To Change the World, This Year’s Feminist Wins and Losses Must Fuel Us Forward

If 2022 proved anything, it’s that we must continue to organize and channel the collective rage that was triggered by the Court’s reversal of Roe, to not only restore abortion rights across the nation but to push forward toward our goal of full equality. There is no way the movement can be stopped.

It’s important to celebrate our wins and take stock of our losses at a time like this—because they are what will fuel us as we move forward into the new year and meet the new challenges it will bring.

The War on Women Report: Republicans Blame Unmarried Women for Midterm Results; 80% of Pregnancy-Related Deaths Can Be Prevented

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.

This month: Brittney Griner is released from a racist and homophobic penal colony; abortion access is still in shambles despite midterm victories; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to step down; three high-profile mass shootings in a matter of weeks; and more.

Federal Funding Is Necessary to Sustain Election Workers

Ahead of the midterms, many were concerned that election workers and voters would face intimidation or threats at polling places. By and large, though, the push to recruit an “army” of poll watchers and observers didn’t amount to much.

How was it that this election, conducted in the midst of grave threats to our democracy, went so smoothly? In short, because many of the people who needed to step up did so.

Now, longer-term, consistent and adequate funding from the federal government is necessary to ensure election workers have the support they need to continually improve at their jobs without worrying for their own safety and that of their families.

‘Voters Showed Up for Democracy’ Despite Record-Breaking Suppression: The Ms. Q&A With Maya Wiley

U.S. voters have faced significant changes in the voting rights landscape over the years—but when it comes to restrictions, the last two years take the cake. Since the beginning of 2021, lawmakers have passed at least 42 restrictive voting laws in 21 states, making last year the worst on record for voting access. Many of the same trends continued into 2022, affecting both midterm turnout and race outcomes, and putting U.S. democracy through the ultimate stress test.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has been fighting laws like these for over seven decades. Today, it’s led by Maya Wiley. In a conversation with Ms., Wiley gave her frank take on the 2022 midterms and the upcoming Georgia Senate race; discussed the role of voter suppression in key races this year; and shared her vision for the future of U.S. civil rights.

Publicly Arresting Formerly Incarcerated Voters Is Voter Intimidation—Not ‘Election Integrity’

Under the direction of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in August arrested 20 people with felony records for breaking Florida’s elections laws during the 2020 election—even after several officials had explicitly told them that they could legally cast ballots. Some fear these public arrests will have a chilling effect on voter turnout in future elections. Already, the 2022 midterms were the first election in Florida’s history in which registered Republicans outpaced Democrats at the voting booth.

“It’s jarring to think about a grandfather getting pulled from his house by SWAT team for voting in our state,” said Neil Volz, deputy director of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.

Abortion Was Front of Mind for Midterm Voters

Across the board, Democratic candidates and progressive ballot measures far outperformed expectations set by the pundits, who had all but declared that abortion no longer was the driving factor in voters’ decisions.

“It was abortion that made a huge difference in race after race,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. “In well over half the races, it was the issue of abortion that increased turnout of Democrats and younger voters.”