For those of you feeling discouraged, or lamenting that it didn't look like a Blue Wave, pause a moment. Breathe. We didn't win (or haven't yet concluded) the "sexy" races. O'Rourke/Cruz, Kemp/Abrams, DeSantis/Gillum... but so many good things happened last night. What follows is a list of the many victories we liberals earned in the midterms. Let this be confirmation that your work mattered, and your vote mattered. Your vote still matters. Change is happening. Keep up the amazing work, y'all.
First of all, the Democrats took the house for the first time in 8 years. This provides a check on the president that is sorely needed. It makes Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House, and third in line for the presidency. It makes Rep. Adam Schiff (a very loud and active anti-Trump voice) the head of the House Intelligence Committee. Rep Jerry Nadler becomes head of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Maxine Waters now has subpoena power as the Chairwoman of the House Fiduciary Committee. This shift is huge for anyone who wants to see Trump held accountable.
Also, the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology got a new chairperson. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas will likely take the role from its current leader, a climate science denier.
Congressional races, like some senate races, also saw some unprecedentedly close losses. While Beto lost to Cruz, the margin of victory was close enough that Ted Cruz was sweating bullets. Nazi Fuckhead Steve King retains his congressional seat in Iowa but only barely. AND, had King lost, Iowa would've turned Blue because Dems held their existing district seat AND picked up two more. Think about that. IOWA. The primary stronghold/barometer. It almost went BLUE. Across the country, conservative states Kansas and South Carolina elected Democrats who received an F rating from the NRA.
(Me voting in 2016 vs Me voting in 2018)
Though the race is still too close to call, Arizonans should be proud of how far they pushed Kysrten Sinema. In a state where Senate races were ridiculously red 20 or even 10 years ago (Republicans winning with as much as 79% of the vote in past years), the margin between Sinema and her opponent, McSally, less than 1% at this time with more than 500k early ballots yet to count. Many of those uncounted votes are in Maricopa County, where Sinema is enjoying a narrow lead. EDIT 11/12/2018: Sinema has been declared the winner of this race.
Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia are the first Latinx congresswomen for Texas
Jared Polis became the first openly gay governor for Colorado.
At 29 years old, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is the youngest woman in Congress.
A slew of black women won judge seats in Harris County (Houston) Texas!
In New Hampshire, Lisa Bunker and Geri Cannon, both trans women, have been elected to serve in the state’s House of Representatives.
And when Rashida Tliab and Ilham Omar start in January, Mike Pence will be using a Koran.
JD Ford became Indiana’s first openly gay member of the state’s General Assembly.
Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema won a nailbiter against Martha McSally to become not only the state’s first female senator, but also the first openly bisexual American to serve on the Senate.
In North Dakota, Ruth Buffalo—a Native American woman—defeated the Republican sponsor of the ND voter ID law that sought to disenfranchise the Native American voters in the state.
And many more! Fill me in on your local elections, governor races and other instances of historic appointments.
Also, eight scientists were elected to congress: 1 to the senate and 7 to the House!
In Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, Democratic candidate Lucy McBath won the seat of Trump loyalist Rep. Karen Handel. This one is worth unpacking for several reasons. First, the seat—once held by Newt Gingrich—has been Republican since 1978. Secondly, this means Handel’s anti-woman legislating will come to an end. You might remember that she narrowly defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in the 2017 special election. Didn’t hang on to that very long. But most importantly is this: Handel has been an NRA puppet, very happily taking their money. Lucy McBath ran her campaign on a platform of gun control. Her son, Jordan Davis, was murdered at the age of 17 when a man thought Davis was playing his music too loudly at a gas station. McBath is part of the Mothers Of the Movement, a group of black women who have all lost children to gun violence at the hands of police officers or vigilantes. McBath is the third black woman to represent Georgia, and the first to hold a seat in the 6th District.
Third: Governorships were another huge win. Democrats picked up a minimum of 7 states including Maine (unseating racist dickbag Paul LePage), Wisconsin (kicking out Scott Walker-who, it might be fun to note, cannot ask for a recount due to a law he put into place.), Kansas (bye bye, Kris Kobach!), and Michigan (justice for Flint!) In Vermont, a trans woman won 40% of the votes, though she didn't win the race. Governorships matter. Why? Well for one thing, they can make changes to face climate change when Congress won’t or can’t. They also have a say on gun control.
Next, we can look at our victories in state amendments.
Florida voted to reinstate the voting rights of 1.4 million ex-felons. The gross felony disenfranchisement of Florida was highlighted on this deep dive by John Oliver.
Louisiana voted to abolish a Jim Crow law that allowed for a conviction without a unanimous jury decision.
Colorado abolished slavery by voting to close a loophole in its constitution.
Missouri and UTAH voted to legalize medical marijuana.
Michigan legalized adult recreational use!
In Massachusetts, transgender rights were protected.
Washington’s Initiative 1639 made it clear that voters care about gun control.
Multiple states expanded Medicaid access (estimates are 300,000 more insured)
Oregon refused to repeal its sanctuary state law protecting immigrants.
Washington state addressed a legal framework for addressing use of lethal force by police and will emphasize deescalation training
Michigan, Maryland, and Nevada all passed measures supporting same-day voter registration and automatic registration
Arkansas and Missouri both passed minimum wage increases
Nevada became the 10th state to ditch its tax on menstrual products!
AND, remember Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who got 15 minutes of hugs from Huckabee because she denied gay couples their marriage licenses? OUT! (Thought not, as many memes suggest, by one of the very men she denied a license to.)
And Texas killed it in Most Improved Voter Turnout.
And New York’s state legislature just got swept Blue!
Look at this goodness. Look at these leaps and bounds we made beyond the Senate. You did this! Even if your candidate didn't win, you did this. You own these victories, too. More people were engaged in this election, and more people are aware. More people are fighting.
Was there fuckery? Absolutely. Among the worst…
Voters in Florida were blocked from their polling station that was placed in a gated community. Also, current Governor, senator-elect* and Voldemort stunt double Rick Scott tried to sue the counties so they’d stop counting votes. His election to the senate and the high-visibility DeSantis/Gillum race are still up in the air as more fuckery is uncovered.
Similarly, the Republican party in Arizona tried to sue the county recorders and halt the vote counts in hopes of keeping Jeff Flake’s seat red in the McSally/Sinema race. As of this post, the Democrat is holding a lead that is only getting bigger with each batch of ballots counted. Trump even tweeted Friday morning that the election in Arizona is corrupt.
Gerrymandering was the real winner in Ohio.
Georgia’s gubernatorial race was stolen by Kemp as his office supervised ballot counting, several voters were kicked off the rolls, and on election day several polling stations were not given power cords to power the machines. Kemp has since resigned as Secretary of State, and the votes are still being counted. It’s likely that a run-off will be triggered.
North Dakota lost Heidi Heitkamp as Republicans disenfranchised thousands of Native American voters.
Texas took a little from column a and a little from column b when creating their voter suppression sampler platter. Voter ID rules, gerrymandering, restricted voting hours, polling places without translators, purging voter rolls, closing polling sites, hackable and decrepit machines that were unreliable…. Texas went big.
This judge who lost re-election released juvenile defendants in an act of spite and contempt for his constituents.
And with news today of Jeff Sessions’ being “asked to resign” (it’s called being fired, but since he turned in his resignation, Trump is free to bring in someone else without oversight), and the ensuing removal of Rod Rosenstein from his duties over the Special Counsel, the Mueller investigation is in danger. And, after a very ugly press conference, the White House revoked the press privileges of CNN’s Jim Acosta, a prominent voice of dissent in the press corps.
We are witnessing an angry, scared man retaliating and thrashing. And it will continue. The new guard doesn’t take up until the new year. There’s still two months of fuckery to spread.
While the "Blue Wave" didn't come crashing in to save us all from hell and suddenly right the wrongs of two years gone, it DID happen. The blue wave was never about a one-time tsunami. The losses are real, and they sting, but look how close it was! Look what you did! You made noise. I guarantee, the current administration is looking at returns and they see you. They see you voting out corrupt governors and they see traditionally red states losing their "sure thing" status. They see you saying no to suppression and oppression. They see you protesting and screaming and canvasing and they see you voting. They see you and they are afraid of you.
Don't let up.
But DO. NOT. LET. UP.
They are afraid, and when someone is afraid they are dangerous.
Stay vigilant. Resist. Stay strong and keep pushing.
And remember this. Remember how you feel right now: empowered, energized, hopeful. Remember this and get involved. Check out the Indivisible Project for info on how you can keep this going in your area. Find local candidates to support by doing phone banking, flyering or other helpful things. Or find charities to donate to when you can. Organizations like the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, or the Foundation to Decrease World Suck are worthy of attention, or, research the causes near to your heart and patronize them. Send them money, volunteer, or even just write a blog post every month reminding others they exist. Find ways to get involved and keep this energy going.
Keep moving forward.