Making sense of the midterms

November 08, 2018

Tuesday’s midterm elections were widely seen as a referendum on the Trump administration. For months prior, down-ballot Republicans clamored to blow the Trump train’s whistle, while Democratic challengers lined up behind a common anti-Trump message that sometimes seemed more aesthetic than substantive. Now, with news of mixed results arriving from much of the country, a number of questions remain unresolved.

It’s clear that the Right is determined to maintain its power even in the face of mass voter disapproval — despite candidates like Georgia’s Stacey Abrams making voter suppression a key campaign issue this year, election day was characterized by long lines, broken machines, and disappearing registrations in polling places from Augusta to Brooklyn. It’s also clear that the Democrats, despite winning a small majority in the House, are still a far cry from the fighting opposition party we need.

It’s still too early to know exactly what lessons the 2018 midterms can offer the American left, but at least one thing is clear — Trumpism isn’t unbreakable. But it will take more than moral outrage to beat it back.

The votes are in…

  • From left-wing ballot measures to socialists in the House, things are slowly — but surely — moving our way.
  • Last night’s elections were an important repudiation of Trump — and another confirmation that voters will embrace left-wing policies over watered-down centrism, explains Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.
  • By running to the right, Democrats insist on losing twice: at the polls and in constructing an inspiring agenda. Bold left-wing politics are our only hope for long-term, substantive victory.
  • When it comes to beating Trump, baby steps are not enough. America’s decades-long shift to the right won’t be undone with Democratic Party liberalism.
  • Democratic socialist Jovanka Beckles lost her race for California state assembly this week. But the vision for solving the housing crisis she outlined in Jacobin remains as vital as ever.
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