The 2022 midterm elections might well be the most critical in all of U.S. history. Every House seat and 34 Senate seats are up for grabs. At stake are the majorities in both houses of Congress, plus control of the state legislatures that could be used to decide the Presidency in 2024. And you can make a difference.
These are no ordinary elections. With them could come among history’s most decisive and divisive shifts in political power. Also to be decided: how our campaigns are run. And here’s where you come in.
For decades, tens of millions of dollars, from Republicans and Democrats, have been poured into advertising in newspapers, on the radio and most importantly on TV. The consensus has been that the more money a candidate and their party spend on catchy, clever, crushing attack ads, the more likely they will be to win an election. But both Steve Bannon on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats now argue that grassroots “relational” campaigning is far more effective.
This strategic debate could prove critical. And you could make a difference by actually signing up to go door-to-door for your candidate of choice, by working the phones or by helping to establish a “democracy center” in your community.
Millions of Americans are dissatisfied with both major parties. An NPR/Ipsos poll from January indicated that 64% of Americans feel that democracy “is in crisis and at risk of failing.” Further, 70% of respondents stated they felt that way about the country itself. But on the Republican side, far-right activists like Bannon argue for hand-to-hand combat at the grassroots level. Bannon is an outspoken fan of both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, and armed intimidation is an open part of his authoritarian advocacy. On a December 2021 episode of his War Room podcast, both he and embattled Florida congressman Matt Gaetz called for an “army of patriots” and “shock troops” to take over the government should Trump win the Presidency in 2024.
On another podcast episode later that month, Bannon laid out a game plan that has now become infamous: “We’re going to take over the election apparatus…. [Trump supporters] are now going to volunteer to become a precinct committee-man, they’re going to volunteer to become an election official, they’re going to come and run for county clerk and overthrow these county clerks, and they’re going to take over the secretaries of state…. And we’re going to be relentless, and we’re not going to give up…. And we’re going to take over elections.”