News stories come and go every year, but what we remember are the people at the center of them. The Federalist staff has a few of those people in mind, for better or worse, who stood out in 2022. Here are our picks for the winners and losers of 2022.
Detransitioners are the biggest winners of 2022 for drawing attention to the irreversible damage and harm that radical transgender ideology has had on unsuspecting parents and children.
If it weren’t for the humility and boldness of young women like Helena, Cat, and Grace, and others who underwent various forms of mutilation, there wouldn’t be public awareness or legislation to protect children from unnecessary hysterectomies, mastectomies, and maiming.
Detransitioners’ journeys were not without physical and mental pain, but their experiences have made them some of the most important warriors for combatting the disfigurement and sterilization of young children that is being normalized by schools and top government officials.
Loser: Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell started the year poorly and ended it even worse when he threw Republicans’ chance at controlling the Senate so he wouldn’t be replaced as leader.
McConnell spent months badmouthing his own party’s politicians because they were endorsed by the former president. After several of his preferred candidates lost in the primaries, McConnell opted to pull millions in funding from battleground states such as Arizona in favor of propping up his friends in states like Alaska.
McConnell failed to stop Biden’s radical judges from taking the bench, betrayed GOP constituents by joining Democrats’ gun control legislation, was slow to condemn the FBI’s political raid on Trump, did nothing to stop his congressional allies from trampling on religious Americans’ First Amendment rights, and, most recently, pledged to join Democrats’ inflationary spending plan before newly elected Republicans have a chance to review it. He has also been a staunch supporter of apparently limitless U.S. taxpayer funding for a proxy war with Russia over Ukraine.
For his failures, McConnell faced backlash from other Republican leadership. If that backlash is any indication of the GOP’s future, McConnell’s days as the face of Senate Republicans are numbered.
Winner: Unborn Babies
Pro-life activism was my entree to politics as a teen heartbroken to learn what abortion does and the moral implications of its widespread legality in the United States. When I later became a mother, I better understood both the temptation to kill an inconvenient innocent life and the visceral terror of contemplating such a brutal act against the female body and the miracles it can hold. I never anticipated I’d see the end of Roe v. Wade. But I did; we all did.
The fall of Roe was an indescribable moment. We lived through the end of an anti-Constitution, anti-human court ruling at least as morally evil as chattel slavery. A great moral stain on our nation’s character has begun to be erased.
Everyone knows there is much more work to be done, as government-sanctioned mass murder is still widely legal in the United States. But now we can finally undertake that righteous work.
We can thank the court majority that ended Roe for their bravery and the president and Senate who appointed and confirmed that majority, and pray it’s not the last courageous decision they all make as our Constitution continues to be erased in other ways, including by some of the very same people. The historic end of Roe in our lifetimes is a reminder to never, ever surrender or despair.
The December release of the “Twitter Files” capped off a horrible seven years for the patently corrupt FBI and its intelligence agency compadres. Beginning with the unraveling of the Spygate hoax and intensifying steadily through this midterm election year, the FBI’s grossest abuses of power are surely still yet to be revealed.
But what we know so far is quite enough to demand that Congress stop these rogue spy agencies from continuing to use their huge budgets, hatred of the Constitution, and “national security” pretenses to rig U.S. elections and punish opposition candidates like they run some kind of domestic surveillance state. Without swift justice for the many government agents who think they have a right to decide what Americans can say and know about political candidates and when, it’s fair to say we’re a republic no more.
Winner: Ron DeSantis
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis brought the red wave to Florida that failed to materialize beyond the east coast. In November, DeSantis captured a second four-year term by a nearly 20-point margin after he barely won his first race for the governor’s mansion by less than half a percent in 2018.
Not only did DeSantis handily win another term as Florida’s chief executive, his coattails also helped Republicans reclaim the lower chamber on Capitol Hill. Florida Republicans picked up a trio of House seats allowing the GOP to land a 222-seat majority over Democrats’ 213.
DeSantis may or may not run for president, but he could launch a competitive campaign if he chooses. An effective governor who illustrated competent leadership amid Hurricane Ian and a conservative culture warrior whose migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard strengthened his stardom in the Republican Party, DeSantis might be the one to beat in a GOP primary.
Fresh off a triumphant midterm cycle, DeSantis became the first Republican to lead over Donald Trump in a presidential primary poll since Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in February of 2016.
Loser: Wyoming Democrats
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney will leave Congress next year after being the first Democrat to hold the at-large House seat since 1978. While she was elected as a Republican for three consecutive terms since 2016, her work spearheading the Democrats’ Select Committee on Jan. 6 made clear which party she belonged. The Wyoming GOP voted last year to no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican.
In the August Republican primary, Cheney lost her House seat by a humiliating 37 points to attorney Harriet Hageman. Had Democrat voters not changed party registration to back Cheney in the Republican contest, however, Cheney’s margin of defeat would have been far wider. Despite plans to harness her role on the Jan. 6 Committee as a springboard for the presidency, Democrats have already begun to sour on “Cheney 2024.” They might have helped her blunt a loss in Wyoming, but they won’t put her in the White House.
Winner: American Restorationists
While the 2022 midterm elections didn’t turn out as conservatives had hoped, they did provide clarity regarding the state of the country. In spite of skyrocketing inflation, high-energy costs, a wide-open southern border, and an increasing threat of nuclear war, there is a large segment of Americans perfectly comfortable with being subservient to suffering brought about by leftism.
While tragic on its face, this confirmation is actually why American restorationists seeking to salvage what’s left of the republic are one of the biggest winners of 2022. The elections didn’t just provide a roadmap of which localities are worth fighting for; they also revealed the level of malevolence American society is up against.
Using this knowledge to fortify “red” communities and flip “purple” ones is the way forward. Whether it gets put to good use will be answered in 2023.
Winner: Clarence Thomas
Aside from being a wonderful human being who lays wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has a lot to celebrate this year.
During the high court’s 2021-2022 term, Thomas authored the majority opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which struck down New York’s unconstitutional gun control law and reaffirmed Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms. Within the same term, Thomas was also one of the five justices in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization who was instrumental in sentencing Roe v. Wade to the dustbin of history.
The man doesn’t just deserve to celebrate his incredible service to the country heading into the new year, but our gratitude as well.
Loser: Covid Jab Manufacturers
While they may not prevent you from getting or spreading SARS-CoV-2, the Covid jabs do come with some pretty serious risks.
Earlier this year, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo released a study documenting “an 84% increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related death among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination.” The Food and Drug Administration also admitted in a recently published study there’s an increased risk of developing blood clots among people over the age of 65 who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.
Given the reported adverse side effects, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has since requested a grand jury be impaneled to “investigate any and all wrongdoing” by the shots’ manufacturers. Let’s hope 2023 brings some accountability to these companies, who’ve lied to us about the safety and efficacy of these jabs for the past two years.
Winner: ‘Top Gun Maverick‘
It’s impossible to overstate the success of “Top Gun Maverick,” which sent Hollywood a much-needed reminder that American moviegoers of all stripes can be won over with a simple formula: high-octane patriotism that seeks to entertain more than it seeks to pander.
Amid the decline of American monoculture and lingering lockdown malaise, the long-awaited sequel shocked Hollywood into a reckoning by shattering box office records to become the fifth-highest-grossing movie ever. It’s worth also mentioning the film caved to backlash over its earlier decision to censor on China’s behalf, serving as one part of a broader shift in momentum away from the Middle Kingdom for practical and financial reasons.
Loser: American Teenagers
The Biden administration, and political establishment at large, spent another year mostly ignoring the neurological threats posed by social media and screen time, giving a pass to TikTok and other platforms on this particular front. Tough talk about antitrust is good and will help people unplug, but it’s the preferred political solution for a reason.
D.C.’s focus on monopolies allows tech companies to continue preying on developing brains, business as usual, by seeking to maximize users’ screen time with psychological tactics borrowed from casinos. It’s an urgent crisis, but continues to play second fiddle in the policy debate.
Winner: Fauci’s Beagles
In 2021, a watchdog group exposed that Anthony Fauci’s NIAID was spending $424,455 in taxpayer funds on experiments that infested beagles with parasite-carrying flies before euthanizing them. The beagles were reportedly “vocalizing in pain” during the experiment and essentially “eaten alive.”
In 2022, Fauci let the dogs out. Of course, it was not out of his benevolence but only shortly after subsequent reporting this year found that not only had NIAID spent “$2.5 million in taxpayer funds on a study that injected beagle puppies with cocaine” but they had plans to spend $1.8 million more on giving puppies experimental hay fever drugs. Only after Sen. Joni Ernst sent NIAID a letter requesting details on the slated experiments did Fauci respond saying the beagle experiments would be canceled and researchers would only be using rodents going forward.
Coincidentally, just a few weeks after Fauci canceled the experiments, a breeding facility in Virginia that bred and sold dogs specifically for research purposes was shuttered after beagles had been found “underfed, ill, injured and, in some cases, dead.” 4,000 beagles were rescued from the facility and put up for adoption.
Loser: America’s Children
Is your toddler running a fever? Sorry, there is no children’s Tylenol at your CVS, Walgreens, local grocer, or Amazon. Since late summer, hospitals and doctors have been overwhelmed with what has been deemed a “tripledemic,” – spikes in cases of RSV, flu, and Covid-19 that rival some of the worst cold and flu seasons on record. Doctors calling for Biden to declare a national emergency have gone unanswered and parents searching online for where to find acetaminophen will only find “alternative” suggestions like dressing your child in light clothing and giving her popsicles.
Is your baby hungry? Sorry, there is still no infant formula on the shelves either, despite the supply chain issues allegedly being solved months ago. The shortage began in early 2022, but even as recently as mid-November, 34 percent of parents in households with infants had trouble finding formula, U.S. census data show.
Is your child struggling in school? Sorry, the lockdown-induced learning loss is likely to follow them for the rest of their life. Not only did this year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing results show drastic learning loss, but additional reports predict children attending public school during the pandemic will see a 1.6 percent decline in lifetime earnings – which adds up to a nationwide loss of income of $900 billion.
If it wasn’t clear before, 2022 was the year it we cemented that America puts children’s needs last.
Sure, a lot of the coastal curmudgeons who can be seen donning the heartland’s favorite outerwear brand do so ironically in an act of cultural appropriation, but that’s beside the point. Carhartt’s footprint can be seen everywhere, and the company is choosing to reinvest in the rustbelt. In late December, the company announced that it would be expanding its production efforts in its home state of Michigan (with the help of considerable tax subsidies) and would create more than 100 new jobs that pay $43 an hour.
Sure, it was made possible through massive tax subsidies, but at a time of systemic economic shrinkage, it’s impressive that the company chose to stay at all. They could make a lot more money manufacturing beanies and jackets in India or Mexico than in Michigan.
Carhartt should be considered a winner not just because embody the everyday American’s commitment to sticking things out no matter how bad things are getting (and things are getting very, very bad) but because they are sticking it out. We might not have corporate cronyism to keep us warm during the winter, but at least we can have Carhartt jackets to keep us comfortable when the power grid fails and gas costs $6 a gallon.
Losers: Conservatives Who Continue To Worship Celebrity
How many times are conservatives going to give full-throated endorsements and passionate defenses of celebrities who express support for one or two of our policy proposals just days before they threaten to go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE [sic]”? I refer, of course, to Kanye (now “Ye”) West.
The default position should be to assume that celebrities are dangerous people who want to hollow out our civilization of truth and beauty like cultural strip miners. Generally speaking, they are, and treating them like this will save us the humiliation of affiliating ourselves with them when they inevitably go off the rails and try to rehabilitate Adolf Hitler’s image.
After a Covid shutdown-induced lull, 2022 has seen roughly 2.6 million couples get married, which The Wall Street Journal reports is “roughly 600,000 more than in prepandemic years.” On average, married people end up healthier, happier, and wealthier than their unmarried peers.
“Compared to Americans who are unmarried, married Americans are more likely to report that they have a satisfying social life and a larger group of close friends, reported the American National Family Life Survey. “They also say they are more satisfied with their personal health than their single peers do.”
[Related: Where To Start If You Want To Get Married But Don’t Know How]
The U.S. divorce rate hit a 50-year low in 2019, although part of that change reflects a lower proportion of marriages over the years. While the annual marriage rate will likely return to lower levels as the Covid era fades into the background, in a society where fewer Americans have chosen to commit to marriages in recent decades, the spike in marriages in 2022 is good news for those millions of newlyweds and for society as a whole.
The money-sucking entertainment giant messed with the wrong two figures in 2022: parents and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Early this year, Disney fought against a popular Florida law that barred teaching on “sexual orientation and gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.
Then, in March, Disney employees and executives openly bragged in clips leaked by journalist Chris Rufo about grooming children with their sexual agendas. One boasted about her “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” and efforts at “adding queerness to” children’s programming, while others admitted their own plans to force their sexual views on the eyes and ears of young children.
Many Americans — including the parents who Disney depends on to shell out exorbitant amounts of money — were disgusted. One Trafalgar poll in April found that more than two-thirds of Americans were less likely to patronize Disney as a result. Disney movies like “Lightyear” have sputtered at the box office. The Florida legislature responded to Disney’s attempts to sexualize children by stripping the company of its special tax privileges, and last month Disney reported lower-than-expected revenue and fired its CEO.
The global luxury fashion brand Balenciaga was forced to pull two major ad campaigns amid well-deserved outrage over ads that seemed to promote the sexualization of children. One ad campaign featured young children posing with teddy bears dressed in bondage and sexual fetish gear, surrounded by wine glasses and leather collars in a bedroom setting.
The other campaign featured a woman at a desk covered in papers, some of which were court documents from a 2008 Supreme Court ruling on a law that banned the pandering of child pornography. The scandal might have hurt Balenciaga in the short term, but it showed that the fashion brand’s demonic masters are doing quite well, having conquered the heights of luxury fashion and made slaves of the perverted celebrity elite.
Loser: Also Moloch/Baal
Because we are now in Christmastide, which runs from Christmas Eve to Epiphany (on Jan. 6), it’s a good time to remember that for as much as it might seem like Moloch/Baal and all of Satan’s demonic horde are “winning” here on earth, they have in fact already been defeated utterly by the coming of Jesus Christ, by his victory on the cross, and the establishment of His kingdom, world without end. That of course doesn’t mean that we don’t still have to fight, and Christmas is the perfect time to remember that we must.
As G.K. Chesterton noted in “The Everlasting Man,” one of the essential elements in the drama of Bethlehem is the presence of King Herod as the Enemy of Christ, the pagan king, who, confronted with the coming of the True King, appealed in desperation to the old gods, to Moloch and Baal, and ordered the slaughter the innocents in a doomed hope that he might cling to power. “Unless we understand the presence of that enemy,” writes Chesterton, “we shall not only miss the point of Christianity, but even miss the point of Christmas.”
It’s worth quoting Chesterton at length on this point, that while Herod’s men searched the countryside, the Creator of the world was born in a cavern, as it were under the world:
“By the very nature of the story the rejoicings in the cavern were rejoicings in a fortress or an outlaw’s den; properly understood it is not unduly flippant to say they were rejoicings in a dug-out. It is not only true that such a subterranean chamber was a hiding-place from enemies; and that the enemies were already scouring the stony plain that lay above it like a sky. It is not only that the very horse-hoofs of Herod might in that sense have passed like thunder over the sunken head of Christ. It is also that there is in that image a true idea of an outpost, of a piercing through the rock and an entrance into an enemy territory. There is in this buried divinity an idea of undermining the world; of shaking the towers and palaces from below; even as Herod the great king felt that earthquake under him and swayed with his swaying palace.”
In an era where most social media platforms (besides Chinese Communist Party-controlled TikTok) have lost their luster – and are, frankly, boring – a new Instagram alternative has thrown its hat in the ring.
Paris-based BeReal was founded in 2020, but really came to prominence this past spring. By April of this year, the app had been downloaded approximately 7.41 million times.
While BeReal is still set up like your traditional social networking app — users scroll through a feed of their friends’ pictures and post their own — there’s a twist. Every day, BeReal sends a notification at an unpredictable time telling users they have two minutes to post a picture (taken with the front and back-facing camera on their phones) before they risk being late and therefore not “being real” for their friends. Friends may comment or react to your photos with selfies of their own. But all these photos and reactions disappear the next day and the cycle repeats.
Simply put: BeReal is a low-stakes game you conduct with your friends. The pressure to curate the perfect Instagram aesthetic or viral TikTok is gone. Instead, it’s pure, unadulterated fun reacting and responding to what your friends are actually doing. Such a formula resonates with users sick of consumeristic, one-dimensional influencer culture that predominates across social networking apps.
Instagram is currently experiencing the same downward trajectory and identity crisis Facebook dealt with in the 2010s (and never recovered from).
A 2021 survey from finance firm Piper Sandler found that only 22 percent of teenagers said Instagram was their favorite social networking platform (TikTok, of course, came out on top), down from 33 percent of teenagers who claimed it was their favorite app back in 2015. But Instagram’s growing irrelevance is entirely of its own making. The company’s decision to pump more content from users you don’t follow into your feed a lá TikTok is incredibly unpopular, as was its decision to switch from a chronological feed to an algorithm (not to mention its introduction of recommended posts and in-feed shopping).
In essence, Instagram’s push to resemble its competitors has made it lose its identity. Gone are the days of users posting random photos with grainy filters and pithy captions to their small group of close friends. But that formula is what got Instagram to where it is today, and until it realizes this and reverts back (i.e., providing a platform for people to see and be seen by their friends), it will continue its descent toward irrelevance.
Winner: Covid ‘Conspiracy Theorists’
Yesterday’s “misinformation” is today’s conventional wisdom, and all those Covid dissenters who were smeared as conspiracy theorists and grandma killers for doubting the Faucian gospel rose to victory as 2022’s real winners.
So-called experts finally admitted cloth masks were nothing more than pure political theater. The lab leak theory went from tinfoil-hat status to the most probable scenario. And with vaccinated Americans still getting and spreading Covid, no end in sight to ‘rona boosters, and more and more of the vaxxed public reporting heart inflammation and other apparent jab injuries, free-thinking Americans who refused to swallow the left’s Covid propaganda came out on top (though the media and Mr. Science himself will never admit it).
It took too many years to be vindicated, but principled Americans who defied unelected bureacrats’ unlawful mask mandates and refused to inject themselves with an experimental vaccine were right to do so — despite personal and professional cost. Here’s hoping 2023 will be a year of restitution.
Loser: All Things CNN
It’s hard to pick one loser at CNN because the network had a merry band of them this year.
Don Lemon got booted from his primetime slot but pretended it was a promotion. And after three decades of CNN airing its media show, “Reliable Sources” host Brain Stelter sank the ship and was ousted from the network. It turns out there isn’t much of an audience for a bona fide potato-head hyperventilating about whatever’s happening at Fox News.
Speaking of Fox News, last Christmas its then-Sunday host Chris Wallace — known among other things for falling for the Kavanaugh smear campaign and giving one of the most embarrassing presidential debate moderator performances in history — abruptly hopped over to CNN to be part of CNN Plus. Womp, womp… the 350-employee, $100 million streaming venture crashed and burned in April after just one month.