Learning from the Midterms - Word&Way

Learning from the Midterms

Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado might struggle to pass high school American government. Despite serving in Congress, she doesn’t understand basic elements of the U.S. Constitution.

“The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it,” the controversial legislator proclaimed at a worship service in June.

Rather than innocent ignorance, her statements likely represent an intentionally subversive interpretation of America’s founding principles. After all, Boebert also made clear at the event that she was “tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does.”

Known for her support of conspiracy theories and attacks on Muslim members of Congress, Boebert also expresses Christian Nationalist views (like calls for “biblical citizenship training”) that erode democracy and violate fundamental constitutional principles of non-establishment and religious liberty.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (left) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (right) interrupt with shouts as President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on March 1, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP)

It appears voters in her district may have had enough. With more than 99% of the vote tallied, Boebert is surprisingly losing to her Democratic opponent in a contest that remains too close to call at the time of our writing. Boebert may learn a hard lesson about how democratic elections work from voters in a Republican-leaning district that she was rated as “clearly favored to win” with a 97% likelihood.

For months, we’ve documented the appearances, rhetoric, and political activities in religious settings of candidates like Boebert running for office on a platform of Christian Nationalism. Many voters rejected this worldview to a shocking degree in Tuesday’s midterm elections. In this edition of A Public Witness, we take a look back at our earlier reporting on various races, and we consider the ongoing test facing American democracy.

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