November 26, 2022

Subject: What Happened in the Midterms? Part 1 – Losing Our Moral Compass

Acts 17:21 “They spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.”

Ed Croteau

“What, if anything, did the midterms tell us about the country?” This is how Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, begins his November 12th column. The surprise outcome of the 2022 midterm elections has left the Republican party dumbfounded. How could they be so wrong?

After the first 2 years of the 2010 Obama Presidency, Democrats lost 63 Congressional seats. In 1994, Clinton lost 52 seats. Gerald Ford lost 48 seats in the 1974 midterms, while Lyndon Johnson lost 47 seats in the 1966 midterms. The largest loss was in the 1938 midterms, where FDR lost 81 seats. In the 2022 midterms, after the first two years of Biden, the Democrats lost only a handful of Congressional seats.

After his first 2 years, 57% of Americans say Biden is doing a poor job as President. That is an historic low. Yet, facing 40-year high inflation, a recessionary economy, exploding crime in our cities, border crisis, growing racial and gender confusion, why didn’t Republicans take more seats? Hanson offers 3 reasons.

Reason #1 – Mail-In Voting: “After the COVID-19 lockdowns, American elections radically changed to mail-in and early voting. The Democrats – with overwhelming media and money advantages – have mastered these arts of massive and unprecedented early, mail-in and absentee voting, while Republicans count on their voters to show up on Election Day.” Republicans blew this opportunity.

Reason #2 – Understanding the Young Voter: “Biden goaded young people to vote by canceling half a trillion dollars of student loan debt. He told young women that they would die without unlimited abortions. Republicans wrongly assumed all voters cared most about spiking inflation, unaffordable food and fuel, an open border and a disastrous foreign policy. Conservative pollsters had little inkling that the simmering left-wing base was enthused by wild talk of abortion and insurrection. The real under-polled voters were not silent, wary Trump supporters, but this time around seething upscale women and college students.”

Reason #3 – Ideology War: “Voters self-select residences on ideological grounds and the damaging effect of Democratic governance. Millions of conservatives have fled California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to Florida and Texas. Winning or losing means revving up your base, not running as much on the issues. Biden’s vicious attacks on conservatives as semi-fascists and un-American worked.”

Does Hansen’s assessment make sense? Are Americans today more moved by pathos (their ideological stance on abortion, racism, subjective truths) than they are on logos (the facts on cost of living, feeding their families, threat of foreign attack, how safe they feel taking the subway)? It seems the answer is yes.

In his 2015 Wall Street Journal piece, Bret Stephens explained the death of Europe – America needs to pay attention: “Europe is dying because it has become morally incompetent. It isn’t that Europe stands for nothing. It’s that it stands for shallow things. Europeans believe in human rights, tolerance, openness, peace, progress, the environment, pleasure. These beliefs are all very nice, but they are also secondary.

What Europeans no longer believe in are the things from which their beliefs spring: Judaism and Christianity; liberalism and the Enlightenment; martial pride and capability; capitalism and wealth. Still less do they believe in fighting or sacrificing or paying or even arguing for these things. Having ignored and undermined their own foundations, they wonder why their house is coming apart.”

As we continue to undermine our Christian values, America is becoming Europe: a pluralistic society with no moral compass. We spend our time on social media – Facebook, twitter, talk radio and cable news – spending countless hours debating ideologies and demanding our subjective opinions be “heard.”

This looks like another time in history – the culture at the dawn of Christianity’s birth. In the New Testament book of Acts, the apostle Paul described the state of affairs: “all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.” (Acts 17:21).

Paul’s answer? “These times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men to repent because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world by the Man He has ordained… by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31). Do not forget America’s heritage – the Lord and Savior of mankind, who is Jesus Christ. America is faced with a choice: follow in Europe’s footsteps or repent and return to Christ.

Ed Croteau is a lay pastor and resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the LS Tribune, on Facebook and his website