Why the 2022 Midterm Elections are Critical

September 18, 2022

Black man voting in the 2022 midterm elections

The 2022 midterm elections are on everyone’s minds — especially in light of historically turbulent years and unprecedented courses of action, such as overturning Roe v. Wade. In fact, some say these elections might be the most consequential in our lifetimes.

The last of the primaries wrapped up just a few days ago with Delaware, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. Attention was largely focused on New Hampshire, where the far-right, retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc defeated Senate President Chuck Morse in the GOP Primary. His victory, as was the case in the House primaries, came against a more moderate, established candidate.

This goes to show the threat that MAGA-aligned Republicans pose this election cycle, particularly with 435 House of Representatives seats up for grabs and 34 out of 100 Senate seats. While forecasts have Democrats losing the House, a recent surge of voter energy and major legislative efforts meant that there is absolutely no certainty about what will happen November 8th.

Below, I examine and break down three critical issues for this year’s midterms.

Women’s Rights & Abortion Access and the 2022 Midterm Elections

A Conservative-controlled Supreme Court’s shocking action to repeal Roe v. Wade earlier this year has rightfully outraged voters across the country. According to an article from Brookings citing a Gallup poll, “the number of Americans identifying themselves as pro-choice rose to a near record high in the aftermath of the Court’s decision.”

Trigger laws went into effect, and suddenly women in more than a dozen states had severely restricted access to abortions or were unable to get abortions at all. And though this is exactly what Conservatives have been angling to achieve for years, it may end up being a boon for Democrats. Voters who have always had a federally-protected choice when it came to abortion — many for their entire lives — are angered and energized by having that choice stripped from them.

This energy, if transferred into presence at the polls, could help protect reproductive rights. In fact, a Wall Street Journal survey had more than ⅓ of respondents say they were more likely to vote because of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

If Democrats maintain their slim margin in the Senate or elect more senators, they might be able to proceed with some of the goals the Biden administration has laid out for the second half of his term. Those goals include codifying reproductive and abortion rights.

Climate Change and the 2022 Midterm Elections

This summer, President Biden signed the monumental Inflation Reduction Act. This legislation included efforts to change the way medications are priced and level the playing field when it came to taxes.

It also, critically, put forward a historic commitment to combating climate change to the tune of $370 billion. The hopes are that this will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance sustainable technologies.

Similar to abortion rights, significant Democratic control in the Senate could result in more expansive measures related to everything from universal Pre-K to the climate. While initial polls of climate-conscious voters had as many as 33% planning to sit out the midterm elections due to reasons like frustration, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act may motivate more people to action.

Social Justice and the 2022 Midterm Elections

The reality is that both abortion rights and the climate crisis impact marginalized communities and people of color more than other populations, so those issues, along with others including police reform, universal healthcare, and voting rights, also factor into larger social justice efforts.

When it comes to environmental efforts, the NAACP puts it best: “Environmental and climate justice is a civil rights issue. We all depend on the physical environment and its bounty.” They go on to say that, “race — even more than class — is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in this country hit by climate change.” The current water situation in Jackson, MS is a heartbreaking example of how Black communities suffer in environmental crises.

The matter of abortion also disproportionately impacts Black women, with them accounting for almost 40% of the abortions that took place in the country from the time of Roe v. Wade.

The NAACP provides more troubling statistics that illustrate the importance of voting along the lines of social justice and social reform this election cycle:

  • “Black people are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.”
  • “65 percent of Black adults have felt targeted because of their race. Similarly, approximately 35 percent of Latino and Asian adults have felt targeted because of race.”
  • “34% of COVID-19 deaths were among non-Hispanic Black people, though they make up only 12% of the total U.S. population.”

And with all of these urgent issues, voting rights are at stake. After the baseless claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” and allegations of voter fraud, states like Georgia and Florida are trying to make it more difficult for marginalized communities to vote. These laws, especially combined with actions like gerrymandering, are manipulative and fundamentally wrong. Voting is an essential right for every American citizen, especially in a year like this when there is so much on the line.

So come November 8th, get out to the polls and vote like your rights depend on it. Because they do.

About the Author

AREVA MARTIN is one of the nation’s leading voices for Autism advocacy. An award-winning attorney, advocate, legal and social issues commentator, talk show host, and producer, she is a CNN/HLN legal analyst, former co-host of The Doctors and Face the Truth, and a regular contributor on Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, and Dr. Phil. She currently hosts The Special Report with Areva Martin and is the Host and producer of a weekend radio talk show, Areva Martin Out Loud, on KBLA AM  1580. A Harvard Law School graduate, Martin founded Martin & Martin, LLP, a Los Angeles–based civil rights firm, and is the CEO of Butterflly Health, Inc., a mental health technology company.

Originally Published in Ebony


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