Some pundits called last night’s elections a blue wave, as Democrats just about ran the table in competitive districts coast-to-coast. Others called it a repudiation of Trump.
Let’s tell the truth here. Yes, the most of the victors in the 2017 general election had a (D) next to their name, but the people who made it happen were led by political newcomers. And a disproportionate number of those doing the hard work were women and people of color.
Diversity and campaign themes not fitting on the front of a red baseball cap were the real winners. Healthcare mattered. Confederate statues didn’t.
Virginia is the focus of post-election coverage, with much of the chatter focused on the unexpected margin of a 9 point victory by gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam.
However, the down-ballot results were the real stunner, with Democrats taking all the statewide races and flipping a 2-1 GOP majority in the state General Assembly to possibly taking control. (A series of recounts will decide the final result.)
What’s not being said about VA is that white men (63%) and women (51%) voted for the Republican candidate for governor. The winning margin for Democrats came thanks to high voter turnout by millennials and lopsided support from Black voters.
The win in the Old Dominion’s lower house was notable because Dems were able to overcome Gerrymandering; 53% of VA House of Delegate votes to the GOP’s 44% got them to a (probable) 50-50 split.
My inbox is already filled with fundraising appeals from the Dems. I’m so sorry, Tom, Joe, & [fill-in-the big-name Democrat]; I’ve got better ideas on where to put my resources.
I suppose the mainstream media types thought they were doing their job by yammering about Dems. The fact is, they missed the real enablers in the 2017 general election.
I’m talking about Emily’s List, Run For Something, Flippable, Sister District, Swing Left, Emerge America, Color of Change, Together We Will, Solidarity Sundays, and Indivisible, to name a few. All these groups had success stories to tell, whether it was GOTV volunteers, phone banks or fundraising.
And all these groups have women and/or people of color in their leadership.
First-time candidates normally win about 10% of the time; Run For Something’s candidates came in as winners in 40% of their races in Virginia. Hundreds of Indivisible groups (including San Diego) worked phone banks and sent texts to voters.
The Huffington Post list of last night’s winners is impressive for it diversity. Daily Kos has a collection of Tweets celebrating various women who won big. At Quartz, there’s Queer and brown US candidates overcame hateful attacks to win last night’s local elections. The Washington Post analysis says Women, black women, black men, Latinas, money in politics and the surge of Democratic voters all made some notable firsts.
There are dozens of stories to tell in appreciating the November 7 election. Here are two of my favorites:
Via the Associated Press:
A New Jersey politician who shared a meme on Facebook during January’s Women’s March in Washington asking whether the protest would be “over in time for them to cook dinner” is eating his words.
A woman who was angered by Republican John Carman’s remarks on Tuesday defeated his bid for a second term as an Atlantic County freeholder.
Democrat Ashley Bennett is a first-time candidate. The 32-year-old Egg Harbor Township resident works as a psychiatric emergency screener in the crisis department at Cape Regional Hospital.
Via CBS News:
Danica Roem, a transgender woman unseated one of Virginia’s longest serving and most socially conservative lawmakers Tuesday and is set to make history as the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature.
Roem, a Democrat and experienced newspaper reporter, beat Republican Del. Bob Marshall, who sponsored a bill this year that would have restricted the bathrooms transgender people can use. The race was one of the year’s most high profile, drawing national and international attention and big money to the northern Virginia House of Delegates district outside the nation’s capital.
When asked about Bob Marshall, Danica Roem said “I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
— Nicholas Trevino (@BlyTarbell) November 8, 2017
Over at Refinery29, the headline (correctly) was The 2017 Elections Prove That Women Are Putting Everyone on Notice
But you know who brought the damn house (and in some cases, the House) down? Women.
Last night, voters in Virginia elected the first two Latina women, the first Asian woman, the first openly lesbian woman, and the first openly trans woman to House of Delegates seats. In Minnesota, Andrea Jenkins became the first openly transgender person of color to win public office, where she’ll be serving the fine people of Minneapolis on the city council. Seattle elected Jenny Durkan, its first openly lesbian mayor and the first woman mayor of the city since the 1920s. Crystal Murillo, a 23-year-old recent grad, proved that young people are in this and took home a city council seat in populous Aurora, Colorado, defeating a 79-year-old incumbent. Democrat Vi Lyles will be the first Black woman mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, a key city in a major battleground state. And Sheila Oliver is now New Jersey’s first-ever Black lieutenant governor.
A contest for District Attorney in Philadelphia has implications for San Diego’s primary election in June.
Philadelphia Magazine’s website reports that “completely unelectable Progressive” Larry Krasner beat his law and order, police union-supported, Republican opponent by more than 40 points.
Most of Krasner’s opponents, including Grossman, were longtime prosecutors. Krasner, on the other hand, has never worked for the DA’s office a day in his life. He is a civil rights and defense attorney who has represented Black Lives Matter and Occupy Philly. He’s also sued the police department and City Hall more than 75 times, and promised never to seek the death penalty or bring cases based on illegal searches. Krasner once joked that he’d “spent a career becoming completely unelectable.”
When Krasner is sworn in next year, he won’t only be one of the most progressive politicians in Philly. He’ll also be one of the most progressive DAs in the country. Maybe even the most progressive, in fact. Earlier this week, the Atlantic wrote that “Krasner wouldn’t be the first ‘reform-minded’ prosecutor to take office, a term used to describe the growing cohort of district and state’s attorneys vowing to overhaul cash bail, abolish the death penalty, and crack down on police corruption. But he would be the most progressive in this pool, a distinction that takes on extra weight at a time when the Justice Department is moving right.”
Unlike most Philly DA elections, this one was being watched across the country. “Most interesting race of the day today, for me, is @Krasner4DA in Philly,” MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted. Many saw it saw as a test of progressives’ clout. That means that, at least in theory, Krasner’s success could have an impact on the trajectory of the Democratic Party throughout the nation.
Locally, District Attorney candidate Geneviéve Jones-Wright is cut from much the same political cloth as Krasner. Coming out of the public defender’s office, she offers San Diegans the opportunity to escape from the “nothing to see here” regime of Bonnie Dumanis and her anointed and appointed replacement Summer Stephan.
Meanwhile, they were having a really bad time at a certain TV news network last night:
Meanwhile, on Fox, the Clinton presidency is dealt another blow pic.twitter.com/ULYpuGWb16
— Megan Garber (@megangarber) November 8, 2017
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