An article about the midterm elections for the daily German newspaper „nd“

Greg Casar is another left-wing Democrat moving into the U.S. House of Representatives—a bright spot on an otherwise mixed election night

Guns and cowboy hats were not to be seen at the election night party in Austin, the capital of the US state of Texas. Instead, here at the „Hotel Vegas,“ hundreds of leftists in colorful outfits celebrated the entry of a new progressive candidate into the House of Representatives. A cheerful mix of Spanish and English filled the air of the scenic outdoor bar. DJ Chorizo Funk was spinning. Greg Casar won his constituency handily with 72 percent of the vote, the election official announced to cheers. „Let’s do it Texas!“ the 33-year-old son of Mexican immigrants shouted into the hall. 

But Democrats couldn’t celebrate everywhere. Even if things didn’t turn out quite as badly as Republicans had hoped, they suffered painful defeats. It is not unusual in midterm presidential elections for the president’s party to be punished. Even though no decisions have yet been made about the majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, it looks as if Joe Biden has once again escaped with a black eye. Among Republicans, on the other hand, supporters of the lie of a stolen election in 2020 now have a majority in the House.

Rebekah Allen, political editor of the „Texas Tribune“, explained to „nd“ which topics voters in Texas were most concerned with: „That differed very strongly, depending upon political orientation. Republican voters were concerned about inflation and immigration on our border with Mexico. Democratic candidates campaigned in Texas and nationwide primarily on the U.S. Constitutional Court’s abortion ruling.“ Texas now bans abortions completely.

Left-wing U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has criticized the Democrats‘ strategy of limiting themselves to the abortion issue. And Mike Siegel echoes that. He ran as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 and 2020, but was narrowly defeated each time. „The question Bernie was trying to answer was, ‚How do you get poor people to vote?‘ A lot of them have to think about the cost of gas and milk first. They can barely pay their bills.“

In the Texas gubernatorial election, the Democrat’s candidate, Beto O’Rourke, failed to beat Republican incumbent Greg Abbott. Yet, non-white Texans now make up 60 percent of the state’s population. In addition, many people in this state do not live on a ranch, but in large and medium-sized cities, which politically tend to tick in the direction of the Democrats. The fact that it was still not enough for their majority is also due to the fact that the Republicans abuse their majority to make voting very difficult. 

„An hour wait is normal. Often it takes longer,“ says Rachel Castignoli on her way to her workplace at Austin City Hall, looking at the long lines outside polling places. The places to vote have been reduced. You can see the consequences. „Election Day is also a normal work day, and child care here is not good.“ Rachel has lived in Texas since 2014. She says many people in Texas don’t vote because they are not registered. It’s often not easy and sometimes impossible. For example, those who have been convicted once are not allowed to vote. Mike Siegel says, „One reason rural areas are so Republican is voter suppression. For African Americans in rural areas they made it especially hard to vote, and migrants from Mexico are terrorized by ICE (United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Rural areas could be much more progressive. But they’re also being let down by the Democratic Party.“ Rachel’s view of the future is rather bleak: „I think it’s going to get worse. It’s very likely we’ll have a Republican president in 2024.“ 

But there is also reason for hope. The left group in the U.S. Parliament led by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez emerged stronger from election night. Not only did all six previous members of the „squad“ win their constituencies again, but more will be added. One of them will be Greg Casar. He said in his victory speech at the „Hotel Vegas“ on election night, „The progressive movement is alive and well!“

This article was published here first: