As I’ve tracked election results over the past week, I’ve found many reasons for optimism. In blue states and in red states, voters made choices that reflected care and concern for their fellow citizens. Again and again, they voted to protect public health.
In California, Kentucky and Michigan, they endorsed women’s right to choose. In South Dakota, they expanded eligibility for Medicaid to 40,000 low-income adults when their legislators refused to do so. In Oregon, they passed one of the strictest gun safety measures in the country, requiring federal background checks and safety training for all gun purchases.
To be sure, public health didn’t win everywhere last week. And health and well-being still face grave and urgent threats from the Supreme Court.
But, as I argue in my latest op-ed for The Hill, the outcomes of these ballot measures suggest that a majority of voters, in both red states and blue, believe the government has an obligation to protect the health and well-being of the most vulnerable among us. That is the essence of public health. It also happens to be the only way to build a resilient economy and a successful civil society.