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Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024
The Observer

The midterm election: Voters turn against extremism 

The midterm election occurred on November 8, 2022 with surprising outcomes. A midterm is supposed to be the time that the opposing party can make up ground for the next Presidential election, in this case a “Red Wave”, but that is not what happened. 

Voters rejected antidemocratic and autocratic candidates this election by denouncing many of the candidates that Donald Trump backed, including all of Trump’s secretary of state candidates who ran on the lie that the 2020 election was rigged.

Voters also chose progress instead of regression. The US broke its record for the most female governors elected at once with nine female governors. Wes Moore was elected as the first Black governor in Maryland and he is only the third in US history, Maura Healey is the first out lesbian governor in US history and the first female governor in Massachusetts, James Roesener is the first out transgender man to become a state lawmaker and Alex Padilla is the first Latino senator in California. Voters pushed for historic firsts and pushed back against oppressive, hateful candidates in many places. 

There was no red wave because many people are tired of Trumpism. People are tired of election denial and when candidates refuse to accept the results of a legitimate election, that is a step too far for many moderate voters. The key independent and moderate voters that Republicans needed to win back from Biden in 2020 did not go back. Even with Trump’s campaign announcement on Tuesday, he is not in as strong of a position in the run for the presidency as he was in 2016.

As well, the Supreme Court’s decision, reversing Roe v. Wade through the Dobbs decision was a large push to prevent a red wave. Abortion was on the ballot in five states: California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont.

California voted to add a provision to their constitution which prevents the state from interfering with or denying an individual’s reproductive freedom. Kentucky voted against adding a provision to their constitution that would remove any protection for abortion. Michigan voted to add a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom. Montana voted to not add the possibility of criminal charges for healthcare providers unless they take “all medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the life” of a fetus born alive. Lastly, Vermont added the right to personal reproductive autonomy to their constitution. All five states voted to limit the state’s reach in reproductive rights issues. 

Republicans still won the House, but by a lower margin than previously predicted and Democrats kept the Senate. It seems that voters are tired of extremism in many ways and the question remains as to what the Republican party will do now as Trump prepares to run again for the presidency. Voters are searching for alternatives to what they have been given in the past. Many high profile Republican politicians even say it is time to move away from Trump and not have the Republican party as the “party of Trump”. Still, the question remains: in the future will the party choose extremism again? Or will they risk standing behind someone else? 

Rachel Hartmann ('24) is majoring in Political Science and is minoring in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service and Civil and Human Rights. She is a member of ND's Write to Vote chapter. 
W2V is the Notre Dame chapter of the national Write to Vote Project, a non-partisan, pro-democracy initiative. Its goal is to support democracy, encourage civic engagement and advance voting rights in the U.S. and around the world. You can contact NDW2V at

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.