ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL
Protestors gathered at the San Jose City Hall on June 25 to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which eliminated the constitutional right to have an abortion. Photo | Anna Jerolimov
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, election offices across the U.S. will open for registered voters to cast their votes in the 2022 midterms. Millions of Americans have already voted through mail-in ballots or early voting. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 out of 100 seats in the Senate are on the ballot, alongside 36 state governor positions and local races such as the biennial elections held in Cupertino to elect City Council members.
The party that wins the majority of seats in Congress will gain influence over federal policies and legislation for the next two years, and elections for state governments could influence issues like abortion rights that are currently controlled by individual states. As Republicans and Democrats clash over a variety of stances and policies, from immigration to LGBTQ+ rights, scroll to read about some of the hottest topics on the national level for the 2022 midterms.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 26 states across the country have enacted or have plans to enact significant restrictions to abortion access. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 56% of registered voters believe abortion is an important factor in deciding who to vote for during midterms, an increase from the 43% in March.
President Biden has expressed his intention to codify the right to safe access to abortion, but can only do so with a Democrat majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“Your right to choose rests with you,” Biden said in an address to the Democratic National Convention at Howard Theatre. “If you do your part and vote, Democratic leaders of Congress, I promise you, we’ll do our part. I’ll do my part. And with your support, I’ll sign a law codifying Roe in January.”
In April 2022, the foreign born population in the U.S. hit a record of 47 million, according to the Census Bureau’s monthly Current Population Survey.
This represents the largest number of immigrants ever recorded in a U.S. Government survey — increasing by approximately 2 million since January 2021.
This trend has sparked controversy among Republicans and Democrats, leading some Republicans to pressure the Biden administration to implement stricter restrictions. In early October, Biden made headlines by deciding to turn away Venezuelan migrants at the Southern border.
Several polls have found that voters are likely to lean towards voting Republican on immigration issues, such as undocumented immigration and the increasing immigrant population. However, the value of immigration remains to be determined in midterm elections.
As of September of 20212, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 8.2% increase from the beginning of the year in the average price of purchasable items in the United States. Inflation rates rose to 9.1% in June 2022, and have been slowly decreasing since.
Several factors contributed to such high inflation. Due to the pandemic, constraints on businesses and factories lead the demand for goods to outpace the amount of possible supply, resulting in an increase in prices for everyday products. Russia’s war on Ukraine also largely affected the increase in gas and oil prices.
“Americans are squeezed by the cost of living,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House on Oct. 13. “[The] report shows some progress in the fight against higher prices, even as we have more work to do. Fighting inflation that is affecting working families here at home is my top priority.”
Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has been on the rise this past year, with proposals from 23 states and enactments by 13 states, one being Florida’s “Don't Say Gay” bill, which prevents the topics of sexual orientation and gender identity from being discussed in schools from grades K-3. In addition, the U.S. Senate originally planned to vote on the Respect for Marriage act during midterms to approve same-sex and interracial marriages, but several Democratic senators have pushed back the date till after elections in order to garner more Republican support.
However, amid these drawbacks, the LGBTQ+ community is hopeful for change. The Senate will vote on the Equality Act, a bill the House passed on Feb. 25, 2021 that will enforce specific nondiscriminatory measures in subjects like public accommodation and federal funding to protect the LGBTQ+ community. Furthermore, there are more than 600 LGBTQ+ candidates running in the elections, including LGBTQ+ candidate Maura Healy, who is running to be the first U.S. lesbian governor of Massachusetts.
“[Being] someone who represents and also gives others the belief that they can be anything they want to be is something I take seriously,” Healy said in [a statement made to NBC News]. “I think that’s what other LGBTQ+ leaders do as well — recognizing that we’re not just in a vacuum.”
A mob of Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol building in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, following Trump’s accusations that his defeat in the 2020 presidential elections was fraudulent. In one speech, Trump encouraged his audience to “fight like hell,” resulting in 2000 rioters, some of them from far-right and white nationalist organizations, breaking into the Capitol with weapons to vandalize and loot the building.
According to the New York Times, over 370 Republican candidates running in the midterm elections and 61% of American Republicans have questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results. Their false claims of election fraud reflect a growing consensus among American Republicans who feel that elections are no longer truly democratic.