There were multiple wins across categories this election.
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
Although the extent of mental health advocates among the winners of the midterms is still not apparent to me, it does seem clearer that there were some mental health victories regardless. We could call them the “multis” because they are multi in the sense of cultures, gender, and age.
For the first time, LGBTQ+ people ran for office in all states. New Hampshire became the first state to elect a transgender male, James Roesener, to the state legislature. Maura Healy of Massachusetts became the first openly lesbian woman to be elected governor of the country.
Ethnic or racial minorities also made gains. Wes Moore was elected to be the first Black governor of Maryland in history. Markwayne Mullins, a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, was elected to the Senate of Oklahoma. One of 2 Black males will eventually win a Senate race in Georgia. Josh Shapiro was elected Pennsylvania governor, emphasizing his Jewish faith and the dangers of anti-Semitism.
Besides trans man James Roesener, women made gains in elective office and reproductive choice. The first female governors were chosen in New York, Massachusetts, and Arkansas. Constitutions were amended to include reproductive rights and abortion choice in Michigan, California, and Vermont.
Once again, James Roesener crosses categories, being only 26 years old. Gen Z Maxwell Alejandro Frost is also young at only 25, elected to Congress in an Orlando-based Florida seat. He also crosses categories in his cultural background: His biological mother is a Puerto Rican woman of Lebanese descent, and his biological father is Haitian, with an adoptive mother being Cuban.
Political extremism in terms of election deniers, whether that denial be conscious, unconscious, or cultish, seemed to lose. That loss does not eliminate the need to carefully monitor and reassure the public of the fairness and veracity of our election procedures, including currently in Arizona.
The Right Amount of Fear
Whether fear in this election was becoming too strong, or even too weak about long-term issues like the climate, is discussed in my video, “Midterm Elections: Fear Can Be a Mind Killer.” The right amount of fear may have stimulated high turnouts and unpredicted outcomes.
More results that will influence political power are still in processing as of this writing. Whether we will get more bipartisan cooperation instead of bitter conflict, time will tell. Moreover, how our governments will actually function with the changes will not be apparent for at least a few months. Perhaps there will be backlash against the minorities. Former President Trump has not announced yet whether he will run in 2024.
Nevertheless, wins by many minority candidates cannot help but model potential political advances, leading to more power and increase in self-esteem. As the most multicultural country in a global world, this development should offer some worldwide hope for both diversity and unity within the diversity.
Finally, we will get a respite from the ubiquitous political ads which, if watched extensively, almost took on micro trauma battering impacts.
Hope is not only for the present, but for the future as represented by the victories of Gen Z youth.
Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.