The results of the recent midterms seem to put to bed some common assumptions about U.S. politics.
As the dust settles on the 2018 Midterm Elections, I noticed two interesting things that raise questions about what we’ve come to take for granted in politics.
1) That protest movements achieve something. When I was younger, I used to love a good protest. Fondly recalling their own “Days of Rage” in the 1960s and ’70s, university professors in particular have encouraged campus activism, which in turn spread elsewhere. It makes you feel good. It makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself—a grand statement that you will not sit idly by and allow something outrageous to continue.
But do they actually work here in the United States, especially when the only outrage is over losing an election? In 2010 Scott Walker, a Republican, was elected governor of Wisconsin. Wisconsin, like Illinois, is divided between large cities, which tend to be very liberal, and geographically large but underpopulated rural areas, which tend to be very conservative. Governor Walker did as promised and limited the collective bargaining powers of Wisconsin public employees. The left lost its mind.
Massive protests erupted in the state capitol, Madison. I was there, on March 12, 2011 (see picture above). Thousands of angry people stood in the cold screaming and holding signs and walking around in a circle. They launched a recall effort in 2012, which ultimately failed when Walker won again. Now, six years later, Governor Walker was removed from office not by hand-wringing and carrying on, but at the ballot box when Democrats ran an appealing candidate with a message that resonated with voters.
That’s how you affect change in the United States. That’s the beauty of our political system. We have a chance to change our public officials through regularly-held elections. If you make a compelling argument, you can appeal to enough voters and have a chance to implement your agenda.Continue reading “Two Takeaways from the 2018 Midterm Elections”