Today is the day, the 2022 midterm elections here in the United States. A lot of things will be decided today — and, in some close races, in coming days as mail-in votes continue to be tabulated. In this post maybe readers can chime in with their own voting experience:
- Any voting irregularities you personally observed or that were reported by a person you know and trust who themselves observed some questionable event or practice?
- Did you see any self-appointed “vote observers” wearing camo, displaying weapons, and generally trying to intimidate voters (while of course denying they are trying to intimidate voters)?
- Did you see any law enforcement (the official kind, not thug militia types) present at or near polling places?
It’s strange to even write out those questions. How sad that US elections, under the rhetorical onslaught of US election deniers, have become such tense and even potentially violent affairs. I have great faith in the large majority of local election officials and volunteers. I have little trust in partisan political actors who make inflammatory statements, unsupported claims of fraud, and who otherwise try to insert themselves into the nuts and bolts (and results) of the election process.
This seems like a very consequential election, the results of which will play out immediately in the House (who has a majority? if the GOP has a majority, what new investigations and impeachments will be launched?), the Senate (which would hear any impeachment trials), and the 2024 presidential election. It’s not an exaggeration to say the 2024 presidential election starts tomorrow. Here are a few short-term questions:
- Who wins the Utah race for US senator, Republican Mike Lee or Independent Evan McMullin?
- Who wins the Georgia race for US senator, Republican Herschel Walker or incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock?
- Who wins the Georgia race for governor, Republican incumbent Brian Kemp or Democrat Stacey Abrams?
- Who wins the Pennsylvania race for US senator, Republican Mehmet Oz or Democrat John Fetterman?
- Who will be the Speaker of the House after the election, current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat challenger if Pelosi steps down, or Republican representative Kevin McCarthy? This carries great import, as the Speaker is third in line for the presidency and impeachment actions start in the House.
I’ll start. I voted early and in person at the local county building. It was about as exciting as checking out a library book. I hope everyone’s voting experience is as straightforward and uneventful as mine, albeit busier and with longer wait times for election day voters.
I’m from NC, which is a purple (swing) state. I like that a WHOLE LOT better than being in a solid red/blue state because candidates have to actually compete for votes. There’s always a lot of anxiety/anticipation where I’m at because we honestly don’t know which way races will “swing”, which is how it should be. Though I dream of a day when one party doesn’t dominate Utah politics, unfortunately, today isn’t that day. Lee will win.
Since I’m on “the outside looking in” when it comes to Utah politics, I couldn’t help but notice the irony of the senate race there. Evan McMullin’s campaign kept attacking Lee for trying to overturn the 2020 election, but McMullin formerly worked for the CIA………which overturned numerous elections around the world……violently. Back in 2016, McMullin kept boasting that he was more conservative than Trump and that he would be the strongest advocate for overturning Roe v. Wade. Now, since he has received funding from Democratic Party-aligned groups (ActBlue, Break Something, etc…) he’s changed his stances to be more palatable to left-leaning donors. Though Lee is certainly not my favorite candidate, I at least know his political platform. I don’t have a clue where McMullin stands.
Dave: generally speaking – I quite enjoy your writings. However, I don’t visit here to listen to additional political blatherings. Love you, Bro.
I think, for most people, it comes does to this in Utah: Lee stands with Trump and McMullin stands against Lee. Trumpism is primarily what is on the ticket, I think.
Who wins. My predictions are Lee, Warnock, Kemp, Fetterman, and McCarthy. I predict Republicans will control the house, Democrats will maintain hold on Senate and that Biden will be obstructed in his agenda for the next two years. Can’t say for 2024. But I believe the general trend is more liberal in the US. Democrats will pull out ahead by 2030, so much so that Republicans will have to completely rebrand and rethink their whole model. Trumpism will eventually weigh the Republicans down. Voters won’t forget this. Democrats just need better branding. They need to be more relentless. I think Gavin Newsom and some others are picking up on this.
SE PA voter here. No problem at all. I voted en route to the Joe Biden train station in Wilmington, DE. I could not help but smile as I drove by Joe Biden’s neighborhood en route to the train station from my polling place. Should be a good day.
Democratic candidates have won the popular vote in the last four presidential elections, it’s already to the point where the GOP has to put it’s finger on the scale, and hard, if they want to win. Here in AZ, our Republican led legislature is paving the way to overturn the people’s vote for president if they don’t like it. Their candidate for SOS and Gov said they wouldn’t certify elections if they didn’t like the outcome. I don’t think the GOP is going to do any soul searching or rebrand. I thought they would after Jan 6th- NOPE! They are going to make it more difficult to vote and easier to discard our vote if they don’t like it.
I am for offering the voters more choices through open primaries and ranked choice voting. This has been shown in Alaska to encourage extreme candidates to moderate their messages and work more with other candidates. It changes the message from voting to avoid the evil other candidate to actually offering voters a choice between candidates.
I just got done voting as well. About as exciting as checking out a library book is an apt description. For all of the fanfare that the campaigns make about the candidates and voting for them, voting is pretty anodyne and blasé. If only Republicans would stop suppressing the vote and passing state laws that keep lower-class minorities in urban areas from voting maybe we could have a fully functioning democracy (sorry, I mean republic, because we’re not supposed to say that we’re a democracy, because communist countries like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and authoritarian states like the Democratic Republic of Congo have democracy in their names and we all know that pushing democracy is code for pushing socialism, oh the horror (wait, those country names also have republic too, huh)).
Moss, Republicans will be forced to rebrand once they start losing elections. Texas and North Carolina will turn blue. It is only a matter of time.
lws329, open primaries and rank choice voting, 100%. Hopefully that would open the door to more parties actually being able to participate and win elections and keep extreme candidates from infesting the Republican Party.
OP: “I voted early and in person at the local county building. It was about as exciting as checking out a library book.”
As someone who gets genuinely excited by checking out books from the library, I approach voting with similar enthusiasm. I cast my ballot weeks ago, the very first day it showed up in the mail. I consider myself fortunate to live in a state that has been exclusively vote-by-mail for years, so thuggish voter intimidation is practically non-existent. The only drawback to that system is that is takes several days to tabulate results, which I’m willing to accept in exchange for a safer, fairer, and more equitable process for all.
Previously, I lived in Georgia for several years (pre-Trump) and even then I saw a lot of sneaky, underhanded attempts by crooked politicians and power brokers to manipulate the election process. In a span of 5 years, my wife and I were quietly purged from voter rolls 3 separate times, and had to re-register each time. I don’t think it was a coincidence that we lived in a precinct that contained many majority Black neighborhoods (predominantly white precincts nearby remained untouched). Though, I’m glad to be away from it now, I’m still sad for the people of Georgia who continue to deal with the near-constant efforts to disenfranchise entire segments of the population.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: let’s keep politics out of Wheat & Tares. And this is not a partisan request: I’m disgusted with both parties and both front runners (Trump and Biden).
Thanks for the comments, everyone.
Jaded, it’s an objective, non-partisan post about a key event that most readers are interested in and even participating in. The Mike Lee “Trump is Captain Moroni” versus Evan McMullin race certainly has LDS overtones. Sorry politics isn’t your thing. Hopefully I’ll get back to straight up LDS themes next week.
John W: “I think Gavin Newsom and some others are picking up on this.” He’s kind of been AWOL for a year or so, while DeSantis generates daily headlines. Democrats need to find a strong but younger candidate to match the energy and rhetoric of DeSantis. Maybe Newsom. Maybe someone else.
Moss: Arizona. Reading news articles, it sounds like Arizona and Georgia are dueling each other for the gold medal in election meddling and voter suppression.
lws329, Alaska is an interesting case. There aren’t many states who have moved forward with novel approaches to voting. Who’d a thunk it, Alaska at the forefront of positive political change?
josh h, politics is part of the real world and it bleeds over into religion and Mormonism, so it’s going to come up here at W&T. Your comment “I’m disgusted with both parties and both front runners” is certainly a valid comment, a point of view no doubt shared by millions of voters.
@josh h: “I’m disgusted with both parties and both front runners (Trump and Biden).”
Firstly trump and Biden are not currently on any ballot. Second, I relate to your statement. But how does not talking about it make anything better? I believe sunlight is the best disinfectant.
I voted early and dropped my ballot off at the box next to my son’s baseball field. Because today I was too busy to vote sitting through jury selection 🙂
Politics is where religion and live intersect. Voting is just a small indicator of the values you hold and the justifications of your religious/spiritual values, even if you don’t adhere to any religion.
I voted early by mail, no issues.
Who’s going to win, who knows. The media has made their money stirring the pot and getting both sides worked up with potential wins or losses for both sides. Since I live in Utah, I’ve just witnessed the most negative campaign ever for this state. At least McMullin seemed to be more ethical and accurate with his negative ads or even with the PAC ads that supported him. Lee on the other hand I felt was an outright liar but those that supported him ate it up which says a lot about the state of our major faith in Utah.
Chadwick: good points
Dave B: Why do you pretend to be “non-partisan”? It hurts your credibility when you claim that.
Early voting last week was easy with no line. As long as there is a close place for early voting, I prefer it.
My major prediction from your choices is that the big election denier, Stacy Abrams, will lose.
Chadwick, Josh H and Dave B.,
Ugh. “both side-ism”. Quite problematic.
No problems on the voting scene in my neck of the woods. I don’t think this will stop conspiratorial thinking and the prorogation of the big lie and its tendrils.
I hope that Lee loses. Utterly disgusted by his actions, esp. in relation to 45 and the insurrection. I wonder why it is that historically, the saints make such monumental political blunders. Mike is the multi-generational descendant of the faith and recipient of Mormonism’s political Sunday best. He grew up in happy valley, mingling among scholars and GAs, and was tutored by his elite father. So, how is it possible that he has made such substantial constitutional blunders? As a Mormon and a RM who served a Central American Spanish-speaking mission, how in the world did he literally turn his back on the very people he was called to serve with a sacred “labor of love” as their completely understandable Spanish pleas filled *his ears* describing the inhumane and unjust suffering in a stinky border detainment prison? He walked away and supported 45’s bombastic and racist policies. This, ultra-privileged son of Provo could have used his legal acumen to advocate for the poor. He could have used his national power to devise just, humane, and compassionate solutions, but no. He literally turned his back. There are moments we are prepared for our entire lives, defining moments – and Lee failed that one. Jan 6 was the other.
Is this the epitome of our 200 year legacy and the highest realization of our “lived” faith that we hoped to use to change the world? It’s not complicated. It’s not “both-side-ism”, it’s not anything other than it looks. He’s corrupt, uncharitable, and not worthy of our entrustment as any elected official, leader, or judge.
I voted early at the only early-voting polling place in the eastern half of Jacson County, Missouri (basically, everything outside Kansas City), which has a popolation of approximately 350,000 people. Had to wait about an hour in line, but once I got to the machine it went quickly. For the first time there was no-excuse voting (so voters wouldn’t have to lie about being out of town on election day) but also for the first time we had to show a photo ID. Thanks largely to gerrymandering in this increasingly red state of Missouri, most of the folks I voted for don’t stand a chance of getting elected. As a side note, once again I apologize to America for Josh Hawley. Sadly, we’re about to send somebody almost as bad, state attorney general Eric Schmidt, to the Senate.
I voted early. My household sat down and went over every candidate and proposition on the ballot. Then we filled out the ballots and dropped them off .It took a while. I vote while I still can because members of a certain fascistic political party have plans to cancel my vote if they don’t like the outcome. I vote while I still can because voter suppression by a certain fascistic political party is ongoing and getting worse. If you want to know the political party I’m referring to, look up which political party has now made it illegal to give water to voters standing in line. I vote while I still can because a large percentage of a certain political party be like “We’re all good Germans. I don’t support all the aims of the Nazis. What happened to my Jewish neighbors went a bit too far. But I was able to buy their piano at a really good price.”
Thanks for the comments, everyone.
Instereo: “Politics is where religion and li[f]e intersect.” Great way to make the point. These days, in 2022, there is more religion in politics and more politics in religion than ever. So we end up talking some politics at this religion weblog.
josh h: “Dave, why do you pretend to be non-partisan?” Hey, I said it was a non-partisan *post*. I laid out a few relevant issues and identified a few key races. As a person, I’m not non-partisan. No one is. But writing a post or article, you can take an objective and neutral approach, or you can pick a side and argue in its favor. Each approach can work, depending on the issue and the author. I thought this post deserved a neutral approach and all comments are welcome.
I’m looking forward to sitting down tonight in front of the TV with chips and a six-pack (of Coke Zero) to watch the election returns on CNN.
el oso, “the big election denier, Stacy Abrams, will lose”
In the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, 53,000 voter registrations were put on hold by Brian Kemp, with over 70% of those being from black voters. Granted, the voters could have simply showed up with their IDs to vote, but there is no doubt that Kemp suppressed the vote. He won only by a margin of just less than 55,000 votes. Abrams formally admitted defeat on November 16, 2018. She has since claimed that she actually won the election on the basis that more would have shown up to vote for her had there not been suppression efforts by Kemp, she probably has a point. Kemp did actively suppress voting. And has continued to pursue cheap, dishonest, and dirty tactics to suppress voting, particularly of blacks who tend to overwhelmingly vote Democrat. Had voting been easier and more accessible, I have strong reason to believe that Abrams would have easily defeated Kemp. Bear in mind that in the 2020 election, there were reports of some people waiting 11 hours to vote in black neighborhoods of Atlanta. If voting were mandatory in the US, as it is in many other countries, I have strong reason to believe that the Democrats would dominate Congress and state elections so much that Republicans wouldn’t even stand a chance. The Republicans know that they don’t truly represent the majority of US citizens and so they have resorted to voter suppression to survive. Bottom line: Abrams election denial on the basis of the idea that Georgia Republicans are trying, with some modicum of success, to suppress the black vote has strong evidence (Abrams, by the way is extremely intelligent and articulate, and can talk circles around any Republican, she totally destroyed Kemp in the debates). By contrast, Republicans’ claims of rampant voter fraud is based entirely on lies. Nevermind the fact that Abrams didn’t incite any sort of insurrection because she lost the 2018 election. So spare me this ridiculous, exaggerated attack on Abrams. You only do so as a cheap way to deflect from just how insane and mendacious Trump and his supporters.
josh h, I find your continual bothsidesism on this blog absolutely baseless, if not mendacious, and nauseating. Granted, you voted for Biden, so I’ll give you credit there. But if you can’t recognize the chasm between Trump and Biden when it comes to good governance, policy making, coherence, attempt to do things on good faith, attempt to tell the truth, attempt to create order and peace in this country, and so on, then I don’t know what to say. That Biden is more moral and competent and overall better for the country than Trump is a basic fact that can measured by data. For instance, who tells more lies? Over 20,000 lies on part of Trump during his presidency. Basic fact. He lies every time he opens his mouth. Biden by contrast makes occasional lies and half-truths to save face in some situations, as is common among many politicians, but he is by and large a truth-teller. Nowhere near Trump. Just a fact upon which there is no logical disagreement.
Redneck Kansas here. Gym where my guys work out has a voting area. Lots of citizens streaming in & out. No camo, guns or shouting. A lot like a bake sale. So much for the revolution.
Can you have a democracy where you have 2 parties and one of them doesn’t believe in democracy? Voter suppression, gerrymandering, and refusing to acknowledge defeat, are all indicators that the party does not believe in democracy. If you don’t believe in democracy, what are you? Is it a moral problem that so many members seem happy to abandon democracy because their party has?
I notice none of the female commenters are here?
I am a female commenter and I have been following. It’s very concerning that we don’t have at least two parties dedicated to a healthy representative democratic republic. I am a registered Republican living in a completely red district. But I found that as the mother of 5 boys I couldn’t vote for a president who set an example of disrespecting people with different opinions.
I have kids with serious medical problems and when the same president discussed injecting bleach to control infection I found myself reevaluating every political opinion I ever had. While I remain registered Republican I am unable to vote Republican right now because of what I have learned about my political priorities since that time. I now consider myself Nonpartisan.
I will however mention: It’s easy to see the faults of the other political party and hard to see your own. Democrats, own your part of the problem. There are many disenfranchised voters like myself. I have felt compelled to vote Democrat but I can see many problems with the Democrats that apparently many Democrats are blind to. Democrats don’t make it easy for a Republican to vote for them. They aren’t moderate any more than the Republicans are, and they could increase our trust in them by being more accountable for their failures. As stinky as Republicans are that doesn’t justify the problems of the other party and vice versa.
We each have a point of view that only allows us to see part of the picture. We are wise when we listen closely to others that are seeing something we cannot. Just because we can’t see something, this doesn’t mean that thing isn’t there and someone else can’t see something we cannot. We should listen closely to one another and humbly consider what we may not be able to see.
lws329, first of all, thanks for coming on here to join the discussion. Even though you have historically voted Republican and I tend to disagree with a lot of what Republicans have to say, you make a lot of fair and good points. I respect that you identify yourself as non-partisan. And I don’t think you are alone. There are many, many people who don’t like a lot of what both parties have to offer. I, like you, support some sort of a system whereby other parties can be more participant in the electoral system and gain representation in federal and state Congresses.
You mention that Democrats need to own their part of the problem. I was listening to an interview of Bernie Sanders by Brian Tyler Cohen earlier today and heard Bernie criticizing the Democratic Party quite boldly. He always has. In fact, he has always been an Independent but was allowed to run on the Democratic Party platform for his presidential runs. A good chunk of Democratic voters support Bernie and strongly favor him to Biden or most other Democrats. I listen to a lot of progressive commentators, including TYT, David Pakman (the best one in my estimation), Majority Report, and several others, all of whom have heaped healthy dollops of criticism on the Democratic Party over the years. However, where and how they criticize the Democratic Party is completely different from how Republicans and conservatives tend to criticize it. Progressive criticisms often include: Democrats are corporate sellouts, they are weak on healthcare, climate, and education policy, they are bad at messaging and campaigning, they don’t criticize dictatorships enough, they are reluctant to scale down the military, and they are too willing to go to war and meddle in the international arena. Personally I think all of Bernie’s criticisms are fair, although I don’t entirely agree with him. For instance, I support a hybrid healthcare system where we have a mostly government-run system to bring down costs, but have a large private option.
What I have heard from many of my anti-Trump but conservative-leaning and sometimes centrist friends is that Bernie-like progressives and the Black Lives Matter crowd are the problem, and a problem that Democratic voters simply refuse to acknowledge. Bernie is the left’s equivalent of Trump and Black Lives Matter/Critical Race theorists are the left’s equivalent of Trumpism/right-wing conspiracy theories. I simply do not find that to be true in the least. I disagree with Bernie on a number of issues. For one, I think he proposes too much government spending and it would be untenable to pursue everything he is asking for. Other than that, the guy is incredibly brilliant and extremely respectable. Plus, I support his ideals even if I don’t think they are fully achievable. Bernie is also a guy who is reaching out to Republican voters. When have we ever seen Trump reach out to Democratic voters? Trump has done nothing but demonize liberals, Democrats, and progressives. On Black Lives Matter, I disagree with their slogan of Defund the Police. But guess what. So do the overwhelming majority of Democrats and the majority of black voters. Among those who defended the slogan, they mostly turned into some kind of metaphor. Many Republicans and conservatives embraced the Black Lives Matter slogan. Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney marched in George Floyd protests. Many police officers were in full agreement with the protesters’ message. Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder. The protesters (overwhelmingly peaceful) were right to call for justice to a murderer. At worst, the Critical Race theorists tend to exaggerate the natural of the problem of racism in the US, but they’re right on a whole lot of matters. Systemic racism is a basic fact upheld by vast statistics, and even ardent critics of antiracist rhetoric put forth by Robin Diangelo and Ibram Kendi (and I disagree with them on a range of issues) such as New York Times columnist John McWhorter, agree that systemic racism is real and continues to be a problem. So no, rhetoric associated with the Black Lives Matter crowd is not the equivalent of the conspiracy theories on the right. There simply is no left-wing equivalent of Jewish Space Lasers, or harassing survivors of school shootings, or having ties to white nationalist terrorist groups, etc. Left-wing extremism is at worst high-spending idealism and exaggeration on the state of racism but addresses real problems. Right-wing extremism at worst is terrorism a la Jan. 6, dangerous lunacy, and a complete denial of reality as we know it. No there is no voter fraud problem. No, Trump didn’t win the 2020 election. No, vaccines don’t cause metal utensils to stick to you.
“Democrats don’t make it easy for a Republican to vote for them”
Democrats are turning more Republicans to their side than Republicans turning Democrats to theirs. When Romney was the nominee, I didn’t agree with him, but I could listen and agree with some things. I could listen to Romney supporters and see that maybe they were right on some things. But the Republicans nominated Trump in 2016, even after brutally criticizing him, and them came to embrace him as a demigod beyond criticism. That is an act of extreme cowardice that I will never forgive. And the kinds of cowardice and cultishness we see in the Republican Party today have no equivalence in the Democratic Party.
Filled out my ballot and dropped it off a couple weeks ago, so no drama. Previously, I’d research all the candidates and issues and give my husband a list of how to vote. Neither one of us enjoys politics. We’ve disagreed more in recent years, so our ballots end up canceling each other out more often than not. I’m in Utah, so it doesn’t make much of a difference how either of us vote. I uninstalled Twitter on my phone yesterday to avoid getting sucked into election day drama. I’m thinking it was a wise move.
I enjoy hearing everyone’s political thoughts. Thank you for having the confidence to share your ideas. It isn’t easy to do with the conflicts happening today. I learn from listening to each person and hearing what they are seeing.
I think being able to listen, and consider other people’s view of matters is a virtuous and important skill, in politics, religion and every facet of life that matters.
If we can’t safely disagree and talk about things, how can we learn from each other? I want to battle that with respectful discussion. Thank you to each of you for inviting and engaging in this discussion.
Thanks for the comments, everyone.
It’s close to midnight and many races have been decided. I’m going to report on the races I called out in the opening post, then close comments and let post-election comments and discussion happen on post-election posts. There is going to be a lot of political discussion in the coming month, including no doubt a post or two here at W&T.
Mike Lee (R) won decisively in the Senate race in Utah.
The Herschel Walker v. Raphael Warnock Senate race in Georgia will probably go to runoff, as neither candidate, it appears, will get 50% of the votes.
Brian Kemp (R) is re-elected as governor of Georgia.
John Fetterman (D) won the Senate race in Pennsylvania.
Control of the House is still undecided, with Republicans likely to pick up a few seats and have a very narrow majority in the House. Control of the Senate is still undecided, with a runoff election a month from now probably needed to decide the Georgia race. It could easily end up 50-50 again.
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