After the 2022 Midterms

Arriving home after my last shift of knocking doors before the midterm election.

The United States finished voting in our Nov. 8 midterm elections. The results for the U.S. Congress will not be known for a while. Some states passed laws that delay counting absentee ballots until the polls close. It could take days. Not here in Iowa. A spreadsheet of initial election results from the county auditor waits in my inbox. I looked at enough races last night to know the results were not good for Democrats.

Our county party set a goal of creating a 32,000-vote margin in the federal and state wide races to offset Republicans in other parts of this increasingly red state. They fell well short with the U.S. Senate race going to Michael Franken in our county, with a margin of 27,130. It was not enough and Chuck Grassley won his race handily statewide. Johnson County is an irrelevant blue dot in a sea of red.

Democrats did poorly across the state with Republicans sweeping the governor’s race and all five federal offices, according to the Secretary of State election results website. With 97 of 99 counties reporting, State Auditor Rob Sand leads in his race. He would be the only state-wide Democrat to win. Long-time office-holders Attorney General Tom Miller and State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald were both defeated by their Republican opponents. Two counties (Warren and Des Moines) in the First Congressional District have not reported, yet it seems clear from what is in that Mariannette Miller-Meeks will be reelected. All counties reported in the other Congressional Districts.

I spent most of election day poll watching. It became evident early in the day there would be no need to protect the vote. Two of the poll workers had been doing this work for more than ten years and their personalities are of the kind that don’t stand for malarkey. I remembered the poll supervisor from the 2020 election and she did an excellent job of organizing the site and keeping the lines moving, when there was a line. I heard of no voter protection issues county-wide.

This was a hard defeat for Iowa Democrats. Where we go from here is an open question. Some have suggested that a couple of substantial Democratic donors (Fred Hubbell and Jack Hatch) along with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack might pick up the pieces and rebuild the party in the mold of what existed when Vilsack was governor. That would be the wrong direction. We can’t go on like we have been and the politics of Iowa before Obama doesn’t exist any longer.

For now, I’m going to accept the reality that Iowa hasn’t been a swing state since 2016. There is another post coming after I analyze our county election results.