In the weeks since the 2022 elections, I’ve have had one main response: phew. The anti-democratic nightmares we’ve all been having didn’t come true. We generally saw sanity prevail across the country with the defeat of a significant number of election deniers, avowed white supremacists, and others who are more interested in dividing us than in advancing the common good. Also important, we saw fresh evidence of grassroots power overcoming deep-pocket special interests. And our election systems generally held up and withstood multiple attacks.
Given the challenges we face, however, we should expect more than sanity from our government and our politics. We need a democracy where people feel heard, where they see elected leaders and a government that looks like them and that have their backs, and where we make it easier to vote, get involved, and run for office — especially for people of color who continue to face substantial barriers to fair and equal participation.
So perhaps our nightmares didn’t come true this time, but democracy is still at serious risk of running off the rails. Advancing positive steps to strengthen democracy has to be the shared work of everyone who cares about the ability of government and society to tackle the urgent problems we face as a state and country. It's up to all us.
I have three suggestions to strengthen our democracy.