Five Reasons to Get Excited About the US Mid-Terms This November

10.09.18

Full disclosure: I’m about to talk politics.

I know!! How dare I. But there’s just so much to be excited about, and when it comes to the United States government that is an achievement in and of itself.

In less than two months time – on November 6th – America will decide it’s fate. Which sounds extreme. But not as extreme as the prospect of Donald Trump letting a bunch of conservatives decide what 125 million women can do with their bodies.

I first became interested in the mid-term elections when I started listening to Pod Save America last summer. The podcast show is a no-bullshit conversation about politics “for people who are not ready to give up or go insane.” It’s hosted by Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett who were Barack Obama’s speech writers in the White House. From there, I started following some of the candidates on Twitter, reading more and more stories online that genuinely made me excited and, to cut a long story short, there are a few key players I think you should know about, if for no other reason than to give you hope.

Cynthia Nixon (!Miranda Hobbs!) is running for Governor of New York, a race that New Yorkers will decide in just a few days time, on September 13th. She’s up against current Governor Andrew Cuomo and it won’t be an easy win. The Sex & The City star has no experience in politics and Cuomo has spent two decades in public office. But Nixon has appealed to voters by not accepting any donations from corporate political-action committees (PAC) for her campaign, whereas Cuomo has not only accepted tens of millions of dollars in donations but also has close ties with some super dodgy  New York businessmen which suggests he’s not as clean as he claims (read this article). P.s if you’re confused about corporate PAC money, basically when a candidate accepts millions in donations from powerful companies it’s a sort of bribe that the candidate will make choices that satisfy the needs of that company if they’re elected. So you can see how this could be problematic. Nixon also pledges to make affordable housing in New York “a basic human right,” fix the city’s notorious subway system, pass single-payer health care and cut a “green New Deal” that would invest in renewable energy. “New York deserves a leader as progressive as its people,” Nixon says. “And when I’m governor, she will be.”

Another woman who refused to accept corporate PAC money for her campaign was the insanely cool Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. The 28-year-old first-time candidate defeated Representative Joe Crowley in a major win earlier this year and became a worldwide sensation overnight. Ocasio-Cortez is a Bronx native, a working-class champion, a person of colour, and a former organiser for Bernie Sanders (show me a person who doesn’t love The Bern and I’ll show you a liar) who campaigned on the message that it was “time for generational, racial and ideological change.” And she’s not all talk either: literally days before her election, Ocasio-Cortez unexpectedly left New York entirely to travel to Texas to protest the separation of children from their parents who crossed the border illegally.

Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley also caused massive upsets (read: victory for hons everywhere), when they defeated their opponents in Minnesota and Massachusetts, respectively. Omar is a 36-year-old Somali refugee, and if she wins in November she will become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress. Pressley is also set to make history in November as the first black woman Massachusetts has ever sent to Congress. She campaigned with the slogan “Change Can’t Wait”, arguing that women’s right and immigration protection laws are on the line under the current administration and Americans can’t delay change any longer. She told press, “This is a disruptive candidacy, a grassroots coalition. It is broad and diverse and deep.” One of my favourite things that Pressley campaigned on was ending something called “cash bail” which unfairly targets poor people and minorities. Cash bail is the reason Harvey Weinstein was able to pay $1 million cash to walk free before his trial, whereas thousands of other people are unable to afford a few hundred dollars to escape jail time while they wait to be tried for crimes far less severe. When critics said Pressley wasn’t the right candidate to defeat Representative Michael Capuano, she responded, “My mother did not raise me to ask permission to lead.”  Watch this moving video of her discovering she had won.

And if you’re still not hyped up for the mid-terms (!!!!!), start following and loving someone who already has a seat at the table: Kamala Harris. The Democratic Senator of California is rumoured to be running for President in 2020 so learn her name now. Her parents were civil rights activists, she helped introduce a bill that gives free tampons to female inmates, and in 2016 she launched “Back on Track,” a program that offers low-level drug trafficking defendants job-training as an alternative to jail. The New York Times called her “one of the fiercest fighters on behalf of women you will ever find.” Just last week she made headlines when she ruthlessly questioned President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, on his conservative views on abortion. Harris flatly asked Kavanaugh if he knew of any government laws that hold power over a male’s body. It was a simple yes or no question that left the entire room speechless. Watch the exchange here.

Plus her interview on Ellen is like an intersection of everything I love in the world.