The show was recorded the day after the elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and other places. Of course progressives are in a panic, but as I explain in the show I really don’t think the election results indicate a dire situation for next year’s midterm elections for Democrats. They may very well lose Congress, but they don’t have to. The Virginia results aren’t fate. But I’m worried that they will take the wrong lessons.

Once again progressives are allowing the right wing to run over them with a bizarre narrative around a non-issue and that’s “critical race theory.” Most people, even most people who think they advocate it, don’t even know what it is. It’s not taught in K-12 schools. It’s a framework of legal and, more recently, historical inquiry. A method of critical examination of the impact of racism on the objectivity of the legal system and, more recently, on history. It’s really not a big deal and it’s really an advanced concept.

If you’re concerned about shame-inducing modes of learning being imposed on students, well, that’s not CRT. And it’s actually not really happening much at the K-12 level, except maybe in some cities and college towns. It’s an issue on college campuses, and we’re definitely going to have to have those “difficult discussions” that the advocates often talk about.

But CRT itself as a political issue is a right wing straw man and it worked in Virginia, but failed in most other places and school board incumbents in Wisconsin, Ohio, Connecticut and other states fended off challenges from the angry crowd, sometimes decisively. Not everywhere unfortunately, but really, if you stay calm and explain that CRT is not taught in the schools and you don’t say stupid things that suggest you don’t believe that parents should have a say in their children’s education, you should do just fine.

The lesson I take from Virginia is that Democrats need to stop running boring centrist technocrats, and they need to talk vision and not Trump. But they can’t talk vision when their counterparts in Congress are blocking any vision that they can run on. The sad thing is that it’s the moderates in Congress who are vulnerable next year, and they need something to run on. Paid sick leave is popular. Letting the free market lower drug prices is popular. Tax incentives for clean energy is popular. The child tax credit is popular. But they are fighting tooth and nail to block the very programs that could get them reelected, because they are obsessed with getting the corporate donations to pay for the advertisements. But if you don’t have anything memorable to advertise, what good is the money?

If the Democrats are smart, they can turn the narrative around. The economy is probably going to turn around because between Biden’s mandates and the children’s vaccine the pandemic is probably going to be in check by spring, at least nationally (and hopefully will be on the way to be addressed globally by then). It turns out the mandates work. Despite all the whining, all but 34 of the NYPD got the shot. The airline workers. It turns out that few really do want to lose their job over it. So at last count about 70 percent of adults were fully vaccinated and 80 percent had at least one shot. It appears that appointments for the kids’ shots are booked full into December. DeSantis and some idiots are filing lawsuits against the business mandates, but many businesses aren’t waiting around for injunctions or other court rulings. They’re telling their employees to get the shots. It doesn’t matter if Biden ultimately loses on legal grounds – his orders have already made the difference. Between the resulting vaccinations and the less reliable natural immunity of those who have had it, we could be at normal, or at least “new normal” by spring.

And with the kids returning to school, more women will return to the workforce. And thanks to Striketober and the so-called “great resignation” and “labor shortage,” many workers have a better deal, which is good for the economy.

We had a good jobs report today. The log jams at the ports are opening up so the new problem is limited warehouse capacity, but that’s the right problem to have, and personally I think if there isn’t as much cheap plastic crap to buy for Christmas it might open up economies for other things more local. That might not be such a bad thing.

And once the supply chain issues ease up (I look forward to not hearing the term “supply chain”) inflation should check itself and the Democrats will have an economy to run on. Biden’s ratings will improve anyway. Democrats can still lose, but it’s up to them. Personally I think they will pick up seats in California thanks to the mail vote turnout.

So, if Democrats do hold onto Congress, and maybe even increase their leads, what will they do with it?

Dave and I also discuss redistricting and gerrymandering as more states submit their new maps – pending legal challenges.