US Midterm Elections: Why a Republican win would be disastrous - opinion

Americans can help produce a more just, democratic, healthy, environmentally sustainable US and world by supporting Democrats in the midterms.

 SUPPORTERS HOLD UP signs at a Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial event with candidate Doug Mastriano, ahead of the midterm elections on Tuesday. (photo credit: RACHEL WISNIEWSKI/REUTERS)
SUPPORTERS HOLD UP signs at a Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial event with candidate Doug Mastriano, ahead of the midterm elections on Tuesday.
(photo credit: RACHEL WISNIEWSKI/REUTERS)

There are many reasons why it would be disastrous if the Republicans took over the House of Representatives and/or the Senate in the upcoming US midterm elections.

Their victory would mean that truth is not important to most US voters and politicians can lie without being punished. The Republican party is acting like a cult in supporting former president Donald Trump’s big lie that he won the 2020 presidential election “by a landslide,” despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and Trump’s many other lies, misrepresentations and conspiracy theories.

Based on these falsehoods, Republicans are doing everything possible to make it difficult for certain groups to vote and are backing other steps to undermine democratic values, in order to regain power, despite the wishes of the majority of the American people. 

They are even promoting candidates for state positions who would have the ability and willingness to overturn the results of fair elections. If, based on these undemocratic means, Republicans capture the House and the Senate this year and the presidency in 2024, the US will be in great danger of becoming an autocracy, with the will of the majority thwarted.

Donald Trump departs Trump Tower two days after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, New York, US, August 10, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/DAVID 'DEE' DELGADO)Donald Trump departs Trump Tower two days after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, New York, US, August 10, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/DAVID 'DEE' DELGADO)

Despite climate events becoming increasingly frequent and severe, and the many dire predictions of climate experts, the Republican Party has consistently opposed legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is at a time when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared that the climate crisis is a “Code Red for humanity” and that urgent action is needed before it is too late.

Israelis should be especially concerned about climate threats. Because of climate change, the Middle East is becoming hotter and drier and, according to military experts, this makes violence, terrorism and war more likely. If the rapid melting of polar ice caps and glaciers continues, the coastal plain that contains most of Israel’s population and infrastructure will be inundated by the rising Mediterranean Sea.

Instead of working with Democrats on legislation that benefits Americans, every Republican congressional member opposed the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, although it included many positive features, including: the largest US investment in history to reduce climate threats, potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030; a reduction in the costs of prescription drugs for older Americas; health care subsidies for Americans; and the potential to reduce inflation and the US national debt. 

Despite the many mass shootings that have taken place in the US, almost all, if not all, Republican congressional members have consistently opposed efforts to impose background checks for people wishing to buy guns, and also efforts to prevent them from having easy access to weapons of war. They are putting the interests of the National Rifle Association ahead of the safety of the American people.

Republican policies are contrary to basic Jewish values

REPUBLICAN POLICIES are contrary to basic Jewish values in terms of concern for the disadvantaged, the stranger, the hungry and the poor. Rather than improving Obamacare, which provided health insurance to tens of millions of Americans, Trump and other Republicans supported health legislation that would have caused millions of Americans to lose their insurance and others to pay higher premiums. 

Rather than supporting efforts to rebuild the US’s crumbling infrastructure, given a grade of D+ by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Republicans seek to provide tax benefits to the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations, even if it increases the national debt. Republicans have long ought to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and environmental and health protections.

The unprecedentedly extreme and untethered Supreme Court – with five of its six conservative members appointed by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote – opposes the long-entrenched legal bases for privacy, abortion rights, contraception, marriage rights, gun restrictions, and environmental and other necessary regulations. 

Trump and many Republican legislators have made antisemitic statements and have failed to condemn white nationalist and other biased organizations.

Republicans downplayed the importance of wearing masks and vaccinations, causing the unnecessary loss of tens of thousands of innocent lives from the coronavirus epidemic, while Democrats have worked to minimize coronavirus infections. 

Republicans claim that they deserve support because Trump did some positive things for Israel. But he did two things that can very negatively affect Israel and the world: (1) pulling out of the 2015 UN Paris climate change agreement that was signed by leaders of 195 nations, including the US and Israel, impeding progress toward reducing climate threats, and (2) pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, resulting in Iran being much closer to a nuclear weapon and being in a far better bargaining position in negotiations for a renewed agreement. 

Also, except for a handful of extremists, Democratic congressional members, including all their leaders, have been strongly supportive of Israel, voting constantly in support of funding for the Iron Dome and other Israeli defense needs. 

REPUBLICAN PROSPECTS for victories in the midterm elections are greatly enhanced by voters’ beliefs that the US is heading in the wrong direction, largely because of the current major inflation and fears of a recession. Democrats are being widely criticized for the poor economic condition, but they can neutralize the situation and possibly even turn it to their advantage by stressing the following factors:

The negative economic conditions are largely due to Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked, unjustified invasion of Ukraine, corporation price gouging, using the high inflation as a cover for raising prices far beyond their increased costs, Russia-Saudi oil market manipulations to help Republicans in the midterms, China’s lockdown, and the lingering impacts of the pandemic on supply chains, a rare confluence of negative conditions. 

This analysis is reinforced by the fact that it is not just the US, but most of the world that is experiencing very high inflation and other economic problems. The UK and most European nations, for example, have higher inflation than the US.

There is some good economic news for the US. For example, during the 20 months of the Biden administration, 10 million net jobs, many in high-paying manufacturing sectors, were created and the unemployment level has returned to what it was before the pandemic. Wages have kept pace with inflation since Biden took office.

Democratic efforts to reduce inflation have been opposed by the Republicans, who have not revealed any plans for reducing inflation. They are eager to criticize for their political benefit, but they have no strategy to improve the situation.

Historically, the US economy has fared better under Democratic administrations than under Republican administrations. For example, largely due to Republicans providing major tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and highly profitable corporations, the US national debt has increased far more during Republican administrations than during Democratic ones.

The only time that the US had a budget surplus in the past 100 years was during the final three years of the Clinton administration, but that was quickly turned into a major debt, largely because of former president George W. Bush’s tax policies. Former president Barack Obama got the US out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Although, as Republicans argue, the high pandemic stimulus payments did contribute to a small part of the inflation, the payments kept millions of businesses afloat and Americans out of destitution.

In summary, Americans can help produce a more just, democratic, healthy, environmentally sustainable US and world by supporting Democrats in the midterms.

The writer is a professor emeritus at the College of Staten Island.