Stess Test for American Democracy
The last two years have been a stress test for American democracy, and they’ve revealed this country and its worst and at its best. We’ve seen how quickly an entire political party, with shockingly few exceptions, has capitulated to authoritarianism, white-nationalist demagogy and naked cruelty. Trump’s Republican Party has shattered whatever was left of the civic compact binding this country together, abandoning American ideals that transcend blood and soil, and American values that transcend brute power. It’s fitting that the president is closing this political season with an ad so racist that even Fox News has pulled it off the air.
Yet if the past two years have given lie to the myth of American exceptionalism — a system that elevates a person like Trump is by definition not the best in the world — they have also revealed an enduring strain of actual American greatness. Movements like Trump’s thrive on social decay and atomization. Millions of Americans who oppose Trump have responded to him with an enormous civic revival. They have marched, organized Resistance groups, and reinvigorated American politics at every level. In the face of an existential threat to democracy, they’ve rededicated themselves to its practice.
The sheer effort citizens who care had to put into this election to wrest control from a psychotic government was truly remarkable and makes me emotional to contemplate and gives me hope for the future. Believe me, I worked hard on this election too, and we did a lot of great things:
1. The Democrats will take control of the U.S. House of Representatives next year for the first time since January 2011.
2. The Democrats flipped the House and Senate in New Hampshire, and the Senate in Colorado, Maine, and New York.
3. The Democrats won the Trifecta (controlling the governor’s office and both chambers of the legislature) in Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, and New York. In Oregon and Nevada, they won supermajorities in both chambers.
4. The Republicans lost their Trifectas in Kansas and Michigan.
5. The Republicans lost their supermajorities in the North Carolina legislature.
6. The deep red states of Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska used the ballot to expand Medicaid.
7. Florida voted to restore felons’ voter rights.
8. Paul LePage’s reign of terror in Maine came to a decisive end with the election of Democrat Janet Mills as the new governor.
9. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was denied a third term in office when he lost to Democrat Tony Evers.
10. Democrat Tom Wolf was decisively reelected as governor of Pennsylvania.
11. Gretchen Whitner was elected governor of Michigan, flipping control to the Democrats.
12. Democrat J.B. Pritzker trounced Governor Bruce Trauner of Illinois, flipping control to the Democrats.
13. Democrat Tim Walz was elected governor of Minnesota.
14. The loathsome Kris Kobach was defeated in the Kansas governor’s race by Democrat Laura Kelly.
15. Democrat Jared Polis, who is openly gay, was elected governor of Colorado.
16. Michelle Lujan Grisham was elected governor of New Mexico, flipping control to the Democrats.
17. Steve Sisolak will become the first Democratic governor of Nevada in twenty years.
18. The Democrats retained the governorships of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, and California.
19. In addition to winning the governorships of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin (the three key Trump states of 2016), the Democrats also won the U.S. Senate races in those states, too.
20. Russian stooge Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California was defeated.
21. The Republican chairman of the House Rules Committee and former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, was defeated.
22. The Democrats won the seat currently held by Mark “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” Sanford of South Carolina.
23. The Democrats won Eric Cantor’s former seat in Virginia, currently held by the loathsome Dave Brat.
24. The Democrats now control ten of New Jersey’s twelve congressional seats, and an eleventh is nearly tied.
25. Democratic women swept the Philly suburbs winning three seats there as well as another in the Lehigh Valley.
26. The Democrats now control seven of Virgina’s eleven congressional seats, driven by the victories of three women.
27. Democratic women flipped two southern Florida congressional seats.
28. Democratic women flipped two of Iowa’s congressional seats.
29. Democratic women flipped a seat in Kansas and a seat in Oklahoma, and a man flipped a seat in Utah.
30. Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk made famous by her refusal to sign marriage licenses for gay couples, lost her bid for reelection.
31. Missouri voted to hike the minimum wage.
32. There were fifteen House candidates that President Trump went out of his way to endorse who lost.
33. Though Beto O’Rourke narrowly lost his bid to oust Sen. Ted Cruz, the Democrats picked up congressional seats in Texas and made significant gains in the legislature.
34. Democrats Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota will become the first Muslim women to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
35. Ayanna Pressley was elected and will be the first black woman to serve in Congress from Massachusetts, and perhaps the first in all of New England.
36. Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico were elected and will be the first Native American women to serve in Congress. Davids will also be first openly LGBTQ member of the Kansas congressional delegation.
37. Missouri and Utah legalized marijuana for medical purposes and Michigan legalized recreational use.
38. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on New York, 29, will become the youngest woman to serve in Congress, followed closely by Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, also 29.
39. Texas is sending its first Latinas to Congress: Veronica Escobar of El Paso and Sylvia Garcia of Houston.
40. It’s looking like Lucy McBath will do what Jon Ossoff could not and win Georgia’s suburban 6th District.
41. In a rare Senate pickup, Jacky Rosen defeated Dean Heller in Nevada.
42. Democrat Mike Espy forced a December runoff in one of the two Mississippi Senate elections, though it will be an uphill climb to win it.
43. The Democrats will control one Senate seat in West Virginia and one (hopefully) in Montana for another six years.
44. Michigan changed their Constitution to ban gerrymandering
45. Colorado, Missouri and (I think) Utah also passed redistricting reform.
46. As frustrating and abusive as the Trump administration has been, people didn’t turn to violence but instead put their trust in our representative democracy and turned out to vote in big numbers.
47. (Selfishly) for the first time since I moved out of Philly into the suburbs, I will be represented by a Democratic state Rep, state Senator and U.S. congressperson.
48. If you’re into this type of thing, California voters overwhelmingly required that all eggs sold in the state come from cage-free hens by 2022.
49. The dead pimp won (hat tip to Jon Ralston).
50. Can you say, “Good afternoon, Chairwoman Maxine Waters”?