The American midterms took place on November 6th this year and have arguably been the most historical midterms yet. For all there was immense disappointment in several states such as Texas, after they failed to do a much-anticipated flip, there were multiple notable “firsts” providing hope for the future of progressive American politics.
Voters managed to flip the house Democratic for the first time in eight years, much to Trump’s annoyance although states such as Texas, Arizona and Florida did remain red much – although some have seen this as a victory too. For example, in Texas, a consistently red state the Democrats only lost by a little less than 200,000 votes and young voter turnout went up by a huge 500%, clearly displaying the power the youth have in politics when participating.
In Kansas, the first ever native American woman was elected to congress. Sharice Davids is a member of the LGBT community also and is now Kansas’s first openly gay representative ever, as well as the first democrat to be elected in a decade. She managed to unseat her republican counterpart by a whopping 54% of votes.
Lucy McBath has also won a seat in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. McBath first became involved in politics after the death of her son Jordan Davis, who died at 17 after a racist motorist shot down and killed the young man at a gas station back in 2012, for simply playing his music. She originally envisioned only running for a place in the state legislature, but made the decision to take it further after the tragedy of the Parkland shooting. Her policies will lean towards gun control because of this, and this will be greatly helped by her several previous years of gun control activism.
The first openly gay male governor was also elected in the midterms in the state of Colorado. Jared Polis managed to beat his republic opponent by a massive six points in the midterms, which is no surprise due to his impressive political career so far – Polis has been a member of congress for a remarkable five terms. His policies of stopping climate change, gun control and universal healthcare managed to grab him 51.6% of the vote which is particularly outstanding considering Colorado’s notorious reputation of being the “Hate State”, for example take the case back in 2012 where a homophobic baker wouldn’t serve a gay couple a cake they ordered – however bear in mind this bigot now has an LGBT representative in congress! – progress people, progress.
The youngest congresswoman ever elected was also brought about by the midterms too. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a 29-year-old who obtained support from a colossal 78% of voters in her district. Ocasio-Cortez is known for her championing of the working class, women’s issues and POC issues and is a big believer in changing the whole system to benefit the many instead of holding up the 1% and that we can all contribute to that – “This is what is possible when every-day people come together in the collective realization that all our actions — no matter how small or how large — are powerful, worthwhile and capable of lasting change,”.
In another progressive victory for American politics, the first ever Muslim women were elected to congress, also. Rashida Tlaib won in the 13th Congressional District of Michigan and Ilhan Omar won in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District after facing opposition from Republican opponent Jennifer Zielinki. Rashida Tlaib celebrated a previous milestone in 2008 after being elected the first Muslim woman to a State Representative role where she contributed massively to “Meals on Wheels”, education funding and health clinic funding. Ilhan Omar came as a refugee to the USA more than 2 decades ago and started her political career in 2016 as the first Somali-American legislator in America.
All in all, many Americans would claim this election to have been one of the most successful ever in terms of voter turnout and progressive political landmarks, however, as you can probably guess, Trump wasn’t exactly pleased. Although, that should probably be a good indicator of the accountability of his cabinet that is away to come from the new and improved house of congress.
By Rachael Smith, Editor of World and Politics
Sources – CNBC, Time Magazine, The Kansas City Star, Splinter News