Midterm 2022

Just a quick postmortem from last night’s election. I’ll put up some thoughts, but this is primarily an open thread.

Despite predictions of a red wave, Democrats held their own. They lost seats in Congress, but not as many as expected. Republicans, who were closely aligned with Trump, did poorly in many cases. Dr. Oz in PA lost to a mountain of a man with lingering medical issues from a stroke. Whew. Kathy Hochul won the governorship in New York, despite the huge issue with crime and the growing Republican base on Long Island and other suburbs. Trump did have some wins, i.e. Vance in Ohio, but he had more losses.

I think people are just sick of extremism. Even though nearly 1/3 of the country thinks that Trump really won the last election, they are still sick of him.

They are also sick of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. AOC is in my media zone, and I didn’t see even one television ad for her. She didn’t also appear in a single ad for other candidates in our region. I’m naturally a moderate, and never felt that the progressive wing did much for disabled people like my son, so I’m not sad.

We don’t live in an area with a lot of Trump voters, so we always notice the one house near the park with a massive Trump sign on its front lawn. Driving past the house on the way to the park for a Saturday jog, we noticed that the home owner changed up his signs a couple of months ago. He replaced his Trump signs with “Republican Supporter” and “Anyone But Biden” signs.

American politics without Trump sounds heavenly.

28 thoughts on “Midterm 2022

  1. “I think people are just sick of extremism. ”

    I think you’re wrong. I think people are sick of Republican extremism. Progressives won a lot, and I am hearing moderate Dems lost in NY. Still shocked over Zeldin loss.

    Of course, Texas and Florida gotta do their neofascist schtick. And Vance is horrible. But Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania went wildly left in their state governments. I also really thought for sure Fung would win in RI. Never have I been happier to be wrong than on Fung and Zeldin.

    And re progressives never doing anything for the disabled in schools: Looks like MA is going to pass Question 1, a millionaire tax, with the money going to schools and transportation. Progressives overall would, I think, like to change the public school funding mechanism so that the expense of educating disabled children doesn’t fall on individual districts. We have another town meeting coming up, and one of the items is whether to appropriate money for out of district placements for disabled children (sounds like we have more need this year than in previous years). I’ll be interested to see how the usual town Republican cranks feel about that because they generally resent every single cent not spent on police/fire or athletic fields.


    1. Wendy, I am kind of sick of extremists of all stripes, so I am inclined to nod agreement with Laura. I will point to Abigail Spanberger, who has won against Trumpistas most recently Yesli Vega, and who talked of AOC as an albatross around her neck as she ran in her moderate district.


  2. AOC easily coasted to reelection with 70% of the vote. I’m sure peppering NJ with political ads when she’s elected in Queens would be a terrible waste of her campaign money. I would be surprised if she had to run any ads at all.


    1. Nope! We’re in the same media market. We see all the NYC ads.

      I’m sure she didn’t need to campaign, but she didn’t stump for anyone either.


      1. She campaigned for Hochul in NYC. Clearly, Hochul thought that was to her benefit – and she did pull it out…


      2. You’re reading the tea leaves wrong. Maloney was a jerk who pushed out a popular black Democratic representative in the district so he could run there. And from my sister, who is in the district: “Mike Lawler was EVERYWHERE in rockland for the past two years. Every little tiny community event he was there. And people liked him.” She voted for Maloney, but she recognizes why Lawler won. Could Jones (the previous rep) have beat Lawler? Unclear, but at least Jones was born in Rockland Cty (Nyack) and went to HS there and had a presence/connection there.

        AOC would not have helped. Also, Maloney is a whiner.


    2. Are there times when she’s stumped in your more moderate districts? Is this a change? I don’t know what AOC’s war chest is, but, my guess is that’s how her support is wielded.


  3. I am not doing any hot takes on results, many of which still seem undecided, and, ultimately, 1 vote in either house throws legislation at the federal level to the Republicans.

    My concern is that the most extremist election deniers loose and a big crop of them have won and others still remain in the running, including in races where they could make a difference in the counting of elections.

    Yes, I wholeheartedly disagree that progressives don’t do anything for disabled children. Progressives certainly do’t seem any less likely to prioritize disability rights and services than anyone else, and they are, in general willing to spend, unlike others.

    I would be eager to see examples of ideas on the right, though, because maybe I just don’t see them. What are the ideas that center and center right and right folks have on disability services and resources? As I’ve said, all the sponsors of the bill to fund IDEA in congress are Democrats. Johnson and other Republicans talk about making Medicare & Medicaid & Social security into budgeted programs (rather than entitlements). My question is real, because I would like to see innovative thinking.


  4. I rarely, if ever chime in here, but feel compelled to agree with Laura. So. Very. Tired. of. Extremism. I am left of moderate, but with the way perspectives have become for both sides, it keeps pushing me closer and closer to center.


  5. Who is sick of the progressive wing of the Democratic party? Our progressive is winning by 85% of votes. Of course that’s in a a very liberal district. I think she reflects our district and we’re not going to stop voting for her.

    But, I do think that in this election, progressives who thought that they could move democratic districts more progressive are not trying to push that game in the suburban districts of NY & CA & even WA.

    I do think more extremist Republicans (Joe Kent, in Buetler-Harris’s district in WA, for example) are trying to push to the right. I don’t know what will happen there, though. BTW, B-H, a Republican who voted for Trump’s impeachment was defeated in the primary, leaving Kent and a Democrat in the general election. The votes are still being counted in the district. So maybe the story is that progressive Dem’s didn’t try to move the needle in this election, while extremist Republicans are.


  6. So, let’s talk about AOC. As I said, we live in the same media market, so we get all the ads for candidates in NY and NYC. We watch the local news in the morning and in the evening. I do not recall seeing a single AOC ad. I also did not see her appear in the ad for the Democratic governor or any other Democratic ads.

    I also follow AOC on Instagram and frequently watch her daily videos on Instagram stories. I was not even aware that she was running for office this November.

    I used to live and work in AOC’s district. My mom grew up in her district. We still have plenty of Italian relatives who still live in the Bronx. I know her constituents. They are working class second generation immigrants, apart from one little gentrified section of Sunnyside. They don’t give a crap about the Green New Deal. What they do care about it that AOC shows up at every daycare opening. She carts her own laundry to the dry cleaners. She walks the neighborhood with her dog. She does tons and tons of really amazing constituency work. Honestly, she’s tireless and inspirational. Worth watching her Insta stories just to see her helping her community. It’s totally old fashioned urban politics, and it works. Just amazing.

    But still on a national stage, she’s been part of the very progressive wing of the Democratic Party. And people don’t want to hear “defund the police” or just angriness in general. I think they’re tired of fighting and want people who do the boring stuff like showing up to daycare openings and helping sort out a Medicaid issue, all of which AOC also does very well. So, I think she kept a low profile in this last election and it clearly worked for her and other Democrats.

    Re: the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and disability issues. hahahahah. Everybody does a shitty job on this, with things getting notably worse in the past five years. I’m hosting a meeting of local parents on Friday. Should get 20-30 people here. It’s going to be part informational and part building the stage for broader advocacy.


    1. “But still on a national stage, she’s been part of the very progressive wing of the Democratic Party. And people don’t want to hear “defund the police” or just angriness in general. I think they’re tired of fighting and want people who do the boring stuff like showing up to daycare openings and helping sort out a Medicaid issue, all of which AOC also does very well. So, I think she kept a low profile in this last election and it clearly worked for her and other Democrats.”

      That didn’t work for Beto. But then, Texas is full of people who will vote for a governor who is deliberately trying to kill them instead of help them.


  7. AOC is 33 years old, so a full generation younger than me. Hard to believe, but true. And young people tend to be more progressive. We should bring them in. More of them. She knows how to do this. And I’m glad she’s good at the constituent-pleasing, problem-solving stuff too.

    “I was not even aware that she was running for office this November.” Okay, I know it’s been a while since your political science degree, but… I assume you meant to say that you couldn’t tell it was an election year based on her Instagram, which is pretty amazing. What a luxury for a member of Congress not to have to be in campaign mode all the time.

    Hope your meeting goes well!


  8. “ Everybody does a shitty job on this, with things getting notably worse in the past five years.”

    Any examples of how things are worse? and how they could be better? and what politics and politicians and policies it would take to get there?


    1. Sure tons of examples. Just in our own school district, according parents loudly complaining at school board meetings and my own observations: fewer opportunities for inclusion, drastically reduced staff, refusal to provide extra services until lawyers are hired, zero help with learning loss and social skill loss during shutdowns, no resumption of after-school information sessions for parents, quietly ending of the one or two clubs aimed at disabled kids in town, ….

      I could go on and on about the horrible situation in our schools. And then for young adults with disabilities the situation in our area is tragic. Tons and tons of young people just sitting at home doing nothing all day. No right to work. No social activities. Ten year waits for specialized housing. Never ending paperwork for parents. Once Ian finishes this private school, my life will be completely screwed, btw.

      Last year, I reached out to that moderate democrat who runs our district. I told a staff person who answered the phone that I wanted to talk with someone on his team about disability issues. They took my info down and NOBODY called me back. This happened twice. Fuck him.


      1. All of these issues have a lot to do with less and less funding for public education, which is a trend supported by fiscal conservatism. Your local moderate Dem is probably socially liberal/Dem and fiscally conservative, or answers to fiscal conservative donors.

        Stop blaming progressives! The Green New Deal bill prioritizes making the planet a better place. One part of it literally identifies this as a problem:
        “(1) life expectancy declining while basic needs, such as clean air, clean water, healthy food, and adequate health care, housing, transportation, and education, are inaccessible to a significant portion of the United States population;”

        and says some of its goals are:
        “to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as “frontline and vulnerable communities”)”
        “(C) providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities, so that all people of the United States may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization.”


  9. Laura — you’d tweeted a while ago about free tutoring for the SAT, I think. I saw this org, Schoolhouse.world, at The74: https://www.the74million.org/article/free-sat-boot-camp-tutoring-platform-is-getting-noticed-by-states-colleges/

    It’s a spinoff of Kahn, with HS peer tutors. I’m not sure if its the same service that my kiddo was getting emails about tutoring opportunities (including from the College Board, which said it was running a study), but it might be worth checking out as an opportunity for being tutored.


  10. As I’ve said before, I’m a layperson, with little interest in the game of politics (though I think I probably do enjoy more rigorous analysis, like studies of whether all mail voting increases or decreases voting rates). But, for someone like me, figuring out how people will vote in suburban WA is nearly impossible, and figuring out how they’ll vote in upstate New York entirely impossible.

    So, my take it would be a mistake for me to guess appropriate candidates for the Bronx or Rochester, but also that folks guessing the right candidate for WA 7 from across the country are probably guessing wrong, too. Our progressive wins here because her politics (on climate, immigration, taxation, spending) are generally aligned with the district. And, she does enough constituent, personal, connection work that folks don’t think she’s gone DC (even though it’s hard to fly across the country to maintain the connection).


  11. The not-for-profit I volunteer with has had significant success in attracting the interest of our government officials (including the congressman & senator). What I’ve seen work in our org is starting with the littler guys (i.e. the county rep for the area), developing connections with staffers (sometimes through other orgs doing similar work), and finding connections (in our case, green interests in recycling, interest in immigrants and immigrant history, and, somewhat surprisingly, sewing). The county rep who sent a million dollars to revitalize a neighborhood building remembers fondly his home ec class in HS, where he acted as a teaching assistant, and (in addition to the other interests) and that memory played a roll in his support.

    And, success breeds further success within the interconnected political network. This organization, though, is doing the work of the government, (skills training, recycling, product development) not asking for government to provide a service. Money is what we get, not policy advocacy.


  12. This is a bit of a tangent, but learning to work with local and state government institutions is important, maybe more so than the politics. I have a friend who does community art projects, large-scale things that involve schools, churches, and other organizations with groups of people that want to work on something together for their building or property. She and I worked together on a small grant from the state arts council. She had gotten several previous grants and warned me that it would be a huge pain, with all sorts of capricious requirements popping up, and she was totally right. But we got the grant, and did the project, and it was great.

    She’s gone on to do even larger projects with corporate donors, because donations beget donations.

    Related to your interest in community centers, I bet there are a lot of state and local governments that have money untapped because tapping it is so complicated, and you just have to find someone who a) knows there is money there; and b) is good at the tapping process. And this type of money is more available when governments are willing to spend on things like the arts and community support.


  13. Funny you should say that. Steve and I were just talking about me moving in that direction. There is money on the table to create something. I’ve got a group of 20-30 parents coming to my house tomorrow night to talk about young adults and transition programs to adulthood. I might set up something for people like Ian using gov’t funds, and also run for office. I was thinking about going back to an office job, but I just don’t think that’s in my cards. Which actually might be just fine.


    1. Cool! you have the skills and energy and (this is the tough part) hopefully the track can be made rewarding both personally and economically.

      The org I’m a part of has some fun and funky grants that definitely required a multi-talented group


    2. One talent of our executive director is that she’s willing to ask anyone to do anything and, when a councilman asks, “what do you need”, she says, “this million dollar building, down the street, it’s not for sale yet, but I hear it might be soon, and that’d be just perfect” and walks the councilman to the building.


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