It’s impossible to overstate the bleak and demoralizing year we’ve suffered since Donald Trump was “elected” president. I still almost can’t bring myself to type it in a sentence. Every new day has unleashed some fresh horror as Trump has continued his relentless attacks on people of color, immigrants, Muslims, trans people, women, the poor, the foundations of our democracy, and reality itself. One of the most distressing things about 2017 is that that no one has been willing or able to stop the tide of the Trump administration. Each executive order, each proclamation via tweet: nearly all of his actions have gone unchecked and empowered the most loathsome people in this country to make their bigotry even more public. Yesterday’s 2017 election seemed like it would be more of the same, especially as the polls in the Virginia governor’s race tilted toward Republican Ed Gillespie, who cozied up to Trump and his white supremacist rhetoric the longer his campaign went on.
But no! Holy cats, no! Yesterday’s election was a sweeping victory around the country, at all levels of governance, for progressives who stand against Donald Trump. The Washington Post called it “a judgment on President Trump and the politics of polarization.” The New York Times said it was the “first forceful rebuke of President Trump and his party.” The Los Angeles Times named it “a night of political retaliation against President Trump.” And good ol’ CNN predicted that “Republicans will wake up Wednesday in a nightmare.” Welcome, Republicans!
Here are the things we won last night
+ Jenny Durkan will become Seattle’s first lesbian mayor.
— GLAAD (@glaad) November 8, 2017
+ In Virginia, trans woman Danica Roem unseated 25-year incumbent Bob Marshall, the very guy who wrote the bill to ban trans students from the bathrooms that match their gender identities. In total, four women beat four white men (three incumbents) in VA’s House of Delegates races.
— Will Drabold (@WillDrabold) November 8, 2017
+ Virginia also elected its first Latinas to the state House. Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala both unseated Republicans.
Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala both defeated Republican incumbents tonight to become the first-ever Latinas elected to the Virginia House of Delegates! #ElectionDay #VirginiaElection pic.twitter.com/6XApF5WTrO
— Women's March (@womensmarch) November 8, 2017
+ Kathy Tran became the first Asian American to be elected to the VA state legislature.
Kathy Tran came to the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam when she was an infant. Tonight, she became the first Asian American woman elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Congrats @kathykltran! pic.twitter.com/NSynRwHJ7d
— Women's March (@womensmarch) November 8, 2017
+ In Minneapolis, Andrea Jenkins became the first openly trans woman of color to be elected to the city council of a major U.S. city.
To all of my Trans & Gender Diverse family, I see you, I hear you & I will be there for you. We must resist. We must be intersectional!
— Andrea Jenkins (@andreaforward8) February 23, 2017
+ Yesterday saw huge wins for black politicians at the mayoral level.
African Americans were elected mayor for 1st time:
Statesboro GA, Jonathan McCollar
Georgetown SC, Brendan Barber
Milledgeville GA, Mary Parham Copelan
Helena MT, Wilmot Collins
Cairo GA, Booker Gainor
St Paul MN, Melvin Carter
Charlotte NC –> Vi Lyles, 1st Black female mayor
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) November 8, 2017
+ In Georgia, two Democrats unseated Republicans in state legislature races. From Vox:
The result in HD-117 should be particularly alarming for Republicans … Democrats are eager to take a big swing at the 2018 gubernatorial election and — if they can win it — have more influence on the post-2020 redistricting process and thus a better shot at the legislature. Special elections only tell you so much, but tonight’s wins bring Georgia Democrats that much more hope of winning a year from now.
+ Women with no political experience unseated the men who mocked them. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Ashley Bennett, 32, a psychiatric emergency screener from Egg Harbor Township who showed up at an Atlantic County Freeholder’s meeting to protest comments made by Freeholder John Carman mocking the Women’s March, and then decided to run for his seat, knocked Carman off the board Tuesday.
+ Tyler Titus was elected to the Eerie School Board.
— LGBTQ Victory Fund (@VictoryFund) November 8, 2017
+ New Jersey elected Democrat Phil Murphy as governor, which, as Rachel Maddow noted last night, was due in large part to Chris Christie being “the most unpopular politician in the history of political polling in the United States.” NJ also elected Sheila Oliver, the state’s first black Lt. Governor. At Murphy’s victory party, Oliver said, “This may not be the first glass ceiling I have broken, but it is certainly the highest. And I hope somewhere in this great state of New Jersey, a young girl of color is watching tonight and realizing that she does not have a limit to how high she can go.”
Democrats make history again as Sheila Oliver is elected the next Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey to serve alongside her running mate Phil Murphy. pic.twitter.com/N3orcU0YKN
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 8, 2017
+ Ravinder Bhalla of Hoboken, NJ became the first Sikh American to be elected mayor of a major U.S. city.
— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) November 8, 2017
+ Lisa Middleton became the first openly trans person to be elected to a non-judicial post in California.
— Casey Tolan (@caseytolan) November 8, 2017
+ Dems flipped governing trifectas in New Jersey and Washington. From New York Magazine:
In addition to an array of wins in Virginia, New York, Florida, and elsewhere on Tuesday, Democrats took full advantage of limited opportunities to begin to reverse lopsided Republican control of state governments. Going into this off-year election, Republicans had “trifecta” control of the executive branch and both legislative chambers in 26 states, while Democrats had just six. Now Democrats have two more.
This is a wacky thing to say, but I’m not sure that’s even all the good news to come out of yesterday. If I missed anything, let me know. In the meantime, don’t relax! We’ve got to keep resisting at every level in every way!