A year ago, as the reality of Trump’s narrow electoral victory set in, it was hard to be optimistic. But it seems this Tuesday’s election results were a clear referendum against Trump, his cabinet, and his politics. And, folks, we are just getting started!
The wins were primarily in blue and blue-leaning states, and have tipped the balance of power for progressives. In Washington state, we have a new chance to break the Republican blocs that have held real reform hostage for years. On the east coast, Virginians elected a Democrat governor and flipped a slew of seats in the house of delegates. Among them, Danica Roem beat Bob Marshall, who self-describes as “Virginia’s chief homophobe.”
Marshall’s filthy campaigning could not take away Roem’s dignity and aplomb. When asked what she thought of Marshall, she replied:
“I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
Let’s reflect on some highlights from the 2017 general elections.
Democrats Take Control of WA State Senate
The most expensive legislative contest in the state’s history was fought for the 45th district. More than $8.7 million was spent, including about $5.9 million by third-party groups. In the end, Manka Dhingra won, flipping the Washington Senate to majority Democrat. The Democrats now have control of the House of Reps, the Senate, and the Governor’s office.
The anti-tax bloc that has helped foster record wealth inequality in this state will find it a lot harder to press their dogma this next year. This means people like Team Diva and our cohorts at Washington Paramount Duty can make big inroads on education funding and tax equity for the middle class. WA state has the most regressive tax system in the country and it has crippled attempts to fund infrastructure and basic services equitably. Everything from education to health services to roads has suffered. Now is the time to push for reforms that can keep Washington competitive and livable for everyone.
Virginia Moves Forward
Danica Roem didn’t just take a hotly contested seat. She made history as the first openly transgender person to be elected and seated in a state legislature. The Virginia House of Delegates also got its first Latina and Asian-American members.
Meanwhile, the governor’s race was a total slap in the face to Trumpism. Democrat Ralph Northam won the day over Ed Gillespie, a dyed-in-the-wool Trumpist in both policy and tactics.
Transgender Candidates Win in Four States
There were many firsts for the transgender community this week. In addition to Danica Roem’s victory in Virginia, transgender candidates won in three other states. In Minneapolis, not one but TWO black trans won city council seats: Phillipe Cunningham and Andrea Jenkins. As Jenkins put it:
“My election is what resistance looks like.”
Lisa Middleton became the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California, winning a seat on Palm Springs’ City Council. Counselor, youth advocate and father Tyler Titus became the first openly trans person elected in Pennsylvania, for the Erie School Board.
New Jersey Goes True Blue
Ravi Bhalla is moving from a city council seat to the mayor’s office in Hoboken, becoming the state’s first Sikh mayor. Having experienced racial and religious discrimination firsthand, Bhalla has fought against systemic racism and profiling. Under Trump’s regime, it came as no surprise when flyers portraying Bhalla as a terrorist were circulated. But Bhalla rose above and united people instead of allowing the divisive rhetoric to explode. His election sends a clear message that Trump’s xenophobic playbook won’t always work.
Democrat Phil Murphy‘s victory in won the gubernatorial race to replace Chris Christie. As in Washington State, Democrats will now control the chief executive office and both legislative chambers. Being Ms. Diva Kim’s home state, she is extra joyful to be saying bye bye to Christie and his cronies.
The Takeaway for the Week
Republicans have had a busy week trying to defend alleged child molester Roy Moore, whose own U.S. Senate race is decided is next week. Let’s double down our efforts to support Democrat in Alabama Doug Jones. Still, they have had the opportunity to process the defeats and what they mean, and they are newly anxious about 2018. Trump’s administration is in shambles, and the Republican legislature’s open hostility to the middle class is getting a lot of intention.
This is all cause to celebrate but we once the celebrating is done we need to get back to work. Let’s make sure these wins across the country energize us to work even harder to flip other Republican districts with a truly inclusive, equitable platform. A few wins in off-year elections does not guarantee a wave on wins in 2018 something we crucially need to shift the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and House of Reps. Still, they are a reminder that minorities (and the minority party) have a chance to restore dignity and faith to our leadership.
This is what happens when we get organized and vote! Let’s keep the pressure on our elected officials to stand up to Trumpism while we mobilize for the midterm elections next year. For now, cheers to the victors!