For all out there feeling a little demoralized about the class warfare congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump’s administration are waging against us, results from Tuesday’s elections should lift your spirits.
Let’s start in Virginia where Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie for governor in a vital election the whole country was watching.
As governor, Northam will have significant influence during the state’s next round of congressional redistricting.
Virginia’s House of Delegates also flipped from a Republican majority to the minority.
About to take a seat in that House is former journalist Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person ever elected to a state legislature. She will unseat anti-LGBTQ Bob Marshall, who has served since 1992.
The House of Delegates will also seat Democratic Socialist Lee Carter, a single-payer healthcare advocate who promised during his campaign to expand Medicaid access in Virginia.
Virginia is, of course, the setting of August’s deadly Charlottesville white supremacist rally that resulted in the death of civil right activist Heather Heyer.
Some saw that event as a dark harbinger of the ideological direction the country may be heading under Trump.
But the fact Democrats swept the state a year after Trump’s election and three months after the Charlottesville rally might demonstrate the electorate is wasting no time preventing the GOP from exacting its extreme agenda against immigrants, the LGBTQ community, Hispanics, Latinos, people of color, the poor, and working class.
Then there is New Jersey, where Democrat Phil Murphy will succeed controversial governor Chris Christie.
In city mayoral races, New York City incumbent Bill de Blasio won a second term against Republican state lawmaker Nicole Malliotakis and several third-party candidates.
We will also have our first Sikh mayor.
Responding to repeated attacks on his ethnicity and religion, Bhalla tweeted:
“We won’t let hate win.”
In Massachusetts, Mayor Marty Walsh won a second four-year term in Boston, while in Framingham, former educator and Boston Museum of Science vice president, Yvonne Spicer, was elected the city’s first mayor, becoming the state’s first popularly elected Black female mayor.
Seven Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)-inspired aldermen candidates won in Somerville, Mass.: Matthew McLaughlin, JT Scott, Ben Ewen-Campen, Jesse Clingan, and at-large aldermen Bill White, Mary Jo Rossetti, and Will Mbah.
In Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan won a second four-year term.
Civil Rights Attorney Larry Krasner, who vows to end mass incarceration and the death penalty, won Philadelphia’s District Attorney race.
The recent battle over healthcare was still very present in voters’ minds too.
Maine Republican governor Paul LePage–who has vetoed Medicaid expansion bills five times–proposed the first national ballot initiative to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
Jennie Pirkl told the Bangor Daily News:
“Maine has shown the way for the rest of the country. Voters have sent a clear message to Augusta, Washington, and the rest of the country that we want more health care, not less.”
In a statement Wednesday, LePage said he would not allow the expansion to take effect until the program “has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels DHHS has calculated.”
And in Washington, Manka Dhingra took an early lead in a state Senate race to determine whether the state’s Senate will remain the the West Coast’s only Republican-led legislative body.
This is tremendous news.
There is a saying, attributed to former House Speaker Tip O’Neill, that “all politics is local.”
Although not as scintillating as presidential races, local elections express the public’s legislative priorities. They convey our positions on issues we care about and wish to see enacted. This reverberates up the electoral food chain all the way up to the White House.
Tuesday’s wins send a decisive message that the majority of the United States is not willing to put up with anymore Trumpism.
And if you think that falls on deaf ears, think again.
According to Politico:
“Sweeping losses in Tuesday’s elections have exacerbated a growing rift inside the GOP over whether the party’s candidates should embrace President Donald Trump in next year’s midterms — or make a clean break.”
If anything, this year’s election day proved the progressive wave is alive and a force to be reckoned with. It gives hope to the possibility of Democrats re-taking Congress next year.
2018, here we come!
Image credit: theattestor.com