Election Insights 2022
Research-based perspectives from MIT


In advance of the November midterms — an election taking place against a backdrop of bitter division and sometimes violent extremism — SHASS asked MIT scholars to take stock of this political moment. What does 2022 portend for established democratic institutions, for civic discourse, for a government capable of finding solutions to challenges both within and beyond our borders?

Here, our faculty offer perspectives on the meaning of the midterms and on what may come next.

Installments to this series will be posted on this page leading up to the election.

And remember — VOTE NOVEMBER 8th!



Democracy in the balance?
Devin Caughey 
Associate Professor of Political Science

"Once Joe Biden was elected president in 2020, then, the 2022 midterms were destined to be a promising election cycle for Republican candidates at all levels....The main question is not whether Democrats will lose seats but rather how severe those losses will be."


From dog whistles to claxons
Heather Hendershot 
Professor of Comparative Media Studies

"Of particular importance in the past has been how political candidates speak to a wide, mass audience versus smaller niche audiences and the role that subterfuge plays as candidates speak to those different audiences. To what extent do they reveal their true agendas? How do they package their platforms depending on how they perceive the composition of their audience?"


Resilient institutions or power games
Susan S. Silbey 
Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities, Sociology and Anthropology

"Long-established political norms are suddenly at stake. This serves to remind us that resilient institutions can nonetheless be quite fragile, that they exist only as we enact them, and thus depend on all of us acting in good faith and believing that our individual actions matter…because they actually do."


Broken jobs, broken media, and working-class voters
Christine Walley 
Professor of Anthropology

"Broken jobs and broken media environments stem from similar sources, creating a vicious cycle that encourages mis/disinformation, obscuring issues most relevant to working-class voters, and leading to political outcomes potentially contrary to what some imagine they are voting for."




Suggested Resources

Check your registration & polling places

How to Vote in Every State
See video with info for your state — and vote!