Nov 6 2018 Election Victories We're Celebrating

Democratic and progressive activists all across the country worked our asses off in this election, and achieved some really important victories. Here’s an inventory of just some of the highlights:

The House

We took back the House. Let’s say that again because it sounds so sweet: We took back the House! This restores Democratic power to check the Administration, investigate its participants’ crimes, and initiate legislation. Even legislation that cannot pass the (still-Republican-held, unfortunately) Senate can make important statements about where our Representatives stand.

The diversity represented by the House has also reached historic heights, with 31 women newly elected to the House, including the first two Muslim Congresswomen, the first Latina Congresswoman from Texas, the first Black Congresswoman from Massachusetts, and the first two Native American Congresswomen.

The Senate

We didn’t take back the Senate, but that was always a long shot—Democrats had more seats to defend than Republicans did. But we did take some seats, and if we keep this momentum up into 2020, we can take the Senate then.

Two of these are still undecided—they’re very close and final results aren’t settled yet as of Wednesday evening.

State offices

The Republican strategy that got us here was to win state governments so they could gerrymander Congressional districts, suppress the vote, and (if they win enough of them) potentially even amend the Constitution as the right wing sees fit.

Our strategy must include running that in reverse: Winning state governments and restoring and expanding the franchise, and enacting independent redistricting commissions like California’s in every state that doesn’t already have them, whether legislatively or at the ballot box, to undo and prevent gerrymandering.

Consequently, we celebrate every flip of a Governorship or state legislative house, every breakage of a Republican trifecta (Governor and both houses), and every election of a Democratic trifecta.

Briefly, people elected six Democratic trifectas (CO, IL, ME, NM, NV, NY), broke four Republican trifectas (KS, MI, NH, WI), elected three Democratic supermajorities (CT plus two in OR), broke three Republican supermajorities (MI, both in NC, and PA), and elected seven newly Democratic governors (IL, KS, ME, MI, NM, NV, WI).

Statewide propositions

Ballot initiatives can be important checks against government overreach and bypasses of political gridlock. They can also be tools of oppression—witness California’s Prop 8 back in 2008, and its (fortunately defeated) successor in Massachusetts this year, Question 3—but it’s important to remember and use their power to expand people’s rights when politicians in office try to do the opposite.

Three red states, Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah, voted to expand Medicaid, overruling their Republican politicians who had blocked expansion, and potentially covering healthcare for half a million Americans. Maine’s and Kansas’s new Democratic governors are likely to follow suit.

Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri—and possibly Utah, but votes there are still being counted—voted to take redistricting out of the hands of state legislatures and give the responsibility to independent commissions. California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission has ended gerrymandering in our state, and is the model for most of the redistricting measures that passed on Tuesday.

California

  • Statewide Proposition 5 would have expanded the portability of Prop 13’s property tax break for longtime homeowners, further defunding already-starved local governments. We’re glad to see it defeated.

  • Proposition 6 was largely a get-out-the-vote effort by the California Republican Party—the Party was the top donor and several Congressional candidates’ campaigns were among its top 10. It would have repealed the gas tax increase that was passed by the state legislature, and also restrict the legislature from ever increasing it again without a proposition. Hence the appeal to tax-cut-loving Republicans, but the tax increase was already funding numerous vital transportation repair and improvement work, which would have had to stop if that funding had been repealed.

Arkansas

Colorado

Florida

Idaho

Louisiana

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Missouri

Nevada

Utah

Washington

Local races

Looking forward

These victories aren’t the end of anything. What we have won, we must defend. What we have lost, we will fight for again.

But as we take back state governments, we check the Republicans’ ability to suppress the vote. People can lobby their Democratic state representatives and Governors to protect the vote, expand the franchise, reverse and end gerrymandering, and ensure that people can hold their governments accountable.

And as we take back Congress, we check Trump and the Republicans’ ability to roll out oppressive policies and actions at the federal level. Democrats can launch investigations with all the powers of the majority, and set the legislative agenda with the Speaker’s gavel.

This is not the end. This is the beginning.

Come join us.