the Virginia State Legislature.
Here in Bucks County, the insidious Republican national agenda of attacking public education has been in full force in Pennridge and Central Bucks school systems. Thanks to excellent local reporting, especially by the great writers in this publication The Beacon, voters have been able to see and hear firsthand what damage this divisive and hateful agenda of book banning and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community has wrought. Voters across the county recognized this horror show for what it was: an artificially introduced, divisive, fear-mongering national Republican agenda whose purpose was to inflame the fears and prejudices of voters and weaken the public education system. The expert and incessant reporting of the havoc occurring at the Central Bucks and Pennridge school board meetings and resultant detrimental policy changes served as a wake-up call to the voters in other school districts as well. Bucks County voters therefore flipped the Pennridge, Central Bucks and Council Rock School districts to Democratic control.
Democrats overwhelmingly won the county commissioner races. Voters knew that the county commissioner office oversees the all-important Board of Elections. With the former president, convicted of sexual assault and business fraud and indicted on 91 felony counts, yet still incredibly leading the race for the Republican presidential nomination, voters knew how important it was to ensure the Board of Elections conduct a free and fair election in 2024. They unequivocally kept that function in trustworthy Democratic hands.
Americans showed they want freedom and not fascism: freedom to have free and fair elections, freedom for their children to have a quality and inclusive education, and freedom to make personal health care decisions – all without interference by politicians infected with MAGA extremist ideology.
There is another factor that could be attributed to the overwhelming Democratic victory. Voters have grown tired of the drama, lies and nonsense of the Republican Party since the Trump era began in 2015. Frankly, they are growing sick of almost eight years of this kind of “reality” show. They are starting to yearn for some normalcy in politics, not ugly divisiveness, fearmongering and blatant disregard for the rules and norms of electioneering. I even noticed this in local elections where illegal ugly handwritten signs filled with lies and hyperbole suddenly appeared on the roads, and Democratic ordinary signs were torn into shreds, thrown in the bushes, or were outright stolen. Voters are beginning to grow sick of the ugly theatrics. They voted in force for the party that is focused on governing rather than the politics of fear, outrage, and divisiveness. They voted for the party that is adamant to follow and enforce, not break, the rules that should apply to all citizens equally.
Finally, I certainly do not want to spoil the joy we should be feeling about this great victory. Yet I also see looming threats on the horizon that must not be ignored. We should celebrate this great victory, but at the same time, we must use it to inspire us to work harder for an even greater victory in 2024.
What should depress us is this: what did we fight for in this election cycle? The freedom of women? The strength of our public education system? The integrity of our democracy? These are battles that we have fought and thought we won long ago, but thanks to the Republican Party, captured by MAGA extremists, we are forced to fight yet again. So yes, we have made some progress on these old fronts this time around, but we should have been fighting on new fronts such as dealing with climate change, income inequality, affordable health care for all and other important real issues facing all citizens today. If we are lucky to get back to where we were, we still have so much further to go.
And what is facing us in 2024 when the former president wins the Republican nomination for president? We are facing the most severe threat to the existence of our very democracy in the entire history of our nation. The criminally indicted former president has already announced he will make an enemies list and weaponize the Justice Department and FBI to go after his political opponents, will use the Insurrection Act to attack peaceful protesters with our military, round up immigrants in raids across the country and put them in internment camps, and even unconstitutionally run for a third term. So there is no time to rest. We must be inspired by this great November 2023 victory to do even more in 2024 to ensure another big win.
I won’t reveal our successful 2023 strategies here, but I want to assure you all that there are many opportunities available for you to help the Democratic Party win next year. Of course some activities may not be to your liking or capability, but there are many activities in our tool box so I am sure you can find one or more that best suits your preference and ability. And there is always the option of making a donation. Contact your local Democratic Party office to find out how you can help preserve our democracy. With your assistance, hopefully we all will be able to celebrate yet another big beautiful blue wave in 2024.