by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There are no saviors or miracles in democracy, only a grueling, soul-sucking, forever war of attrition. That is the enduring lesson of the 2022 midterms, as it is every election. And, though the results will be over-interpreted by pundits and partisans will have all their priors confirmed, in the end, it is simply proof that American “democracy” is working.
Overall, it was a disappointing night for Republicans, no doubt, considering the high expectations and the president’s low approval ratings. Though, as of this writing, the GOP looks like it might win the House and has a shot at the Senate, as well. It’s no small thing. But let’s not forget, we’re all winners when D.C. is mired in gridlock; not only is it the most accurate representation of the national electorate’s mood but it means the system is working.
Democrats have spent the past few years squeezing every globule of meaning from that word “democracy.” Joe Biden delivered two historically divisive national prime-time speeches arguing that the only way to save democracy was to implement one-party rule. If our doddering president didn’t look so ridiculous clenching his fists in front of a blood-red background, one might have found the spectacle semi-fascist. Today, Biden says that the election was a “good day for democracy.” He’s right, but not for the reasons he thinks.
If your version of “democracy” only exists if your party runs every institution, it wasn’t a good day. If you believe “democracy” means exploiting the narrowest of national majorities to lord over all the decisions of states and individuals, it’s going to be a tough couple of years for you. If you want to destroy the legislative filibuster to federalize elections or cram $5 trillion, generational mega “reforms” through Congress without any national consensus or input from half the country, condolences. You won’t be adding fake senators from D.C., in direct contradiction of the Constitution, or “packing the courts” to capsize the judicial system. At least not until 2024, at the earliest.