A purple wave

Posted 11/15/22

The predictions for a so-called red wave — or even a red tsunami, as some pundits called it — turned out to be more of a purple ripple; a mix of red and blue victories that serves to not …

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A purple wave


The predictions for a so-called red wave — or even a red tsunami, as some pundits called it — turned out to be more of a purple ripple; a mix of red and blue victories that serves to not shift power too far in either direction.

While at the time of this writing it seems all but confirmed that Republicans will seize the House of Representatives, it’s still not known precisely how many seats they will get. It is certainly known, however, that the Republicans performed significantly worse than anticipated and historical data suggested they should, and that Democrats will retain control of the powerful Senate chamber throughout the duration of President Biden’s first term in office.

As with all things political in this country right now, how you feel about these developments depends entirely on which side of the political spectrum you find yourself.

However, we would argue that a more purple country is one better suited to actually serve the needs of all of its people. Far from perfect, our electoral system should be forcing politicians of different viewpoints to work together to find compromise that benefits the largest number of people possible, understanding each side may need to make certain concessions to achieve that balance.

If nothing else, this election showed that a majority of the American people do not want to see our country devolve into a place governed by people who seek to propagate divisive rhetoric based on election denying conspiracy theories. Candidates that espoused such views, across the nation, were resoundingly defeated by more moderate challengers in nearly every race where such a candidate was nominated.

This should signal to all the logically-minded representatives and senators in both chambers, on both sides of the aisle, that the majority of Americans want to get back to a place of rational, respectful, bipartisanship — not the type of zero-sum mudslinging that has been the standard since 2016. Passing policy that helps regular people is popular, regardless of which color your bumper stickers are.

The elections also showed promising signs of increased participation in our democracy. Across the country, pre-election polling proved to be unreliable and did not accurately predict the sheer number of people who would turn out for midterms. In 2018, nearly 50 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote, while this year the prediction is closer to 47 or 48 percent. Compare this to 2014, where only 36 percent of eligible voters turned out. A new norm of higher participation can only be good for the country — as politicians elected, and therefore policies that get passed, will more truly reflect an overall will of the people who cast those votes.

Still, all this talk of waves and one side “winning” over the other truly does remain problematic. We should not be looking at our elections as though they were sporting events, with one side representing “the good guys”, and the other side “the bad guys.” We should be looking at them as competitions among people with ideas on how to affect policy and make meaningful changes.

Perhaps, if we’re lucky, we can all ride this purple wave towards a better, more cooperative tomorrow for everyone.

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