by A. Altieri D’Angelo
Let Freedom Ring was a line in a well-known song, America. Martin Luther King used this line in his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” in Washington, D.C., on August 28th, 1963. His words embodied the concept of freedom for all people of the United States, particularly Black Americans. He expressed his hope in the following way:
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
On November 8th, 2022, most Americans spoke with one voice and voted to “let freedom ring.” Democrats retained control of the Senate and lost a small number of House of Representatives (the House) seats. The election results are a huge victory for President Biden, the Democratic Party (the Democrats), and freedom. American voters rejected the politics of extremism.
People voted for moderate candidates for a variety of reasons. For many women and men, losing the right to an abortion was infuriating and threatening. The efforts of the Republican Party (the Party), and in particular the extremist wing of the Party (MAGA), to restrict voting also caused people to put freedom above all else.
The vote for freedom came from all quarters: women, white college-educated men, Black Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. Gen Z (people born after 1997) also opposed the Party’s agenda.
During 2022, conventional wisdom projected that the Party would take the House, the Senate, and many state offices, such as governorships. Historical precedent predicted that the political party in power would lose seats in the House and Senate in the Midterm elections. The Democrats under President Bill Clinton and Obama, as well as the Trump Party, were severely beaten in Midterm elections. In addition, President Biden’s approval rating was historically low due to rising gas prices, high inflation, immigration issues, and crime. All these factors led people to believe there would be a Red Wave in November. The Democrats were expected to lose House 30-40 seats and control, and the Party would gain 5-10 Senate seats and take control; a similar result was expected in state elections.
The Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the right to an abortion led some to believe that people would vote against pro-life candidates and the Party. But that hope seemed to fade in the Fall. At the same time, the Democrats, notably Biden, launched a campaign that focused on the extremism of MAGAs. He made the election about freedom. He pointed out that Party had not put forward any programs to help voters. He reminded voters that top Republican leaders had openly discussed restricting Social Security and Medicare funding, making it harder for people to receive government benefits. But the polls continued to indicate that inflation was the #1 issue for voters and abortion was a distant #2, followed closely by crime.
Then Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked in his own home by a man that sought to kidnap and attack Nancy Pelosi. Most people were shocked and angry about what happened; political violence of any sort was unacceptable. The MAGAs, however, went on a rampage suggesting the attack was an attempt to generate sympathy for the Democrats, or it did not happen at all; lastly, Paul Pelosi was involved with a male prostitute who attacked him. MAGAs revealed their true natures, and voters did not like what they saw.
In the end, the polls were wrong again. Democracy and freedom were the essential things on most voters’ minds. They saw that MAGAs were attempting to eliminate personal freedoms that did not match their beliefs. They saw a Party that asked for power but was not prepared to do anything positive with it.
The election represented a wholesale rejection of the MAGA agenda and Trump. Many Trump-endorsed candidates lost. In the opinion of many experts, he did more damage to the Party than anyone else by picking extremist candidates whose only qualification was to claim the 2020 election was stolen.
America dodged a bullet in the Midterms, but the MAGA threat is not eliminated. Biden and the Democrats must prove that the people made the right choice by letting freedom ring.