This article was published on November 8th, 2018
It would be easy to write about the United States mid-term elections on Tuesday with an air of disappointment and despair. That the blue wave that was supposed to bring America immediately out of the jaws of peril came crashing onto the rocks before it ever hit the shore. Beto lost. Abrams lost. Gillum lost. And the conservatives retain control of the senate. But to dismiss everything that happened on Tuesday as all negative would be a serious disservice to some amazing wins that happened on election night. Blue wave? Maybe not. But a rainbow wave of representation just crashed onto the shores of America, and it will forever change the dichotomy of the United States government forever.
First, the Democrats took back the House of Representatives. Now, a balance of power has somewhat been restored to our government. The House holds the check book and the purse and can finally make drastic requests of the White House like subpoenaing Trump’s taxes and indicting potentially guilty members who might have colluded with Russia in the 2016 election. More importantly, a liberal takeover of the House means the White House cannot unabashedly continue its onslaught of extremist executive acts and agenda.
Next, there should be a massive celebration of the firsts that this election brought to America. Kansas saw its first queer legislator elected who is also Native American. Sharice Davids of Kansas joins Deb Haaland from New Mexico as the country’s first Indigenous women to serve in the United States Congress. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota became the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker became the first transgender women elected to the New Hampshire House. Chris Pappas, also of New Hampshire, will be the first gay person to serve the state in the US Congress. Susan Ruiz and Brandon Woodard became the first LGBT members of the Kansas state legislature. Lesbian Angie Craig became the first LGBT congressperson to be elected to Congress from Minnesota. 3 became the first LGBT black man elected to the Pennsylvania legislature.
Jared Polis, a democratic representative from Colorado, who was congress’ only LGBT parent, became Colorado’s first gay governor. Kate Brown, the openly bisexual governor of Oregon, won re-election Tuesday night. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the nation’s first openly LGBT senator, won re-election. Teri Johnston became Key West Florida’s new mayor on Tuesday, the first queer mayor in Florida’s history.
Overall in Tuesday’s election, more than 150 LGBT candidates across the United States won victories in the mid-terms. But it wasn’t just the gays that slayed. Several of our straight allies won ground-breaking elections Tuesday Night. Zach Wahls, who famously defended his lesbian moms in front of the Iowa legislature won his first election as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives. Bernie Sandars-ian Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez handedly won her Bronx election, becoming the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress. Fellow Democrat and DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison became the first Muslim man elected to Minnesota’s executive government when he was elected as the state’s new attorney general.
Also, Letitia “Tish” James became the first African American Attorney General of New York. Ayanna Pressley became Massachusetts’ first black Congresswoman. Jahana Hayes, the former 2016 Teacher of the Year, became the first black woman from Connecticut elected to Congress. Always deeply red Texas elected its first Latinas to congress: Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar, and a series of other blue wins were captured throughout the Lone Star State, despite Beto’s close loss for the senatorial position. And Stacey Abrams has forced a run-off against Brian Kemp in the hotly contested and heated Georgia gubernatorial race.
Massachusetts voters upheld transgender rights protections. Marijuana legalization won big: two pro-marijuana governors were elected in Minnesota and Illinois. Full legalization of marijuana won in Michigan, medicinal usage won in Missouri, and parts of Ohio have decriminalized Mary Jane for medicinal uses. Florida restored voting rights to more than 1.5 million previously convicted felons who have already served their sentences. Nebraska, Utah, and Idaho voted to extend Medicare benefits. Nebraska and Missouri voted to raise the minimum wage. Colorado abolished unpaid prison labor and Louisiana now mandates that jury verdicts must be unanimous in courtroom verdicts of felony cases.
And that bitch, Kim Davis, who famously refused marriage licenses to gay couples and later served jail time was not re-elected.
If you are feeling bad about the fact that immediate, crazy, and sudden change didn’t fall out of the ballot boxes, remember that this is how the United States operates. Change takes a long time to happen and resonate in America. 150+ queer people are now painting the US government in a beautiful rainbow. Let’s hear it for the ladies as 115 women won national offices all across the United States on Tuesday, with 42 of them being women of color and four of them veterans. There now have more than 100 women in Congress—the most diverse government in US history. The political pendulum swung so far to the right after president Obama, and it is now beginning swinging back in the progressive direction as more results from Tuesday’s mid-term elections pour in.