by W.D. Ehrhart
Well, the 2022 midterm election results have certainly been a surprise to just about everybody. While the Republicans—can we still call them Retrumplicans? Sure, what the heck (more on that anon)—did gain a slim majority in the House of Representatives, the Great Red Tsunami that was supposed to obliterate our two-party system and set the nation up for a fascist takeover in 2024 turned out to be more like a Little Red Puddle.
Don’t get me wrong. The current state of domestic politics is still fragile and fraught with danger. Ron DeSantis is a lot scarier than Dolt 45 because DeSantis actually has a brain in his head. And nearly 2,000,000 Georgians voted for Hershel Walker even though Walker doesn’t have a brain in his head. Unless Raphael Warnock defeats Walker in a run-off, Fossil Fuel Apostle Joe Manchin could still continue to do his completely convincing imitation of a fly in the ointment.
But on balance, as one considers the election results across the nation, it looks like I can defer my plan to take a header off the Henry Avenue Bridge—height above Wissahickon Creek and Lincoln Drive: 155 feet—for at least another two years.
In Arizona, Democrats took the U.S. Senate seat and the State House. All five states that had the abortion issue on the ballot voted to uphold a woman’s right to choose. Election deniers running for offices that could control future vote counts all lost. Sarah Palin got her butt handed to her in Alaska, the likely winner being a member of the Alaskan Yup’ik tribe and a woman.
Here in my home state of Pennsylvania, we elected Democrat Josh Shapiro governor over MAGA advocate and January 6th participant Doug Mastriano, and Democrat John Fetterman defeated snake oil salesman and television “personality” Mehmet Oz for the U.S. senate seat held by Republican Pat Toomey, who chose not to run again. Pennsylvania Democrats even gained a slim majority in the state Assembly (the lower house) for the first time in a dozen years. I may have to stop calling my home state Pennsyltucky, especially since Kentucky is one of the states that voted to uphold a woman’s right to choose.
But let’s not get too complacent here. Kentucky is still more Red than the flag of the People’s Republic of China. And here in Pennsylvania, well over two million voters opted for both Mastriano and Oz. The Democratic majority in the Assembly will be something like one or two seats, and the Retrumplicans still hold the state Senate.
And perhaps the most amazing wonder of all is that Donald J. Trump, The Donald, Dolt 45, has actually declared his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in the 2024 election. How is this even possible?
Twice impeached, and saved from conviction only by a Retrumplican-dominated Senate. Saved from criminal charges only by the spineless dereliction of duty by special prosecutor Robert Mueller. Still uncharged criminally by Attorney General Merrick Garland. (God only knows what Garland is waiting for. I certainly don’t. If I’d committed a fraction of the crimes Dolt 45 has committed, I’d have been charged, tried, convicted, and jailed years ago.)
Moreover, the only Trump supporter who still has a chance of winning is poor old Herschel Walker, who seems to have sustained permanent traumatic brain injury while earning millions of dollars as a professional football player, his only actual accomplishment in life (unless you count his ability to impregnate multiple women).
All the other Trump-endorsed candidates in competitive elections lost. But that wasn’t Dolt 45’s fault. Melania gave him bad advice. At least with regard to his endorsement of the Wizard of Oz. And how does he explain the other losses? It’s “Biden and the radical Democrats,” “radical left lunatics,” the “deep state,” “fake news media,” “blue-ribbon committees,” “this rigged and corrupt system.” He’s just “a victim. [He] will tell you.”
And so, like a zombie that won’t stay dead, like a recurring nightmare, like lice or fleas, like bubonic plague, like Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th fame, “He’s back!!!!!”
What havoc awaits us, I hardly dare to contemplate. Back in 2016, when Dolt 45 won that election, I didn’t feel all that badly because I could take comfort in the fact that I wouldn’t have to listen to Hillary Clinton for the next four years. And I thought Dolt 45 would be kind of entertaining.
But I now admit that I badly, very badly, underestimated how much damage a deranged, narcissistic, ignorant, immature, bigoted, misogynistic grifter could do. And I badly underestimated how cravenly spineless, immoral, amoral, power-hungry, and despicable the rest of the Retrumplican party could be.
I won’t make that mistake again.
W. D. Ehrhart’s latest collections are Thank You for Your Service: Collected Poems (2019), and a chapbook, Wolves in Winter: Poems 2019-2021.