Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Greg Casar in Texas

Democrat Greg Casar of Texas, who won a seat in the U.S. House in Tuesday's midterm election, is pictured here after winning the Democratic primary on March 1, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

On Greater Horizons After the Latest US Election

Despite being constantly ignored by the corporate media, there is a progressive movement out here crying out—and organizing—for profound change.

Robert C. Koehler

After the election comes . . . the coverage, which always, at least in the mainstream media, seems to reduce everything to winning and losing, to strategy and tactics, rather than to the deep issues shaping the future.

The mainstream-created context of this year’s midterms amounted to: Will there be a “red tsunami”? That is, will the GOP, riding joyfully on the back of the bucking bronco of inflation, overwhelm Sleepy Joe’s Democratic Party and grab control over the House and Senate? Or will the Dems hold on, luck out, lose only minimally?

And the post-election news, of course, is the latter. The count continues as I write and not all election results, at national and state levels, are known yet, but what is known indicates that both parties more or less held their own and there definitely was no red tsunami. For the Democrats, this is the equivalent of a big victory.

The New York Times, for instance, noted:

“Across the East Coast, in Virginia’s northern suburbs and mixed areas of Rhode Island and New Hampshire, embattled Democrats managed to hang on. They even knocked off a few Republicans here and there. In many tight races, abortion and Mr. Trump’s looming presence may have been the GOP’s undoing.”

Wow. Go, Democrats! Their milk-toast centrism kind of worked, with the help of the Supreme Court, which shocked the country by overturning Roe v. Wade and taking away American women’s 49 years of abortion rights. Perhaps “Mr. Trump’s” 2020 election denial, his MAGA base’s 2021 attempted coup and the looming threat of civil war also figured into the results. A fair number of American voters didn’t want that, apparently, and more of them than usual actually took the trouble to vote in this year’s midterms.

That, at any rate, is the context — corporate normalcy, you might say — in which the mainstream media is attempting to frame the 2022 elections. The Republicans get to go off the deep end and actually stand for something radical (proto-fascism), but the Democrats are just trying to keep America normal.

Fortunately, there is a progressive movement in this country, and this movement — this stand for sanity, this embrace of the future — was indeed present in the midterms, and had a significant impact. The Democratic Party, much to its own chagrin, is actually being forced to stand for something . . . beyond compromise.

“A number of newly elected progressives from across the country are poised to join the ‘Squad’ of left-wing champions in the U.S. House following Tuesday’s midterm elections,” Julia Conley reported Wednesday for Common Dreams.

These include Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, Maxwell Frost of Florida, Delia Ramirez of Illinois, Greg Casar of Texas, and Becca Balint of Vermont. Their issues include an increased minimum wage, labor rights and the right to unionize, gun sanity — and no doubt much, much more: issues that actually impact the global future. I’m sure they include the transcendence of racism and militarism, real voting rights, and, of course, seriously facing, and dealing with, climate change and the maintenance of a habitable planet.

You think?

To put it another way, these voting events aren’t just political game playing, winning vs. losing. And the issues don’t end when the election is over. There is a movement — a cry for profound change — on the left as well as on the right, though they have nothing in common with one another. The progressive movement is nonviolent and is not about claiming power for its own sake (or to gratify the ego of its Dear Leader).

Becca Balint put it this way, speaking Tuesday night on Democracy Now!: “Whether we hold the House or lose the House, the work is the same. We still have a democracy to save.”

In contrast, as Ralph Nader pointed out, the mainstream Democrats barely ran on any issues at all. “The Democrats are enchained by political-media consultants. If they lose the House and Senate, it’ll be because they lost it, not because the Republicans won it.”

Greg Casar, talking about Texas (which of course re-elected its far-right Republican governor, Greg Abbott), said: “We’re not a red state. We’re an underorganized state, a voter-suppressed state. It’s harder to vote in Texas than anywhere else in the country.”

Nonetheless, this is changing, progress is happening. Democratic victories aren’t about “out-centering” the Republicans (we’re against immigrants too, but in a nicer way). No! It’s about standing up for our values.

“You can win or lose elections,” Casar said, “but you don’t ever lose a movement. Our work is on a much greater horizon than one election.”

What if we lived in a country that saw beyond itself, beyond its current institutions? Well, we do, but just not in an officially acknowledged way. The country and the world are changing, a.k.a., evolving, in both terrifying and hope-creating ways, whether we like it or not. These changes are well beyond the control of contemporary politics — but not beyond humanity’s involvement.

This is the “greater horizon” to which we must open ourselves.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Robert C. Koehler

Robert C. Koehler

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. Koehler has been the recipient of multiple awards for writing and journalism from organizations including the National Newspaper Association, Suburban Newspapers of America, and the Chicago Headline Club.  He’s a regular contributor to such high-profile websites as Common Dreams and the Huffington Post. Eschewing political labels, Koehler considers himself a “peace journalist. He has been an editor at Tribune Media Services and a reporter, columnist and copy desk chief at Lerner Newspapers, a chain of neighborhood and suburban newspapers in the Chicago area. Koehler launched his column in 1999. Born in Detroit and raised in suburban Dearborn, Koehler has lived in Chicago since 1976. He earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Columbia College and has taught writing at both the college and high school levels. Koehler is a widower and single parent. He explores both conditions at great depth in his writing. His book, "Courage Grows Strong at the Wound" (2016). Contact him or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Solidarity Fund Up and Running for Designer Behind Iconic Bernie Sanders Posters

Tyler Evans "has dedicated his life to the progressive movement," says the GoFundMe created for the hospitalized designer. "Now it's our time to have Tyler's back when he and his family need it most."

Jessica Corbett ·


Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of 'Game-Changing' PRESS Act

"The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs," explained one advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


New York Times Union Workers Planning Dec. 8 Walkout, Rally Over Pay

"Our collective action is working: Management backed off its attempt to kill our pension and agreed to expand fertility benefits," the union said of ongoing talks. "But management still barely budged on some of our most important priorities."

Jessica Corbett ·


Dems Back Blue Dog Spanberger for Swing District Post Over Progressive Cartwright

The corporate Democrat's path to victory was "pretty simple," said one progressive. "Matt Cartwright supports Medicare for All and Spanberger is a former CIA agent who spends all her time punching left."

Julia Conley ·


100+ Groups Urge Congress to Back Sanders' Yemen War Powers Resolution

"After seven years of direct and indirect involvement in the Yemen war, the United States must cease supplying weapons, spare parts, maintenance services, and logistical support to Saudi Arabia."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo