DSA Columbia’s Statement on 2022 Midterms

DSA Columbia’s Statement on 2022 Midterms

Statement on 2022 Midterm Elections

For months preceding the 2022 midterm elections conservative pundits predicted a red wave. With inflation at the highest rates in decades and many voters across the political spectrum frustrated with the inactivity of the federal government, on top of the historical precedent of the president's political party losing seats in the midterms, it was hard not to believe the Republican party would take control of Congress on November 8th. However against the odds the Democratic party retained control of the Senate and only narrowly lost the House. The red wave turned out to be more of a red trickle. 

Unfortunately though, this was not the case everywhere. Here in South Carolina the red wave was very real. The SC GOP gained 6 seats in the state house, and Republican controlled districts either retained control or further bolstered their leads. Some of these gains are due to extreme partisan gerrymandering, which has rendered many seats here unwinnable for the Democratic party. However SC Democrats underperformed in statewide and local elections across the board. Democratic candidate for governor, Joe Cunningham, lost by almost 18 points. No amount of pandering to the right with talk of nixing the state income tax, or the abandonment of the SC Democratic Party platform could help Cunningham's chances. Democratic candidate for house district 2, Judd Larkins, lost with just 39% of the vote, proving himself another candidate who sidestepped key aspects of the SC Democratic party platform, refusing to commit to a $15 minimum wage, and pandering to the right with his heavy emphasis on growing business. 

The right-wing attack on public education is more evident than ever here in South Carolina. Ultra conservative groups such as “Moms for Liberty” targeted local school board races and are already wreaking havoc. Lisa Ellis, Democratic candidate for State Superintendent received 42% of the vote against far right Republican Ellen Weaver—slightly overperforming other Democrats in the state—though unfortunately not enough to win. Just days after the election, in the Berkeley County School District (fourth largest district in the state), newly elected “Moms for Liberty” board members immediately acted by firing the district’s first black superintendent, firing the district’s legal counsel, voting to cut property taxes, and approving a ban on “critical race theory” in the classroom. Closer to the Midlands, the South Carolina House Freedom Caucus has filed a lawsuit against Lexington School District One claiming the district has violated state law which bans CRT from being taught in schools.

The Columbia, SC Local Chapter of DSA stands in solidarity with all educators and staff of public schools in the state, and condemns the attack on public education led by extremist Republicans. We must stand together and fight for better conditions for all students, faculty, and staff. As socialists we know that we must push for an agenda to materially improve people's lives, not pander to the right. We must build political independence in order to push for a socialist future. Instead of vying for disappearing moderate votes, we need to build working class consciousness by running candidates dedicated to class struggle, racial & environmental justice, and socialism.