Commentary, National Commentary

Editor’s Column: The MAGA Fever Has Been Broken

With the crucial midterm election outcome last week, the MAGA fever over the land has broken.

Despite the last couple of days’ developments – that is, the likelihood that the GOP will still wind up in control of the House if only by a couple seats and the regrettable Trump announcement of a new presidential bid – there is no erasing the fact of the powerfully transformative nature of this month’s election result. It was left once again to the American electorate to pull the nation from the brink of a descent into authoritarian chaos and to restore the wondrous benefits of democracy.

I know of no fair-minded person who has not expressed a great sigh of relief in the wake of the election. Now, we must press on, and the immediate goal we have yet to realize is that, with a Democratic win in the runoff election in Georgia coming up, the Democrats will no longer be susceptible to being held hostage by Sen. Joe Manchin because they will be able to get their way even without his vote.

Things have been looking up in this whole period. As I noted in a social media post last week, the array of lead stories on the front page of the Washington Post last weekend cited more than just the midterm election results. The headlines taken in aggregate told an amazing story about the direction the world may hopefully now be headed in. I gloated by citing the headlines on six stories that appeared on the front page on Nov. 12, even before Nevada’s senate seat was called for the Democrats assuring them control of the U.S. Senate.

I wrote, “Wow! Plethora of positive news on Wapo front page today! Headlines include: 1. GOP in panic as hopes dwindle, leaders facing far-right rebellion, path to win majorities in Congress narrows; 2. Ukraine celebrates return of Kherson; Russia retreats from the capital it captured during the war; 3. CEO resigns as major crypto exchange nears bankruptcy; 4. Biden’s climate pledges met by pleas for aid; 5. Twitter blue halted as fake accounts plague platform; botched rollout punctuates Musk’s first weeks at helm; 6. Europe aims for rail renaissance; one train trip from Sweden to France puts plan to cut carbon-heavy flights to the test.”

I was heartened by the crypto development because it was inevitable and the fewer people to get hurt by it the better. It was the product of the Trumpian mindset which said that image matters as much, if not more, than substance because truth itself has been rendered suspect. 

I remain struck by the lack of understanding of so many of the pundits about what happened with the election even as I was solidly applauded by my weekly lunch crowd last Monday for having “called” the outcome so accurately in favor of the Democrats, a lonely prediction matched only by Michael Moore.

Not in 20 years had the party that won the presidential election in the previous election done so well, or the opposition party done so poorly. In the nation’s history, only the midterm elections in 1934, 1963 and 2002 had been so dramatic in this way, and of course 2002 was punctuated by the extraordinary circumstances of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks just the previous year.

First, the pundits failed to recognize the impact of President Biden’s achievements in the months leading up to the election. To sum it up, Biden delivered the largest economic recovery plan since Roosevelt, the largest infrastructure plan since Eisenhower, the most judges confirmed since Kennedy, the second largest health bill since Johnson and the largest climate change bill in history. Pundits were misled into thinking that age was the big issue with Biden, not his ability to lead.

Second, and this was the biggest factor, the “experts” grossly underestimated the role the Supreme Court decision ending Roe Vs. Wade would have. Here was a huge disconnect as the “experts” weren’t able to recognize the ballot result on the subject earlier in the year in, of all places, Kansas.

The matter, in fact, is not a matter of opinion polls, but much more critically, of women’s rights to their very own bodies.