Everything You Should Know About The Results From The US Mid-Terms
November 6th marked two years since Donald Trump won the race to become the 54th president of the United States. That sentence still feels weird. But November 6th was also voting day for the country’s mid-term elections and arguably the most consequential election in a generation. Why? Because it would provide answers to one fundamental question: What is the identity of America today?
This was an election about health care, gun control, immigration and the economy. It was about power and those who hold it. It was about The Caravan and Kavanaugh. There were a few (okay, more than a few) races that I was watching particularly closely, because I knew that their results would speak to the growing divide between urban and rural America.
To refresh your memory, the two important chambers that were up for grabs today were the House and the Senate. In order for Democrats to take back the House they needed to pick up 23 additional seats, thus gaining majority. In order for Democrats to take back the Senate, they needed to hold on to all their current seats (this was particularly tough considering a few key senators were up for re-election in deep red states like Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Claire McCaskill in Missouri), and then flip three out of four of these key races: Texas, Tennessee, Nevada and Arizona. Unfortunately this didn’t happen and the Democrats lost the Senate. This wasn’t shocking, but it was upsetting. However Democrats did win (!!!) back control of the House, which is so incredible and soul-affirming. They also went above and beyond the 23 seats they needed, instead they are on track to win 34 seats which will be vital when it comes to voting on things like immigration and impeachment. They now have subpoena power to investigate the Trump administration and can work at putting through anti-corruption and voting rights bills. Put simply: the Democrats holding control of the House means holding Trump accountable for the first time in two years.
Aside from the House and Senate races as a whole, all eyes were on three key states: Florida (Andrew Gillum), Georgia (Stacey Abrams), and Texas (Beto O’Rourke). These were places where a new generation of progressive, liberal and inspiring Democrats had run life-changing (and I don’t say that lightly) campaigns in very red states. Both Gillum and Abrams failed to secure enough votes to win and not surprising, but perhaps most devastating, Beto O’Rourke was unable to beat Ted Cruz in the deeply conservative state of Texas, despite coming within 1 percent of each other in the votes. What Beto achieved by getting so close to winning in a Trumpist state like Texas is mind-blowing and worth celebrating. Prepare to see “#BETO2020” all over social media.
There is so much to celebrate, but here are a few of my favourite milestones:
The 2018 electorate was significantly younger and more diverse than the mid-term election in 2014. Turnout had increased the most among young voters, minorities and people who had rarely or never voted before.
One of the most exciting candidates of our generation, Democratic-socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She is 29 year’s old and was a first-time candidate.
Democrat Ilhan Omar, a Somali American refugee, won the House seat for Minnesota’s 5th district.
Florida residents overwhelmingly voted to pass Amendment 4 – restoring voting rights to more than one million Americans who had been convicted of crimes but had completed their sentences. This is huge and will enfranchise more people at once than any single initiative since the women’s suffrage. YAY FLORIDA.
Democrat Max Rose, an army veteran who served in Afghanistan following 9/11, won his election in Staten Island. His promise was to fight the opioid crisis and gun violence.
Democrat Jared Polis will be the next governor of Colorado and the first openly gay man to win a governor’s race in the US.