The dust still hasn’t settled on this year’s midterm elections. But a week out, a few things seem clear: Republicans look poised to eke out a narrow House majority, but the “red wave” many predicted never materialized. What’s more, a number of progressive initiatives won big, even in conservative states.

This week, our contributors try to make sense of it all.

Sarah Anderson offers an excellent explainer on the ballot initiatives that won big, from Medicaid expansion in South Dakota to a $15 minimum wage in Nebraska. Local politicians didn’t like these ideas, Sarah explains, which is why protecting citizen ballot initiatives is so important.

Shailly Gupta Barnes looks at those initiatives and points to their common thread: They’re a big deal for people living in poverty. While low-income voters may be divided by partisan preference, they’re often on the same page when it comes to the big issues — which could make them a game-changing force in our politics, Shailly argues.

Meanwhile, Ennedith Lopez takes a closer look at the abortion rights measures that triumphed in red, blue, and purple states alike. Young voters made that possible, Ennedith explained — which also had a major impact on elections for Congress, governor’s offices, and statehouses.

Finally, Mitchell Zimmerman argues that while Donald Trump’s handpicked candidates blew some big races in these midterms, the party is hardly ready to move on from Trumpism — with or without Trump himself.

New This Week…

How Low-Income Voters Shaped The Midterm Elections | Shailly Gupta Barnes
Americans across the spectrum voted to raise wages, expand health care, and protect abortion rights. These issues have a common thread.

Young Voters Delivered Big Wins for Abortion Rights | Ennedith Lopez
Lawmakers should take note: Young people will resist radical efforts to violate our reproductive freedoms and our futures.

The GOP Won’t Dump Trumpism Anytime Soon | Mitchell Zimmerman
rump-backed Republicans lost some big races this year, but the leopard won’t change its spots.

This Year, Voters Made an End Run Around Out of Touch Politicians | Sarah Anderson
Citizen-led initiatives scored big wins in the midterms. But now this form of direct democracy is under attack.

The Inflation Rodeo | Khalil Bendib
Seems like the GOP is cheering on the bull?

In Case You Missed It…

The Party of Violence | Mitchell Zimmerman
The GOP’s gun-flaunting ads, apocalyptic messaging, and demonization of opponents are steering its followers toward bloodshed.

Biden’s Marijuana Pardons Are a Seismic Shift | Paul Armentano
The immediate impacts are modest, but the order marks a top-level recognition that 100 years of cannabis prohibition were a mistake.

Revive the Child Tax Credit. Our Children Deserve Nothing Less. | Maureen Bowling
Those monthly payments made the American Dream possible for millions of families, including mine.

Back to School Blues Linger Without the Child Tax Credit | Eileen Sepulveda
Months on, many parents are still reeling from back to school expenses — especially since the Child Tax Credit expired.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the communications director of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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