Connecting the Dots: A miracle in the making?

  • Elections in the 19th century were sometimes wild affairs; this cartoon is from Harpers Weekly in 1857. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION 

  • John Bos

Published: 11/12/2022 10:36:46 PM

A miracle, depending upon the dictionary you consult, is “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws.”

The miracle I was hoping for this past Tuesday was that legions of voters, never having been polled for their opinions and prognostications, would flood voting booths throughout America in defense of decency and democracy. Did I believe that would happen? Not really.

I found no relief in the reality that at age 86 I would not personally suffer the consequences of how I feared the election (sans miracle) would turn out. My miracle mirage was that there would be an awakening of millions of Americans who have taken our nation’s well-being for granted or have earned the right to vote for the first time. That they would become personally invested in undoing the results of what I thought would most likely to happen on Tuesday. They would see that the far-right candidates had absolutely no policy plans other than winning a seat at Trump’s authoritarian table.

My miracle mirage saw an awakening wave of new voters who became personally committed to vote this year because of the SCOTUS decision denying a woman’s right to manage her own health. I wanted voters in my age bracket to vote in order to prevent the reduction in social support and welfare programs including social security.

Well … it turns out that political forecasters had it wrong. Again. Many observers across the political spectrum were expecting a surging Republican performance certain to take back the House and perhaps to capture the Senate. But instead, Democrats surpassed expectations, surprising even themselves. Congress may still fall to the Republicans while control of the Senate could remain up in the air until December when a runoff election in Georgia between Raphael Warnock and Hershel Walker is decided.

Well, miracles still can happen! It may be a miracle in the making, but it is already apparent that the expected Great Red Wave of 2022 turns out to be a muddy puddle.

Younger voters were part of the blue wall that fended off a so-called “red tsunami” on Tuesday and contributed to a number of unlikely Democratic successes. Exit polls from the National Election Pool (NEP), which includes a consortium of news outlets and the Edison Research group, found that younger voters aged 18-29 were the only voter group by age to overwhelmingly support Democrats in the midterm elections.

A series of “firsts” that reflect the country’s growing diversity in politics was revealed on Tuesday. Our own commonwealth and New York State, despite their deep-blue political hues, hadn’t elected a woman as governor until Tuesday night. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, won the job in her own right Tuesday night after defeating GOP nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin. We elected Maura Healey, the first openly gay person and woman to become governor of our state, while Maryland elected its first Black governor and Florida sent a member of Gen Z to Congress. Embattled Democratic incumbents like Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (N.H.) won by working hard, establishing credible (and moderate) political identities separate from their party’s national image and benefiting from the fact that their opponents were MAGA extremists.

Women prevailed big time on Tuesday. Voters across the country delivered a series of decisive victories for abortion rights in the first nationwide election since the elimination of Roe v. Wade. The biggest surprise came in Republican-leaning Kentucky, where an antiabortion amendment was defeated, clearing a potential path for abortion access to be restored in a state with one of the country’s most restrictive bans.

Voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have rebuked gubernatorial candidates who echoed former president Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential race was rigged.

The inescapable conclusion is that Trump — who has indicated he will soon announce he is running again for president in 2024 — is a drag on a party that has received a majority of the national popular vote only once since 1988, and has to rely on the manipulative Electoral College to win at all.

Though Democrats managed to avert disaster, they, too, should see in the election results a need for reassessment. Democratic candidates who managed to win against the odds offer an example for 2024 and beyond. Pragmatism, moderation and — most of all — maintaining a deep connection to the people who go to the polls add up to a formula that is hard to beat, even when the political environment has stacked the deck against you.

“Connecting the Dots” is published every other Saturday in the Recorder. John Bos is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times. He is the lead editor of “Words to Live By,” a collection of 50 poems by local and national writers, each with a photograph from nature. Questions and comments are invited at


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