On Tuesday night, Democrats secured over 30 seats in the House of Representatives, giving them control over that chamber of Congress. While some were hoping for more, disappointed by losses in the Texas Senate race and in the Florida and Georgia gubernatorial races, this victory means a definitive end to dangerous Republican legislation affecting underserved groups. Now, the family separation agenda will be stopped in its tracks, the administration's anti-transgender policy won't be carried out, and gun regulation has a chance at making it to the floor.
We also saw many historic milestones, with many politicians being the first person of their gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation to be elected to their positions. For example, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be the youngest woman ever elected to the House, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be the first Muslim women in Congress, and Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will be the first Native American women. Many states such as Maine and South Dakota ushered in their first-ever female governors this week, and Jared Polis broke barriers by winning in Colorado to become the first openly gay man elected governor.
The results of the midterms won't fix everything, though. Flipping the House was one of the most important things that could be done to make sure that this administration doesn't pass any more racially-charged policies, but we still need to continue to organize and demonstrate on a national level in order to make sure that the interests of the people are protected. Stacey Abrams is still contesting the results of her election in Georgia, but we can't forget that the state Republican party went out of their way to suppress black voters that likely would have voted for her.
Her districts were gerrymandered beyond recognition, as were those of many other states, and municipal elections saw historic amounts of illegal purges of voter rolls. This means that we need to press our representatives to ensure the integrity of our democracy before going forward to 2020, be that through appointing independent committees to draw district lines or doing away with discriminatory voter ID laws, especially within the state of North Carolina.
Also, while midterm voter turnout was at a 50-year high, the Democratic strategy to encourage voters in their party to show up at the polls was lacking. A lot of the onus was put on communities of color that have a history of being ignored by politicians after they gain their initial support, but there was little to no attempt by liberals to reach across the aisle to conservative voters, leading to things like the Texas election being determined by some 71% of white men and 59% of white women who voted for Ted Cruz.
There are political lessons to be learned from the midterms, but above all, we need to remember to not become complacent now that conditions have potentially improved. Activist groups will almost definitely be working as hard as ever, and we should join them as they continue to resist oppressive forces in our democracy and fight for those who have no voice in our current system. There will be a time to rest, and we'll know it when we reach it, but for now, we can't get lazy.