What Just Happened?The Year of the Woman 2.0

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hugs a supporter (Getty Images)

Our Take

Yesterday’s midterm elections were one of the most important of our lifetimes. Most people tend to pay attention only to presidential elections, but critical governorships and congressional seats were up for grabs. As former President Barack Obama said on Twitter, “the character of our country [was] on the ballot.” While Democrats weren’t able to take the Senate, the era of one-party rule by Trump is over with crucial gains in the House. And there were big wins across the country, too. Deb Haaland in New Mexico and Sharice Davids in Kansas became the first Native American women to be elected to Congress. Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. In Florida, voters passed Amendment 4, which will restore the voting rights of people who were convicted of felonies (a shocking 1.4 million people). The votes are still being counted, but last night more than 100 women were elected to Congress—and more than 100 LGBTQ candidates won federal, state, and local races in what people are calling a “rainbow wave.” These bright flares of hope are the result of months of hard work on the ground and millions of voters feeling engaged and turning out. We have a long way to go to make sure everyone’s vote counts, but last night was a powerful start to taking back the democratic process.

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MEDIA ROUNDUP

1. No matter who wins or loses, this has been a historic election cycle for women. [New York  Times]

2. For the first time ever, more than 100 women have been elected to Congress. [ABC News]

3. Forty-two women of color were elected. [Los Angeles Times]

4. Jennifer Wexton won Virginia’s 10th District House race, flipping the seat from Republican to Democrat. [Roll Call]

5. Ayanna Pressley officially became Massachusetts’s first Black Congresswoman. [The Boston Globe]

6. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. [BuzzFeed News]

7. Safiya Wazir, who escaped Afghanistan as a child, was elected to New Hampshire’s House of Representatives. She’s the first former refugee to a win a seat in New Hampshire’s legislature. [Concord Monitor]

8. Jahana Hayes, a former Teacher of the Year, will be the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress. [Hartford Courant]

9. Jared Polis is now Colorado’s governor—and the country’s first openly gay governor. [The Denver Post]

10. Sharice Davids became the first Native American woman elected to Congress, and Kansas’s first lesbian Congresswoman. [The Kansas City Star]

11. Texas is sending its first two Latinas to Congress. [The Texas Tribune]

12. Letitia James became New York’s first Black woman attorney general. [amNewYork]

13. Beto O’Rourke lost the Texas Senate race, but he may still lead a blue wave in Texas. [Vox]

14. Though she didn’t win, approximately 96,000 voters in Vermont cast their ballots for Christine Hallquist, who would’ve been the first transgender governor in U.S. history. [Broadly]

15. Florida has passed Amendment 4, restoring voting rights for more than 1 million previously incarcerated people. [Miami Herald]

16. Massachusetts “secured the first-ever statewide victory for transgender protections at the ballot box.” [Boston magazine]

17. Nashville passed an amendment that will create a police oversight board. [Nashville Scene]

18. Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah passed ballot measures that will extend Medicaid benefits under the Affordable Care Act. Almost 300,000 low-income Americans will have now access to healthcare. [NPR]

19. Michigan approved a constitutional amendment that includes automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, no-reason absentee voting, and straight-ticket voting. [Detroit Metro-Times]

 

These bright flares of hope are the result of months of hard work on the ground and millions of voters feeling engaged and turning out. We have a long way to go to make sure everyone’s vote counts, but last night was a powerful start to taking back the democratic process.

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