Effective Left/progressive organizing helped block the “Red Wave.” This buys our movements a bit more time to build to the scale and unity we need to defeat the authoritarian Right.
A big proportion of the country’s anti-MAGA majority turned out November 8 and prevented the GOP from getting the “Red Wave” their leaders (and all too many liberals and progressives) expected.
Republicans may yet emerge with majorities in the House (likely) and Senate. But the overall results of races for Congress, governorships, secretaries of state, and ballot initiatives mark a setback for the GOP’s drive to capture complete control of the federal government. It is a political and morale boost for everyone left of center. The atmosphere has been changed.
An assessment of the landscape and the key tasks facing the social justice wing of the anti-MAGA front in the wake of this result yields the following key points.
- This defeat for MAGA is not decisive enough to stop the backlash against the gains of the 1960s and the 1930s that has reached its fever pitch under Trump. Despite not meeting its midterm targets, MAGA has maintained its firm grip on its 40% of the electorate. It won more than enough elections to continue its drive toward authoritarian rule via a “legal coup” in 2024.
- The midterm results showed that almost half the electorate, largely young and largely people of color, understands and rejects MAGA appeals. But only continuing high turnout by the majority can stop the Republican juggernaut next time around. Progressives played a key role in galvanizing the record turnouts that led to major victories in 2018 and 2020 and fought MAGA to a stalemate this year. We will need to play an even bigger role in 2024 if we are to turn the corner on this long backlash phase of U.S. political history.
- A leap forward in reach, strategic alignment, and practical coordination among different components of the progressive movement will be required not just to qualitatively expand our electoral capacity. It will be essential to effectively carry out the long-term deep organizing —electoral and non-electoral—that can push back authoritarianism and start a new progressive cycle in U.S. politics.
Backlash politics hits a peak—and then is stalemated
Today’s MAGA movement is simply the latest political incarnation of the backlash against the gains of the 1960s whose driving force was the Black-led Civil Rights Movement.