Season of political ads, midterm issues dominate fall news

Brayden Rush, Opinion Editor

It was a tumultuous journey leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, with the usual attack ads and mudslinging from candidates.

With the 2022 midterm election now over, Democrat John Fetterman won the election for the Senate and Democrat Josh Shapiro won the election for governor. Nationally, Fetterman’s win played a big role in Democrats holding onto the Senate, and the Republicans in control of the House.

This was by no stretch of the imagination an easy-to-predict midterm election. There were several issues that voters were concerned about, including education, abortion, election integrity, immigration, and, of course, former President Donald Trump. All of these issues were on voters’ minds and gave an edge to both parties. However, certain issues were front and center for Pennsylvania voters.

The economy was a top issue for voters, since inflation and gas prices soared leading up to the election.

Early in Biden’s presidency, arguably his biggest critique was how his policies led to record-high inflation and upending the economy. Biden’s support was partially revived after his legislative successes that brought down gas prices for a time.

However, gas prices are once again on the rise as well as uncertainty regarding Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which is estimated to cost $400 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Another issue concerning voters was abortion, which has been on the forefront of the political sphere ever since the landmark Supreme Court Dobbs case ruling effectively overturned Roe v. Wade. Currently, abortion is legal in Pennsylvania, so long as it is within the first 23 weeks of pregnancy. However, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that if Mastriano were to have won he would “ban abortion after about six weeks into a pregnancy.” This less moderate position was just one of the stances which most likely gave way for Shapiro’s success.

Lastly, crime was a big issue that concerned voters, with crime rates dramatically rising during the pandemic. Political ads often targeted Fetterman for being “dangerously liberal on crime” and Republicans, in general, criticized their opponents for taking progressive stances. One example of this is Shapiro’s position to require background checks for purchases of gun parts, as Democrats have argued that too many guns on the streets leads to more violence.

This gave Mastriano and Oz an edge against the Democrats, as crime is often an issue that favors Republicans. Despite this advantage, neither candidate achieved victory in their races.

All this to say, the big issues gave an edge to both parties and the chaos of the last few months made this midterm election a fairly uncertain one with no clear winner right up until the morning after Election Day.