While there were bright spots in last night’s election results across the country—Michelle Wu as the first woman and person of color to become mayor of Boston, Shontel Brown elected to the House representing Cleveland, Tucson voters passing a $15 minimum wage proposition—much of the night’s results serve as a warning sign for the midterms of 2022 and beyond.
A powerful vortex of racism and disinformation—and unscrupulous people who are willing to exploit both to their advantage—is fracturing the coalition that stood up to authoritarianism in 2020. In addition, the Democratic party is seeing what happens when its base of Black, Brown and young voters are taken for granted or treated as a last-minute constituency with no authentic, meaningful engagement on the ground and no progressive legislative wins to back up promises.
It is imperative that candidates invigorate with their base now and do the hard work of grassroots coalition building that motivates voters to become and remain engaged. It is also critical that our elected officials pass the bills that will help voters live better, healthier lives and demonstrate that votes actually lead to change. Finally—and above all else—it is of the utmost importance that Congress pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote act now before our ability to create change is drowned by the wave of voter suppression laws washing over the country and our work toward a fairer, more inclusive nation is set back for generations.