The widely-expected Republican “red wave” failed to crash in November’s midterm elections, offering the Left and the country as a whole a brief reprieve from the far right’s troubling advances. Despite high inflation and poor approval ratings for President Joe Biden, the Democrats bucked historic trends and held on to their majority in the US Senate. They did lose their majority in the House of Representatives, but by far less than initially expected; Republicans will hold just a razor-thin majority in the lower chamber in the next Congress that opens in January. Election deniers and Christian nationalists lost key races in crucial states like Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan, lessening if not foreclosing the possibility of electoral manipulation in the 2024 presidential election. Enough voters, including many Republican voters, were turned off by GOP extremism to keep some of the worst candidates, like Blake Masters in Arizona and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, out of office and away from the levers of state power.
Avoiding the worst possible outcome should not be confused with a victory, and the threat from the far Right has by no means been defeated. But democratic socialists should take heart from these results, and continue building our movement despite the major challenges we face on every front. This includes hostility from powerful figures in the Democratic Party, including new House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who has vowed that “There will never be a moment where I bend the knee to hard-left democratic socialism.” The long road to political renewal in this country continues.
This issue of Socialist Forum tackles a wide range of topics, from the recent national DSA Recommitment Drive, to reflections on the state of democratic socialism in New York City, to the practice of labor internationalism, to one DSA member’s struggles with navigating America’s inefficient and confusing disability program. As always, we invite readers to submit responses to any of these articles to our inbox: socialistforum [at] dsausa.org.