Less than a week to go until the most important election of our lifetime*
*Not counting more important elections. By Gary Abernathy
With less than a week to go before the 2022 midterm elections, I’ve had a chance to weigh in — since the last edition of Abernathy Road — on various topics, and discuss on different platforms how things seem to be shaping up.
The Jan. 6 committee has always preached to the choir
After the Jan. 6 House select committee held its last (for now) hearing, I wrote a Washington Post column noting how it was received by anyone not already convinced of the things the committee was trying to prove.
There are few things as irritating as a preacher who just won’t end his sermon until someone, anyone, finally steps forward to confess and repent, regardless of how far most minds long ago drifted off to thoughts of football, afternoon naps and Sunday dinner…
…Ratings show that MSNBC has consistently drawn the most viewers for the hearings, a clear indicator that left-leaning partisans who have long hated Trump and want him perp-walked to prison are the hearings’ fan base. For the most part, the committee has been preaching to the choir, with many of the rest of us praying for the sermon to finally end.
You can check it out here.
Then, I discussed the same topic on “Talkline” with Hoppy Kercheval on WVMetroNews. Here you go…
Voters will reveal bigger concerns than ‘election denial’
I also wrote a Post piece suggesting that while the media and the Democrats focus so much time and attention on “election deniers,” refusing to accept election results is nothing new, and happened to Donald Trump when he won in 2016.
But pundits and numerous influential Democrats “denied or questioned" the legitimacy of Trump’s 2016 victory, too. Examples abound, but among the more notable were former president Jimmy Carter, who said that Russian interference “if fully investigated would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016.” And although she properly conceded when the election was called, Hillary Clinton went on to call Trump an “illegitimate president” whose election “wasn’t on the level.”
Several House Democrats, too, objected to certifying Trump’s electoral college win during the Jan. 6, 2017, joint meeting of the House and Senate convened to carry out that duty. Granted, the number of Republicans who protested Biden’s certification four years later — 147 House members — was far greater, but Democrats in 2017 were clearly hoping to be joined by more colleagues and suffered few lasting recriminations. In fact, one of them, Jamie Raskin (Md.), now serves on the Jan. 6 House select committee.
I predicted that when the votes are counted in the 2022 midterms, everyone will realize that most Americans are focused on other things.
This election, Americans appear poised to demonstrate that there are forms of denial they consider worse than refusing to cry uncle on the 2020 election — for example, denying that there’s a crisis on our southern border when record numbers are illegally crossing it, or denying that reducing our domestic energy production will put us at the mercy of foreign suppliers, or denying that inflation has been fueled by the government flooding the economy with reckless spending.
You can check it out here.
Discussing the midterms on ‘Beyond the Beltway’
I also enjoyed making a return appearance on “Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont” (although Bruce was off that weekend and Jeanne Ives filled in). We had a lively discussion about the current political scene. I’m on with author and cultural critic David Masciotra in the second hour, so you have to fast forward to it. Here you go…
Test your predictions against Washington Post pundits
Hey, the Post has a fun new program allowing readers to “play pundit” and make their predictions in several key midterm races, then showing them pundits who agreed or disagreed with them and what various columnists had to say. I was invited to participate on the Post’s pundit side — so you can see whether we agree or disagree. It’s actually fun, check it out.
Looking forward to election night on PBS
I’m looking forward to being in Washington on election night with the PBS NewsHour crew as we decipher the results. Tune in! Here’s a press release from PBS on the lineup…
PBS NewsHour Announces 2022 Midterm Election Night Special Coverage Plans
PBS NewsHour will offer live special coverage of the 2022 midterm elections on broadcast, online, and social beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 8 (check local listings). NewsHour’s coverage will be anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff, who will be joined by a panel of analysts and campaign strategists including New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks, Washington Post columnists Gary Abernathy and Perry Bacon Jr., editor-in-chief of the Cook Political Report Amy Walter, former chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence Marc Short, and former campaign manager for Bernie Sanders for President Faiz Shakir.
Additional reporting will be provided throughout the night by NewsHour’s chief correspondent Amna Nawaz, chief Washington correspondent Geoff Bennett from Pennsylvania, Capitol Hill correspondent Lisa Desjardins, White House correspondent Laura Barrón-López at the White House, PBS NewsHour West anchor Stephanie Sy from Arizona, correspondent William Brangham, and PBS station reporters from across the country.
Prior to NewsHour’s broadcast that night, digital anchor Nicole Ellis will host an online pre-show to preview NewsHour’s special coverage with a look into the issues shaping the midterms.
Remember, this is supposed to be fun, right?
Finally, as this election winds down, let’s try to remember to have some fun. I wrote a “topper” for Tuesday’s Post “Opinions P.M.” newsletter making that point:
I used to think politics was fun, and, like so many, I pored over polls and loved listening to pundits and politicians predict the coming results and argue about the merits of their candidates and issues. Even as a kid in presidential election years, I stayed up until all hours watching the Republican and Democratic national conventions – back when it often took until the wee hours of the morning to know who the nominee was going to be. When an election ended, my buddies on the other side and I would rib each other for weeks about it, but that was fun, too.
Now, I just can’t wait for it to be over. Why? I think that by entrenching ourselves so deeply into our partisan bunkers and so viciously demonizing the other side, we’ve taken all the fun out of politics. We’re just angry instead. While it’s always been a serious business, there should also be a joy to democracy, a celebration of the process. We live in a free country and get to decide who our leaders are going to be. That’s a big responsibility – but we should also have fun while doing it.
You can read the whole piece here.
Hoppy Kercheval invited me on “Talkline” Wednesday to elaborate on the point.
And so let’s try to make it fun again, and learn how to put it behind us when it’s over, win or lose. Go vote!