The Day of Reckoning Has Arrived

It seems like it took forever for this day to arrive, but today is Election Day, and we will learn much about our country. We’re going to see who goes to the polls. We will know how crucial reproductive freedom is to women and to which groups of women. We will get a sense of the concern among voters about threats to our democratic system. And, of course, the most important questions are which party will control the House and Senate. Conventional wisdom says Republicans will wrest control of the House from the Democrats, and Democrats may be able to maintain their slim majority in the Senate, but I am not convinced of a predicted red tsunami.

If you have not voted, please do not despair and forfeit your right to be heard. If you live in a blue or red state and believe the race for the House or Senate has already been decided, do not stay at home thinking your vote is meaningless. There will be candidates to choose from at various levels, state and local, and ballot initiatives may have meaning for your city, town, or community. There is no such thing as a meaningless vote. My colleagues, Terry Mizrahi, and Mimi Abramovitz, at Voting Is Social Work, emailed a reminder that 22 states have same-day voter registration. Visit their website for more information.

Republicans have spent the last several months blaming President Biden’s fiscal policies for inflation roiling the entire world when the quantitative easing by central banks worldwide has flooded the market with trillions of dollars, which is the very definition of inflation. Couple that with corporations buying back their stocks instead of investing in industry; it was only a matter of time before inflation would be on the rise again. And, if the pollsters are correct, most voters believe Republicans can reduce inflation when they have not put forth any credible plan to address the problem.

I will also be looking at turnout among young voters. Their participation could decide the midterm elections. There are signs they will be engaged. According to reports, young women have registered in large numbers, primarily because they are concerned about body autonomy. The question is will they show up? Unfortunately, I have not seen many signs of effective mobilization of young voters by Democrats. President Biden’s poll numbers have declined among Millennial and Generation Z voters. Much is at stake for young voters, from climate change to economic inequality that has led to increased homelessness, food insecurity, and crime. Yet they are not inspired by Democratic leadership, who are much older and seem out of touch with their ideas about the country. Young voters see less difference between the two parties than their older counterparts.

Democrats have failed to adequately articulate a vision for the future of the country that draws voters into their fold. They are willing to play the same self-defeating money game and believe they can better the country by outraising and outspending Republicans. More than $17 billion will be spent on the 2022 midterms and Democrats are raking in their share of the dough. There is no talk of revising the system and doing anything to reduce the influence of big donors in politics. Democrats are the lesser evil of two misguided political parties. But it’s going to take more than that to inspire voters of all ages and young voters particularly. What do social workers have to say about the status of our political system? What can we offer towards a vision of developing a functioning multiracial society? That is the goal, isn’t it? Please join me and five board members of the Social Work Democracy Project on Thursday, November 17, at 1:30 p.m. EST for a focused discussion on social work’s reaction to the midterm elections. This webinar is one of a series presented by the Open Classroom at the Brown School at Washington, University in St. Louis, with the collaboration of several macro social work organizations.

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