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The 2022 midterm elections are upon us, and more than determining which party controls Congress, it will impact policy in the immediate future. While state and local elections play an important role in our daily lives, Congress can provide meaningful resources and legislative frameworks to protect people’s rights and well-being.
This election could mean the difference between Congress finally passing meaningful voting rights reform, economic policies that benefit working people and families, decriminalizing marijuana, protecting abortion and reproductive health and action on gun violence. While the House of Representatives has consistently passed
The coming midterm election, which takes place on Nov. 8, could determine whether Democrats hold and expand their slim majority in the Senate. According to Ballotpedia, 34 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for regular election. That’s roughly one-third of the seats that are up for election.
Heading into the 2022 general election, Democrats and Republicans split the chamber 50-50 and Harris, the vice president, has the tie-breaking vote. Democrats control the Senate via a power-sharing agreement. Republicans would take control of the chamber if they picked up one Senate seat, and Democrats would strengthen their majority if they picked up one or more seats.
Fourteen seats held by Democrats and 21 seats held by Republicans are up for election in 2022. Republicans are defending two Senate seats in states Joe Biden (D) won in the 2020 presidential election: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Democrats are not defending any Senate seats in states Donald Trump (R) won in 2020.
So, why is all of this important? Well, let’s talk about that.
The Senate’s role in moving legislation forward.
As stated above, the Senate directly impacts voters because U.S. senators have much control over what legislation gets proposed and passed. The Senate votes on bills, resolutions, amendments, motions, nominations and treaties.
In the past few years, several bills have died in the 50-50 Senate. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a first step toward policing reform, failed to advance past Senate negotiations. The historic MORE Act, making major steps toward marijuana decriminalization, has yet to be called up for a vote. Statehood for Washington, D.C., is another bill passed by the House of Representatives but just sitting waiting for the Senate to take action. D.C. statehood is important given the high population of Black people who do not have fair representation in Congress and the laws that govern their lives.
This means your vote could determine the ideological makeup of a mighty portion of the legislative branch of the U.S. government. So, do you want legislators that will protect your civil rights and economic needs, or Nah? Your vote should answer that question.
Democrats currently control the Senate, but, as Five Thirty-Eight highlighted, “many within the party believe 52 Democratic senators are necessary for a true governing majority,” due to Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema disappointing the party, democratic voters and civil rights activists by refusing to vote to advance key voting rights legislation and change the filibuster.
Civil rights leaders have long called out the racist nature of the filibuster as used to stall meaningful votes on economic policies to support working families like the Build Back Better Act, protecting women’s reproductive rights and fighting voter suppression. Changing the filibuster rule requires a simple Senate majority.
From Five Thirty-Eight:
However, suppose the party wins 52 seats this November, and at least 50 senators vote to suspend the filibuster in the following Congress.
As a result, that’s where Democrats are setting the bar this election cycle: Even President Biden has publicly asked voters to “give me two more Democratic senators.”
Black people are on the ballot.
So, let’s talk about the way Black voters once again play a key role in major elections.
First of all, the term “representation matters” should apply to who represents Black people and people of color in government. It’s always worth mentioning that there have only been 11 Black U.S Senators in the history of the U.S. Senate, and the Senate currently has no Black women.
That’s why it’s important to note that, especially in the South, several key Senate races might be decided based on the support of Black voters for Black candidates. As the Washington Post noted, Cheri Beasley is in a fight to the finish to represent North Carolina as the state’s first Black U.S. Senator. If elected, she would be the 12th Black person to ever serve in the Senate and the third woman.
In Kentucky, former state Rep. Charles Booker built out his hood to the holler platform to take on Sen. Rand Paul. After his 2020 bid for the Senate, Booker spent time mobilizing communities across building on the common experiences of voters in Kentucky’s hoods and hollers and everywhere in between.
Voters in Georgia and South Carolina will cast ballots in historic match-ups featuring Black candidates representing the two major parties. Sen. Raphael Warnock is locked in a tight race with former football star Herschel Walker.
And in South Carolina, Sen. Tim Scott faces challenger state Rep. Krystle Matthews, who is vying to join Beasley in expanding Black women’s representation in the body. The absence of Black women in the U.S. Senate can be felt in moments like the failed vote to protect reproductive health.
Of course, just as “representation matters” needs to be applied to the midterm election, so does the expression, “all skin-folk ain’t kinfolk.” And that’s not about party lines as much as ideological lines and which senator or potential senator will represent your interests.
It’s an important election, good people. Show up and vote responsibly.
Written by NewsOne’s editorial team.
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