Tuesday’s Elections Were Depolarizing – Fractals of Change
By Tom Evslin
There’s no question that Joe Biden got many more votes than Donald Trump in 2020. Many of the swing votes for Biden in 2020 from independents and moderate Republicans (like me) were actually anti-Trump votes much as many of the swing votes when Trump was elected the first time were anti-Hillary votes (again like mine). By November of 2020 Trump was already threatening to ignore election results he didn’t like; this alone showed him unfit for office.
In the November election Republicans other than Trump actually did well and Rs gained seats in the House. By the time of the Georgia runoffs, Trump’s megalomania and refusal to accept defeat cost Republicans control of the Senate. The reaction to progressive’s absurd call for defunding police, blatantly racist politics, and intolerance for free speech was dampened by the damage Trump did at the top of the ticket.
On Tuesday in local races nationwide the anti-progressive reaction continued. The surprising results were in blue and purple states. Virginia, which Biden carried by 10 points, elected not one but three Republicans at the top of the ticket – including its first Black female lt. governor and its first Latino attorney general.
Deep blue Seattle, badly damaged by looting and beset by homeless problems, has a non-partisan mayoral election. The over-whelming winner is committed to rebuilding the police. Seattle also elected Anne Davison city attorney. She said that she believes the job of her office is to maintain laws so there is public safety. Her opponent, according to King 5 News, “is a self-described abolitionist who wanted to reimagine the City Attorney’s Office and how it prosecutes offenders.” Prosecutors who promised to do their job of prosecuting crime were elected all over the country regardless of party affiliation.
In very Democratic New York State, there were ballot items which would have allowed same-day registration and no-fault absentee voting; both were defeated by 3-2 margins. Apparently the democratic voters in that state do not agree with the progressive orthodoxy that every safeguard in elections, even ones which have been around forever, are a Republican plot.
Eric Adams, the new mayor of New York, is a Black Democrat. He’s also a pragmatic ex-cop who’s pushed back against the racially polarizing policies of the current mayor, Bill de Blasio, and is committed to effective policing.
These were all state and local races and I think they were decided on state and local issues. Even if there were not an impasse between moderate and progressive Democrats which has stalled passage of the Biden agenda, I think the result would have been the same. Similarly, since these were local races, the all-to-present ghost of Donald Trump was not as damaging to Republicans as it was in 2020 and will be again in 2022 if they continue to allow themselves to be drawn into his web of reckless deceit. On the other hand, almost half the country voted for him in the last election so it’s not easy to disavow him and still win elections. That’s the Republican dilemma.
If Democrats want to remain a power locally and nationally, they have a similar dilemma. Their albatross is the progressives and their racist and inane policies. Many Americans, especially young Americans “educated” to forget the failures of socialism and to over-emphasize the injustices in American history, believe in the progressive agenda as sincerely as die-hard Trumpers believe that the 2020 election was stolen. The Democrat’s dilemma is how to win elections without playing to this constituency.
The future of the country may depend on how well the parties can tack back to a reasonable center. I think the party which escapes its radical wing first wins the next election. At least I hope so.
The author is an entrepreneur, author and former Vermont state cabinet member. He lives in Stowe.