Independence Day 2022 – First the Fireworks, Then the Flames

By Eddie Wong. Posted July 5, 2022

The fourth of July is hailed as our nation’s birthday, but most people celebrate it as the “official” start of summer, a season cherished for its long days, warm weather, and promises of endless fun. But this fourth of July carries a weight that wears on the mind and heart.  Let’s do a quick inventory of our nation’s maladies:  everything costs more with inflation hitting 8.6%, the highest rate in 30 years; wild fires, drought, torrential rains and flooding are an ever-present year-round reality; Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine with Russian bombs and rockets raining down on Ukrainian civilians is ever-present in our 24/7 news cycle; the flow of wheat and grain stopped by the Russian blockade in the Black Sea will lead to an international food shortages; mass shootings seem to occur every week in America with two on the 4th of July, one near Chicago and the other in Philadelphia; and the divisions among the people are roiled by recent Supreme Court decisions on abortion rights, the right to carry concealed guns, and regulatory powers of the Environmental Protection Agency – decisions which favor the extreme right and conservative forces. And we are now in the third year of the Covid-19 with periodic surges casting uncertainty about travel and public gatherings. Welcome of the bummer summer of 2022.

Photo from Fort Worth Magazine.

There is anger and anxiety among folks on the liberal/Left spectrum and there is jubilation and confidence among conservatives and the extreme right.  For the extreme right, Supreme Court decisions in their favor are like blood in the water. They’re moving in for the kill as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas opened the door for further challenges to gay marriage and contraception enumerating past rulings as inconsistent with the new standard set by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, i.e., if it ain’t written in the Constitution, it won’t be protected by this Supreme Court, the 14th amendment be damned.

The rightwing forces certainly feel confident as we approach Nov. 8, 2022. According to Politico, Democrats are slated to lose their slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives although they have a better chance of holding onto their razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate. (See also Why Republicans are favored to win the House, but not the Senate by Nate Silver/538).  According to the Cook Report, there are 10 competitive U.S. Senate races and the Democrats need to win five of them to retain their slim Senate majority.  It will be a down-to-the-wire slugfest as polls shift from month to month in close battles in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania,North Carolina, and Wisconsin. (For more details read, Seven States Decide Senate Control  by Politico). Discontent over high prices for gasoline and goods combined with frustration over the roller coaster ride of Covid surges and mask mandates has led to President Biden’s low approval rating of 38% further dampening Democratic chances in these tight races.

We all know that a Republican sweep on Nov. 8, 2022 will embolden the extreme right, which is now synonymous with the Republican Party aka MAGA cult. The extreme right has set its sights on winning the White House in 2024 and securing majorities in the House and Senate in 2022 will prime the pump for money and volunteers.  If you thought Trump presidency was bad, look out, Mama, because Republican victories in 2024 and a possible DeSantis or Trump presidency will lead to the further dismantling of civil and human rights and reinforcement of corporate power with new appointments of federal judges and regulatory rollbacks. Whether or not, progressive forces can overcome the historic headwinds and President Biden’s low approval ratings is an open question.  We will certainly lose if we don’t organize to win the mid-term elections. And even if we lose, we must fight to place ourselves in a stronger position for 2024 and beyond.

Political pundits have pondered the possible surge of women voters, the majority of whom support abortion rights, blunting Republican efforts.  A Morning Consult/Politico poll taken June 24 – 25 indicates that 60% of those polled, including 59% of independent voters, say it is “very important” or “somewhat important” to a candidate in the midterm elections to support abortion access.  The overturning of Roe v. Wade is also sparking Democrats’ desire to vote: 56% of Democratic voters are “extremely enthusiastic” to “very enthusiastic” about voting in the midterm election, up from 48% in the Morning Consult/Politico poll of June 17-20. In the next few months, we will see if Democrats are able to translate the majority sentiment for abortion rights into a referendum on Republicans who celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision. We will also see if voters’ concerns about inflation supersede their concern for women’s rights.

Photo by Victoria Brenica from Rock the Vote Facebook page.

Republican voters are slightly more enthusiastic about voting in November with 58% of those polled planning to vote. Fox News, which is the top-rated cable news network with 3 million viewers tuning in nightly for Tucker Carlson, is the mouthpiece for the Republican Party spewing out in steady rotation incitement of fears over immigrant invasions, gay, lesbian, and transgender “groomers”, critical race theory aka any honest discussion of racism in American history, anti-vaccination propaganda, and more. Fox News and rightwing talk radio and social media are formidable weapon in how the extreme right is able to shape the national conversation on many issues.

Fighting Back Against the Extreme Right

How do we amass the forces needed to beat back the right, which has rich billionaires bankrolling a plethora of community organizations, religious groups, rightwing think tanks and leadership development groups?  The liberal/Left forces are actually the majority of the electorate and were able to win 81 million voters for Biden’s 2020 victory. Yet, substantial differences among us hinder our ability to form a united front.  Building a united front requires leadership and a willingness among all parties to subsume their individual agendas for a common cause, i.e., beating the Republicans and the right at the polls. I don’t see where that leadership will emerge from among the many siloed causes on the liberal/Left spectrum.  Forging such unity requires patience and relationship building among the key activists of the groups on the liberal/Left and there hasn’t been much time or effort invested to this crucial task. There is no single entity devoting itself to organizing a liberal/Left united front.

But even without formal unity, a lot can be accomplished. In fact, Biden’s narrow victories in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona in 2020 only happened because many groups besides the Democratic Party did the grunt work of registering new voters, educating them about the voting process, and maximizing voter turnout via mail ballots and in-person voting. We need to strengthen those efforts if we want to win in fall 2022.

Photo from Massachusetts Peace Action from Nov. 4, 2020 Count Every Vote Rally.

Hopes for an increased youth vote are sparked by the outrage against school shootings and their passion for curbing climate change. But it takes more than just the Sunrise Movement  to mobilize these voters. Who will fund and lead young voters’ mobilization efforts?

Youth voters and youth voters of color were a key factor in Biden’s victory in several battleground states. CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) at Tufts University released these findings in November 2020:

In Michigan, 62% of youth supported Biden, compared to 35% for Trump. That’s given Biden an edge of an estimated 194,000 youth votes, higher than the approximately 148,000-vote margin of victory in the state.

In Georgia, where Biden and Trump are neck-and-neck and the race may go to a recount, Joe Biden received an estimated 188,000 more votes from youth than Trump did.

In Arizona, which several news outlets have called for Biden (who has a 20,000-vote lead with 97% of votes counted), the now President-elect had a net gain of more than 126,000 estimated votes from young people, who preferred Biden by 24 points.

In Pennsylvania, Biden leads by just under 35,000 votes as of Saturday morning, when the state—and the presidential race—were called in his favor. Biden got an estimated 154,000 more youth votes than Trump did in the state.

The youth turnout for Biden was boosted immensely by overwhelming support from youth of color: Black youth (87%), Asian youth (83%), Latino youth (73%) and White youth (51%).

Photo by 📸: lwvsf on IG from Rock the Vote Facebook page.

Many of the state-based progressive voter mobilization efforts have year-round operations and engage in community issues that will reinforce ties with voters and potential voters in between election cycles. Several of the ethnic-based organizations such as API PA  and Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA)  participate in campaigns around Covid-19 relief, immigrant rights and educational rights.  Many of the progressive state-based voter mobilization groups such as the New Georgia Project  and engage in year-round voter registration and voter education work, and they have C4 organizational components which allow them to endorse candidates. The Democratic Party at the local level does not offer robust year-round voter engagement programs.  Supporting the state-based voter mobilization efforts is your best investment of time and money for fall 2022. The Movement Voter Project  provides a one-stop shop for donating to valuable people power organizations in the battleground states.

Volunteering to write postcards and letters has proven to be a valuable, non-intrusive way to engage Democratic voters in battleground states to remind them to update their voter registration and to vote by mail. Several organizations such as the Working Families Party , Vote Forward , Swing Left , and Progressive Turnout Project offer extensive opportunities to participate in voter turnout from your home.  Folks who want to travel to a battleground states can check in with Seed the Vote  and other groups.

Exciting the Base with a Progressive Message

Although Biden had 7 million more votes than Trump nationally, Biden prevailed in the Electoral college with narrow victories in several states. Biden won Georgia with 12,670 votes, in AZ it was 10, 457 votes, in Nevada 33,596 votes, and in Wisconsin 20,682 votes.  And this was in an election that saw unprecedented turnout by both Democrats and Republicans.  Mid-term elections usually see a drop off in the number of voters with Republicans enjoying a 3% turnout advantage over Democrats. So, the race is on by both the Democrats and Republicans to increase their chances for victory by swelling their ranks.  But the dominant trend among new voters is to register as “Decline to State” or independent, making voter persuasion an important task.

How does one reach these new voters? Here, the divide between the Democrats and Republicans becomes more stark.  With the Republicans one gets an unabashed affirmation of the politics of white resentment constructing a narrative of hostile liberal forces and undeserving people of color “taking away” their “rightful” place on top.  It’s also an anti-woman platform as well given the GOP’s support for overturning Roe v. Wade. But it’s a compelling narrative for many angry, anxious people swimming in a sea of misinformation.

Black Lives Matter protest, Montreal, Canada. June 7, 2020. Photo by Ying Ge courtesy of

The Democrats, on the other hand, are divided with a passionate progressive wing based in urban centers and a pro-corporate centrist wing that has long dominated Democratic leadership circles. The Democrats don’t have a unified message, nor can they be expected to have one given the serious differences among the factions. (For a deep analysis of divisions in both the Democratic and Republican parties, check out The U.S.’ Six-Party System, Version 5 by Carl Davidson.)  At this point, progressives can only gain clout in the Democratic Party if more progressive candidates get elected.

Progressive Democrats address the anger and anxiety many people feel by promoting a powerful narrative built on the twin themes of fighting against inequality (themes espoused by Jesse Jackson and Bernie Sanders) and fighting for a society where diversity and inclusion move us forward with hope and unity of purpose. These themes won’t appeal to those who lean to the right, but there’s a large pool of disengaged people (note: one-third of all eligible voters failed to vote in 2020) who might be persuaded to join the battle if it is framed as the 99% vs the 1%, who game the system to avoid paying taxes, accumulate vast wealth through government subsidies on capital gains and dividends, and who are comfortable with authoritarian rule as long as their wealth is protected. A progressive message certainly beats the lame Democratic response of “look at all the legislation we passed on Covid relief.” If you don’t take the fight to the extreme right, people will see the Democrats as ineffectual and clueless. Will progressives be able to win popular support for a program for social equity and acknowledge the long-standing double oppression of race and class for people of color? Time will tell.

It’s July 4, 2022, and there are only 126 days before the mid-term elections. Determining which party will control the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, governorships and state legislatures after the midterm elections rests upon our ability to organize and mobilize our base and to motivate previously disengaged people with a powerful vision and message.  There’s a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time, but unless we have the will to do it, there’s a bleak future ahead for all of us who want to live in a diverse, multi-cultural society that respects human rights. Find whatever level of political activity you can undertake and do it. Don’t let this summer drift by with only memories of the 4th of July fireworks, for the real fireworks will surely come post-Nov. 8 no matter which party prevails as 2024 looms off in the near distance.


Author’s Bio:  Eddie Wong is the editor/publisher of East Wind ezine. He is a longtime activist in the Asian American cultural and political movement.

Cover Photo:

Photo by Stephanie McCabe via


  1. Chizu Omori on July 5, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    Please put me on your email list.

    • Eddie Wong on July 5, 2022 at 4:31 pm

      Do you get notifications whenever new articles are posted? If you do, then you’re on the email list. If not, you can sign up on the East Wind ezine website. Hope that helps. take care, Eddie

  2. Chizu Omori on July 5, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    Amen!! We are living in dangerous times, and I’d like to see coalitions formed to fight for basic common goals of equality and justice.

  3. Tim Locks on July 5, 2022 at 9:55 pm


  4. Amanda Zhao on July 6, 2022 at 12:27 am

    Thanks for this Eddy. Sharing with groups!

  5. Francisco Garcia on July 6, 2022 at 6:38 am

    Respectfully Eddie, I lay so much at the feet of the Democratic Party. If Fascism comes to America it will be at the hands of the Democrats. Why we had to endure 4 years of Trump is directly a result of 5 decades of the ineptitude of the Democrats. “Bombing by the Russians…” who was behind the coup in 2014? Nazis bombing of the Donbas and Luhansk; 14K killed prior to Russia moved in with their “Special Operation.” I’ll never support even one Nazi period, or anyone who does. We are at the beginning of s multipolar world. Russian and China are no longer going to be “bullied” by the West. Wake up.

  6. Alex Hing on July 6, 2022 at 11:02 am

    Thanks for your thoughts on the Fourth of July. What is missing in our discussion is revolution. We no longer name capitalism nor heteropatriarchy as the systems that need to be destroyed in order for humanity to continue. We should be aware that the apocolypse has already begun and we need to think waay outside the box. We have the equivalent of 5 mullahs running SCOTUS adhearing to the Consititution as if it were the sacred Word of God. The whole thing, not just the seccond amendment or the electoral college needs to be shreaded, or maybe set on fire! We can organize around any of a myriad of issues and elect progressives, but we are nearing the point where the whole fucking system needs to be destroyed. The capitalists and the patriarchs have set up American democracy to maintain their rule. If we are to really challenge it, we need to call their system out by name and advocate revolution, “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” IMO we need to start with small communities of trust based on love.

    • Eddie Wong on July 6, 2022 at 12:10 pm

      I agree with your sentiments, Alex. Replacing the capitalist system with a full democracy with a new people’s Constitution is our goal. It is a call for revolutionary change. And to achieve that we need the majority of people on our side. I see electing progressives as a step in propagating a message of save the planet and share the wealth. Many people are not there yet, and we have the pressing task of steering people away from rightwing populism, which casts liberals and progressive as elite, oppressive forces. We must block the advance of the right in order to have the space to fight for revolutionary change.

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