I’m not going to sugar coat it, my friends: I’m pretty bummed about the outcomes of specific individual races last night, including CA Districts 4, 10, 45, and 50, where they actually chose an incumbent indicted for federal corruption charges who threw his wife under the bus over a man whose spent his entire career *actually* working for working families. (And lest you thought that he was the only indicted Republican who won, another indicted Republican won in NY.) I’m disheartened by Claire McCaskill and Joe Donnelly losing their seats. I’m also very disappointed, although not surprised, in some results in Texas and Florida, but I have to keep reminding myself that they are, after all, Texas and Florida. And the governors’ races in GA and FL are nauseating. [Edited 11/13: These elections aren’t over yet! Although the fact that they are all so close is baffling in itself.] Somehow, the voters of the South haven’t evolved into the current century yet. At least, the majority of voters who actually show up or haven’t been suppressed or restricted from voting, which is a whole other disappointment.
Other successful ballot measures were incredibly disturbing, including a blatantly unconstitutional personhood measure in Alabama that recognizes rights of a fetus. Arkansas and North Carolina doubled down on their voter suppression tactics and voted in strict voter ID laws. In North Carolina’s case, this is after the current SCOTUS refused to hear a case that struck down a similar previous law.
I honestly can’t wrap my brain around how otherwise-reasonable people are still voting Republican for any reason. I’m not talking about Trump’s base, who are so far beyond any kind of reason or rational, critical thought to have any kind of expectations, but moderate people or people who have seemingly allowed themselves to be so brainwashed by the rhetoric and propaganda that they don’t understand or don’t care about the ramifications of today’s republican party. A couple of examples: Mike Pence’s brother won his former Indiana House seat. In Nevada, a dead pimp won a state legislature seat.
In the spirit of trying to stay positive, though, which is REALLY hard for this natural cynic/pessimist who officially gave up all hope in the American people as a whole and in the future of the country in 2016, I’d love to start compiling a thread of all the great wins we had in this midterm election.
1. Voter turnouts across the country, while still lower than they should be, were significantly higher than normal. More young people voted than ever before, and they voted Democrat.
2. Although some races were great disappointments, the fact that they were so close, especially in traditionally red districts, is noteworthy. Next time even MORE people need to get out and vote!!
3. We made great inroads in governorships across the country, including in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Colorado, and others.
4. Democrats retook control in six state legislatures: New Hampshire, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Maine, and New York. We also flipped about 350 state legislative seats from red to blue (including 11 in Texas!!), according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. And Democrats won hundreds of other state legislative seats around the country. One of those candidates is Zach Wahls, who defended his lesbian moms in a speech to the Iowa legislature and will now be serving on it.
5. We won trifectas — in which Democrats control the executive branch and both houses of the legislative branch — in 6 states, making the total number of Democratic trifectas 14 while Republican trifectas declined.
6. We took the House back, in some cases taking notably red districts, such as in Florida, bringing us one small check on the evils of this administration and the Republican-controlled Senate.
7. It seems like Democrats are making gains in places that used to be or were traditionally Democratic, but went for Trump.
8. There will be a record number of women in Congress!! Including our first Native American and Muslim congresswomen and our first lesbian mom! Our first Muslim Congresswoman is also a refugee, another first. South Dakota and Maine elected its first woman governors, and Tennessee and Arizona elected their first women Senators (although, to be fair, we’d rather have a pro-woman man than an anti-woman and anti-family woman for any seat!) while Massachusetts and Connecticut elected their first-ever black women to the House! Shockingly, Texas elected its first Latina women to Congress — and they’re Democrats!
Edited to add: We also just elected eight scientists to Congress, including a physicist, a microbiologist, and a chemist, as well as eight engineers, a mathematician, three nurses, and fifteen doctors.
9. We also elected our first openly gay man as a governor in Colorado. Also in Colorado, the father of a victim in the Aurora movie theater shooting flipped a seat in Congress.
10. The three states that gave Trump the presidency by a slim margin are now run by Democratic governors, which is a big deal for 2020.
11. Three more states — Michigan, Utah, and Missouri — now have more relaxed marijuana laws with either legal recreational or medical marijuana.
12. Scott Walker is gone in Wisconsin and Kris Kobach lost in Kansas! Hallelujah! (Looks like Kansas might finally be coming around?)
13. Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail rather than follow court orders to grant same-sex marriage licenses, is gone!
14. The Republican Representative who was so disturbed that he could no longer call women “sluts” is gone! Icing on the cake: He lost to a woman.
15. In at least 3 states — Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri — voters took the redistricting powers away from the state legislature and gave it to independent commissions, hopefully decreasing the chance for gerrymandering. (A Utah measure to do the same is still too close to call as of this writing, but is leading.)
16. Floridians voted to grant voting rights to people with felony records, enfranchising at least 1.5 million people.
17. Three states made it easier for people to vote by eliminating voter registration deadlines and allowing people to register up to Election Day.
18. Nevada instituted automatic voter registration.
19. Nevada also eliminated the “pink tax,” or tax on menstrual products.
20. After Oklahoma teachers across the state walked out over draconian education budget cuts last year, almost two dozen educators won seats in the state legislature.
21. Idaho and Nebraska voted to expand Medicaid.
22. Massachusetts voted to officially ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
23. Oregon voted down a measure that would have repealed Sanctuary State status.
24. Oregon also voted down a measure that would have prohibited public funds to be used for anything associated with abortion. (However, West Virginia voted in favor of a similar measure. Grrr.)
Edited 11/9: It looks like Democrats had an even better Election Day than previously thought, gaining 30 seats in the House and now leading in five others! As Dan Balz and Michael Scherer reported in The Washington Post, “Democrats appear poised to pick up between 35 and 40 seats in the House, once the last races are tallied, according to strategists in both parties. That would represent the biggest Democratic gain in the House since the post-Watergate election of 1974.” As it turned out, 71 percent of Trump-endorsed candidates lost their elections.
In California, Harder has sped past right-wing incumbent Jeff Denham. In Georgia, gun control advocate (and fellow Emerge America graduate) Lucy McBath finally defeated Karen Handel, who had a long history of voter suppression efforts. And in New Mexico, Xochitl Torres Small flipped another Congressional seat from red to blue. The Arizona Senate race hasn’t been called yet, but Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is widening her lead by the hour. And in Florida, the gap is narrowing between gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis and Senator Bill Nelson and his opponent Rick Scott, with potentially tens of thousands of votes still to be counted and a recount likely. Finally, in Georgia, the governor’s race could head to a run-off as more votes are counted. Further, the election highlighted Georgia’s voter suppression efforts and how they impacted elections.
Am I missing anything else? Please add it in the comments!