The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Democracy defenders have many reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving

Supporters of Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman react at a watch party in Pittsburgh on Nov. 8. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

It could have been so much worse. If you feel a spring in your step and a sense of relief, you are not alone. For those determined to protect democracy, the rule of law and a decent, kind America, there is so much to be grateful for as we head into the holiday season:

  • I’m grateful not to wake up every morning with a sense of impending doom that a cast of election deniers will control key roles in administrating elections in 2024.
  • I’m grateful many in the media helped identify election deniers for Americans and educated them about the danger of granting them power to discard the will of voters.
  • I’m grateful to voters, who for the third consecutive election, showed there is a majority — even if a frightfully narrow one — that rejects authoritarianism, crude appeals to racism and xenophobia, and downright nutty and mean candidates.
  • I’m grateful younger voters are developing a habit of voting in midterms.
  • I’m grateful to the thousands of election officials, workers and volunteers who pulled off another exceptionally efficient and peaceful exercise in democracy.
  • I’m grateful to the lawyers who litigated in defense of voting access and impartial election administration.
  • I’m grateful voters did not ignore their concerns for democracy and women’s rights just because inflation is high.
  • I’m grateful that nearly all broadcast networks refused to break from regular programming to cover Donald Trump’s presidential campaign announcement.
  • I’m grateful voters are becoming accustomed to early voting and voting by mail.
  • I’m grateful President Biden disregarded cynical pundits and reporters to focus on the threat from MAGA extremism.
  • I’m grateful millions of Americans, especially women, have reacted with one voice in opposition to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision and cruel abortion bans.
  • I’m grateful former British prime minister Liz Truss’s disastrous supply-side agenda flopped, serving as a reminder that massive tax cuts for the rich are not the key to widespread prosperity and economic stability.
  • I’m grateful Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) campaigned against some of the worst election deniers (e.g., Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake) and in support of some moderate Democratic stars (e.g., Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger).
  • I’m grateful covid-19 is far less of a threat to people’s lives and that it is no longer a barrier to gathering with friends and family for Thanksgiving.
  • I’m grateful our sober commander in chief has not escalated tensions with Russia, vastly reducing the chances of a hot war between Russia and NATO.
  • I’m grateful for heroic Ukrainians who remind us of the price of freedom and the need to resist authoritarianism.
  • I’m grateful juries continue to convict and judges continue to sentence participants in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
  • I’m grateful the Justice Department is seriously pursuing investigations into Trump’s retention of highly classified documents and his participation in the coup attempt.
  • I’m grateful federal, district and circuit courts have generally upheld the rule of law, preventing election subversion and rejecting the former president’s ludicrous claims of executive privilege and immunity from Jan. 6-related lawsuits.
  • I’m grateful a phalanx of lawyers, former prosecutors and legal scholars have helped provide the public with lively and profoundly helpful education in constitutional law.
  • I’m grateful to all the candidates who challenged election deniers and MAGA extremists in primaries and general election races, whether they won or lost.
  • I’m grateful for the House Jan. 6 select committee and the witnesses who stepped forward to expose the coup plotters, educating voters about the threat from Trump and his followers.
  • I’m grateful the former Republicans behind the Lincoln Project and the Republican Accountability Project continue to show Democrats how to fight effectively against the MAGA right wing.
  • I’m grateful a crop of rising Democratic stars won their races, ranging from Reps.-elect Emilia Sykes (D-Ohio) and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wa.) to Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania.
  • I’m grateful Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is on the Supreme Court and that she has held tutorials on honest originalism and run circles around the arrogant right-wing justices who don’t bother to conceal their partisan hackery.
  • I’m grateful to the men and women in the armed services and national security agencies, without whom our democracy would not survive.
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