Opinion | Democrats must change their party’s direction

Democrats must support progressives to keep majority in congress.


Grace Smith

President Joe Biden speaks during visit at the POET Bioprocessing ethanol plant in Menlo, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Sophia Meador, Opinions Editor

Democrats need progressives to keep the House and Senate.

With the 2022 midterm elections on the horizon, many pundits believe Democrats will lose the majority in Congress because of President Biden’s low approval rating.

Voters are tired of the status quo. The Democratic party needs to move away from moderate rhetoric and focus its energy on supporting progressive candidates ahead of the midterms.

Historically, midterm elections favor the party opposite the President.

With few exceptions, the President’s party usually loses a significant number of seats in the House of Representatives. In the 2018 midterms, President Trump and the Republican party lost 40 seats in the House. Just eight years prior, President Obama and the Democratic party lost a record 63 seats in the House.

Most of the time, the Senate will lose seats from the President’s party. However, the Senate is more unpredictable. In 2018, Republicans gained two seats. But four years prior, Democrats lost nine seats.

Things are not looking good for Democrats in the midterms. As of July 11, Biden has a 56 percent disapproval rating.

For Democrats to change their fate, they must meet the moment.

While the majority of Americans do not approve of Biden’s presidency, many are outraged by the far-right majority in the Supreme Court.

SCOTUS has outraged many Democrats and progressive independents by overruling Roe v. Wade, protecting prayer in schools, expanding gun rights, and stripping away the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to fight climate change.

These rulings align with traditional Republican values, such as states’ rights, Second Amendment protections, and less agency regulation.

Democrats need to show their stark difference from Republicans. This means not playing it safe by being moderates.

In past elections, Democrats have proven successful by electing Senators in red states, such as West Virginia, Arizona, Virginia, and Minnesota. But, moderate senators often block progressive legislation that the majority of Democrat voters support.

This includes ending the filibuster, expanding the Supreme Court, progressive gun control legislation, increasing the minimum wage, and fighting climate change. None of these objectives are far-left, but the desire of moderate Democrats to please Republicans makes these objectives a political nightmare.

Roughly three-quarters of Americans are dissatisfied with the nation’s direction. There is a clear desire for change in this country, and that will not come from the middle ground.

This is not to say moderates are invalid. In fact, I would argue the GOP needs more moderates to win back Congress in 2022. But Congress is in a gridlock between the far-right, moderates, and progressives. Democrats’ best bet for enacting progressive legislation is electing progressives.

Iowa Democrats and independent progressives can help this fight.

On November 6, Iowa will have four house elections and one senate election. It is our job to communicate with our candidates what we expect from our vote. Progressives need to voice their concerns and their demands to their candidates.

It is also important that voters give time and donations to candidates. Campaigns are expensive and not all candidates are able to fund their campaign at a grassroot level. Giving to campaigns means they can rely less on big donors and prioritize the needs of constituents.

But, the most important thing everyone must do is vote. Unlike Presidential elections, Congressional elections are determined by the popular vote. This is the time to show the direction you want our country to go in. If Democrats want our country to progress, they need to elect people who will meet the moment.

Democrats are highly expected to lose Congress. So, they might as well die trying. Now is the time to meet the moment and not play moderate handball.

Progressives are the best bet for Democrats in 2022.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.