Voters renew faith in democracy
Democrats’ success in the midterm elections clearly demonstrated Americans’ underlying faith in democracy and rejection of extremism. In a stunning surprise that defied expectations, Republicans’ disappointing showing in congressional and gubernatorial races was a clear affirmation that a majority of the country at least accepts the sanctity of our election process and the rule of law.
The historical pattern of party-in-power midterm losses, which underlay predictions of a Republican sweep, was less relevant this year. Voters’ preoccupation with economic issues that had been expected seems to have been appropriately sidelined by fear and outrage surrounding threats to democracy. By their choices in the midterms, Americans on the whole have demonstrated that antidemocratic factors in our politics constitute a much greater threat to our institutions than perceived failures in policies of the current administration.
The rejection of many candidates who had been supported and inspired by Donald Trump and the marginalization of the former president are encouraging signs that Americans have paid more attention to Trump’s attempted reversal of the 2020 election and his violent assault on democracy than was generally realized.
South Burlington, Vt.
A return to normalcy, thanks to election officials
Hats off to election officials in 50 states for enabling trustworthy elections (“Despite new voting laws, few problems,” Page A2, Nov. 14). After tallying votes for thousands of state and national offices, almost no one is alleging fraud; and as had long been the case, almost all of the losing candidates graciously conceded. Our democracy needs this return to normalcy.
This puts 2020 into perspective, where, with one glaring exception, candidates generally accepted the votes or the results of appeals. And it prompts a question to those who believed our former president over which option seems more likely: that, despite lack of evidence, there truly was widespread fraud (which affected the tally for president but not for other offices), or that one losing candidate, Donald Trump, was a MEGA-sore loser, unable or unwilling to accept his defeat.
Biden is so much more than the anti-Trump
In her Nov. 10 Opinion column, “The despicable Donald Trump helps Democrats survive the midterms,” Joan Vennochi writes that President Biden’s “biggest strength, as always, is that he’s not Trump. That’s what got him elected and what will keep a base of support.” This perpetuates and contributes to a journalistic narrative about Biden that I believe is mistaken. The implication that his main (and perhaps only) basis for obtaining and maintaining his foothold in the presidency is that he is not Trump gives no credence to Biden’s actual accomplishments:
He signed the Inflation Reduction Act, a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, a gun-safety bill, a law promoting US chip manufacturing and expanding research funding, and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; reestablished the United States as an international leader that supports Ukraine against a threat to world peace; tangibly addressed global warming; oversaw historically low unemployment rates, not to mention a lower inflation rate than most other major Western countries; succeeded in allowing Medicare to negotiate from a position of strength to lower drug costs; placed the first Black woman on the Supreme Court; and, through all the rampant inflammatory political rhetoric, maintained a tone of optimism, civility, and human warmth.
House GOP leadership eager to get to the bottom of some stuff
I have to question Republican priorities. Americans are facing crippling inflation, high energy prices, climate change, and the rise of dangerous autocrats. Republicans, now controlling the House, promise to probe President Biden’s family, investigate COVID-19 practices, and reexamine the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. They might as well reboot the House Un-American Activities Committee.
McCarthy a poor sport as Pelosi steps aside
Having served as a congressional staff assistant on Capitol Hill, I know how the House works. That said, it was shocking to me that minority leader Kevin McCarthy was MIA when Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she would not seek a leadership role in the new Congress. Even coaches at rival schools, like Boston College and Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State, Army and Navy, Auburn and Alabama, and USC and UCLA, shake hands after each game. I realize that politics is a blood sport to some; still, whatever happened to sportsmanship?
Laguna Beach, Calif.
A breath of fresh air in the House
When he closed the book on Watergate, President Gerald Ford declared, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” Now that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be surrendering her leadership role in Congress, cannot the same be said today?
Michael J. DiStefano