After a long two years, the time finally came to review President Trump’s performance in the best way possible: the midterms. This year’s elections were even more important than usual in ensuring America’s future due to the recently established conservative majority in the Supreme Court. If nothing changed, the Republicans would have zero checks and could potentially get away with some terribly harmful policies. Thankfully, despite some high profile losses, it can easily be stated that progressives won these midterms.
First, some background. Midterm elections are those that occur halfway through a President’s four-year term and generally, have a lower voter participation rate. This year, 35 Senate seats, all 435 House seats, 39 governorships, and many state and local positions, were up for election.
Next, the losses. The largest, although widely expected, was that the Republican party kept the Senate. With the majority of the seats up for re-election being Democratic, this was the most likely option, although Democrats put up a fight. Beto O’Rourke, the Texas Senate candidate against incumbent Senator Ted Cruz, was a noticeable loss after an inspiring campaign that drew international attention. Although calling his race a loss may be going a bit far, as his campaign not only came within 2 points of Ted Cruz, but also may have helped flip two key House districts, multiple state seats, and helped turn Texas into a potentially ‘purple’ state. Two other notable races that aren’t completely considered losses yet are the Florida and Georgia governor races. With Andrew Gillum coming close enough for a forced recount, and Stacy Abrams fighting against the massive voter disenfranchisement her opponent caused, these races are two to keep your eyes on.
The wins. Democrats seized the House, flipping an expected 30 plus seats, meaning that there will finally be checks on Trump’s executive powers. Democrats also gained at least seven governorships, at least 350 state legislature seats, and unified control of seven state legislatures. Besides flipping seats, there was another win that could continue to help a progressive future – voter turnout. This year’s midterms had the highest voter turnout in the past century, as well as the highest youth voter turnout. Over thirty-one per cent of 18-to-29-year-olds voted in this year’s midterm, an over ten per cent increase. This is a big win since young people tend to vote more progressively, and it is shown that once someone starts voting they are much more likely to continue.
The firsts. Colorado, the state where the infamous anti-gay bakery is based, elected the nations first openly gay governor, Jared Polis. Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland are the first Native American woman elected to Congress. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be the first Muslim woman in Congress. Texas, a state with 38 per cent of the population identifying as Latinx, will be sending it’s first two Latina women to Congress, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at 29. Kyrsten Sinema is going to be the first openly bisexual senator and the first Democratic Senator from Arizona in 30 years. Lastly, there were over 100 women elected to Congress, a record-breaking amount. These firsts allow Congress to continue becoming more and more reflective of America and are a good start on minorities getting the representation they deserve.
Overall, the 2018 midterms show a promising future for the progressive movement and set the stage for the 2020 Presidential elections. Voting is just the first step though, and in order to ensure an America that is more progressive and reflective of diversity, people must not become complacent. The framework has been set up, and it is up to the people to secure America’s future by continuing to engage, even between elections.
Image: Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia Commons