Why Vote? And Our Top 12 Midterms to Watch
“Wherever law ends, tyranny begins,” observed John Locke, and while the English philosopher wrote those words 333 years ago, they remain painfully prescient today. Of course, so much of Locke’s thinking is interwoven within America’s constitutional foundation. Though Locke was writing about the law and its relationship to monarchy, he was speaking, prophetically as ever, to other forms of government, not the least of which was the liberal order he helped define.
The notion of equality, the rule of law, the essence of limited representative government are all Lockean ideas and values which most Americans have long taken for granted. Unquestionably, the scourge of Trumpism, and the slavish devotion of its practitioners, now constitute the greatest threat to these fundamental norms and to the very existence of the 233 year old American experiment in self-government. Too many Americans are exhausted by the vigor and vigilance required for democracy’s survival. And in too many cases, many of our fellow citizens are numb to the everyday threats, degradation and odious malfeasance of the Trumpian authoritarian movement. That’s exactly what the execrable MAGA cult is counting on. American apathy (embodied by the 101 million Americans who didn’t vote in 2020,) is Trumpism’s greatest ally, and it’s no exaggeration to point out (yep, even more than the 2020 election,) the existential essence of the midterm elections this November.
As we always say here at Dirty Moderate, we are saving democracy one episode at a time, and our passionate advocacy for civic participation isn’t simply a rhetorical mission, but our own robust call to action. It’s no longer about Republican vs. Democrat, given the onetime party of Lincoln’s moral and philosophical descent into madness. We at Dirty Moderate are mavericks, moderates and gadflies, to be sure, but we’ve targeted and compiled this year’s key congressional and gubernatorial races which will be on the ballot nationwide. It’s the Democrats or die for us this year, given the voluminous spate of autocratic, lying, election denying clowns and wackjobs running on the GOP ticket. It’s America or Trumpism, you can’t have both. Just as Locke warned against the potential for tyranny, we believe the candidates listed below represent the strongest bulwarks against the ferocious destruction of democracy. Country first. Now, go vote!
TX Governor: Beto O’ Rourke’s election to the next governor of the state of Texas, and the first Democrat since Ann Richards, is of existential urgency. The current Governor Greg Abbott is a MAGA Gilead fascist whose war on women and the trans community must have Jerry Falwell throwing a theocratic soirée in hell. Texas isn’t quite blue yet, but the election of Beto would be an essential bulwark against MAGA extremism and its democracy destroying putridity.
PA Senate: Oz vs. Fetterman. Dr. Oz is a fraud who peddles MAGA snake oil the way he peddled his phony supplements. Pennsylvania is always a swing state, given its purple hue and the large swath of the state between Philly and Pittsburgh colloquially known as “Pennslytucky.” John Fetterman is an everyman candidate, and while he tacks perhaps too far to the left for the Keystone State, he’s a strong campaigner, has core beliefs about government doing good, and most important, he stops MAGA. A Fetterman win would be a pickup for the Dems, as incumbent Republican senator Pat Toomey is retiring.
GA Senate: Warnock vs. Walker. Herschel Walker is unfit , mentally damaged and a pawn for MAGA to cloak their racist bonafides . Raphael Warnock should have a commanding lead in the polls, but as is the case in a competitive year, the race is tighter than it should be. Warnock was elected narrowly in 2020, and Georgia is the new swing state, so all hands on deck for Warnock.
OH Senate: Tim Ryan vs JD Vance. Vance is a huckster and former anti-Trumper running as a MAGA loon. Ryan is a Democrat who can appeal to working class voters in Ohio while also running as a candidate who is tough on China, while being a forceful advocate for abortion rights, LGBTQ+ rights and common sense gun laws. Ryan’s election in red-trending Ohio would be a watershed, both for him and the Buckeye State. It would also be a pickup for the Dems, as Rob Portman, the incumbent GOP senator is retiring.
AZ Governor: Democrat Katie Dobbs must defeat GOP Kari Lake who has become one of Trump’s most stridently vocal election deniers. Arizona is now purple and the votes in and around Phoenix, which helped elect Biden, should favor Dobbs. But we are far away from John McCain and clearly, it’s not his Arizona GOP anymore. Lake has kept the race way too close for comfort, so all eyes on this race. Arizona will be a pivotal state in the 2024 presidential election, and a Governor Lake would surely do what it takes to keep it red. Even if that means flouting the law.
PA Governor: Democrat Josh Shapiro must beat Doug Mastriano, a Trump election denier who was at the capitol on Jan 6. Shapiro is the AG of PA and like Katie Dobbs in AZ, his win is essential in advance of the 2024 elections given the importance of PA to the electoral map.
Michigan Governor: Incumbent, Gretchen Whitmer, was threatened with a kidnap attempt and has become something of a Democratic national star. She is being challenged by Tudor Dixon, the Republican backed by Trump. Whitmer is solidly ahead in the polls, and has been backed by a large consortium of Republicans, including former lawmakers and prominent business leaders in the state. Michiganders will be voting on a ballot question which will decide if abortion will be enshrined into the state constitution. Dixon, a fierce abortion rights foe, would be a disaster for Michigan, as the GOP controls the state legislature and a Dixon governorship would also be perilous for the 2024 election cycle, given Michigan’s centrality to both GOP and Democratic candidates’ presidential prospects.
Michigan Sec of State: GOP Sec of State nominee Kristina Karamo picked by Trump said, “Abortion is really nothing new," in 2020 during an episode on her podcast. "The child sacrifice is a very satanic practice, and that's precisely what abortion is. And we need to see it as such." She’s also an election denier. The Secretaries of State around this country are important cogs in our democratic election system. Karamo is woefully unfit to oversee electoral vote certification, as she will be loyal not to the Constitution, but to Incumbent Jocelyn Benson must win.
Maggie Hassan is fighting for her political life in New Hampshire. The incumbent Democratic senator, eked out her 2016 win by only one-tenth of a point. Her opponent is retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, another member of the MAGA cult. Though most observers have this race leaning Democratic, NH has always had a libertarian and maverick streak, and unlike most of New England, they often elect Republicans statewide. This race is one to watch, as a Hassan loss could wipe away any gains made by Dems in other swing races.
FL Governor: Charlie Crist! I highlight this since we are talking about DeSantis, whose loss would be a game changer. Crist is a former Republican and Governor so he’s a good general election candidate. And Desantis is the next far right leader of the GOP, probably now, but certainly in the post Trump era. A Crist win would send shockwaves through the GOP and our polity as a whole. Enough said.
Nevada Senate: Catherine Cortez Masto (D) vs. Adam Laxalt-R, is another bellwether race. Nevada has trended blue in recent presidential elections, but Biden’s win there was narrow and outside Las vegas and Reno, it’s deep crimson. Laxalt is the son of a famous Nevada Republican named Paul Laxalt, a Reagan era senator. Masto faces the headwinds of a midterm year and a famous Nevada namesake. A Masto loss would likely deny the Dems a senate majority as it would be a GOP pickup. Don’t bet on anything; vote blue.
Utah Senate race: Former Republican turned independent Evan McMullin is hoping to unseat incumbent senator Mike Lee, who is a MAGA seditionist. The Democrats in Utah are backing McMullin to form a pro democracy coalition against Mike Lee. Utah is reliably red, but it’s Mormon values have kept it from being hardcore MAGA. Lee was always insane, but he is drinking the Trump-aid. And a win for McMullin would be a win for Dirty Moderates everywhere.
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