22 Nov A Gratitudinal Attitude
Upgrading our Thanksgiving tradition of trying to find the bright side, Principle Based Politics today brings you an unambiguously optimistic outlook, in contrast to last year’s somewhat backhanded attempt, Thankful for Modern Politics? (Nov. 23, 2021).
Perhaps it is the results of this month’s midterm elections. Or, it may just be that the Minnesota Vikings are leading their division. More likely it is having an adorable new grandson. Whatever the reason, we are feeling better about things this fall than we were a year ago. And that does include American politics.
Yes, Thankful for Political Things
Because this is a political blog, we will start with those things that leave us pleased with American electoral developments, and, especially, our country’s voters.
There was a lot to like about the elections held November 8. Most generally speaking, moderation won and extremism lost in the midterm elections. For example, in many races in which Americans could have chosen a nutjob who ran on the platform that Donald Trump really won the presidency in 2020, those candidates were defeated. This shows that voters can set aside past grudges and blind loyalty to prior leaders, instead moving forward.*
Although he is running again already, former President Trump’s “losses” in the midterm elections also diminish the chance that he will be nominated by his party in 2024, which in turn reduces the likelihood that Democrats will choose Joe Biden as their own nominee. (See It’s Time to Move Forward, Democrats (Nov. 12, 2021)). Most principled Americans do not prefer to see Biden versus Trump again. In fact, most do not want to see either of them on the ballot. Big winners like governors Ron DeSantis (R., FL) and Gavin Newsome (D., CA), along with a host of other candidates, now will have a chance to offer fresh ideas for solving our nation’s problems.
Democrats losing their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives also ensures that only moderate, non-partisan legislation will pass through Congress for the next two years. Excessive spending and government expansion now should be minimized, which is another good result from the midterm elections.
We also were thankful to see negative ad campaigns fail in many cases this month. Plastering the airwaves and filling mailboxes with insults like “Friend of Criminals” and “Threat to Democracy” did not work. Perhaps the parties and their donors will wise up and realize they are wasting their money (and voters’ time) with those campaigns.
State governors who had used their best judgment during the covid-19 pandemic, in particular, overcame negative ads. Whether those governors had imposed mandates and lockdowns or had kept states more “open” during 2020-21, voters seemed to realize that their leaders had tried to do the right things under difficult circumstances. Second-guessing, opportunistic candidates largely failed to unseat those incumbent governors.
Americans have shown they can and will use their heads, rather than making knee-jerk reactions or voting only red or only blue like some have in the past. The number of voters describing themselves as “independent” today is very high, which should send a message that the parties must select better, more qualified, principled, and reasonable candidates. Candidate quality matters on Election Day, for which we all should be thankful.
Lastly, we have not heard any significant claims of vote fraud or suppression in 2022, and losing candidates have been conceding defeat. The midterms also continued the trend of very large voter turnouts. All of this is good for democracy, which is great for America.
Two additional events this month left Principle Based Politics thankful, as well, although both were somewhat overshadowed by all the election news.
First, Russia pulled out of Kherson, Ukraine. This is significant because it will hurt Vladimir Putin “back home” in Russia and on the battlefield. A weakened Kremlin may be more likely to negotiate an end to the horrible war. American support for Ukraine should remain nonpartisan and high.
The other recent thing we noticed is that Americans across the political spectrum honored our veterans this month. From standing ovations in church to wonderful Veterans Day tributes on Facebook, we saw much love for those who have served in our military. If anyone deserves thanks—not just on holidays but throughout the year—it is these heroic patriots.
Written by Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics.
Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.