With almost every news outlet in America and Britain covering the US Mid-term elections on Tuesday November 6th, all eyes were once again on American politics. As a mid-term election, Congress was essentially up for grabs and while Republicans maintained control of the Senate and even gained a few seats, Democrats succeeded in flipping the house.
This election has been ground-breaking for a variety of reasons. There are now more women sitting on Congress than ever before with at least 13 women in Senate seats and 95 representing the house. These numbers are up from 10 and 84, respectively, and may even increase as final results come in. In addition to a large number of women in Congress, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the youngest women elected to Congress at only 29 years old!
In Michigan and Minnesota, the first two Muslim women to get elected to Congress won their congressional races. Michigan democrat Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labour party Ilhan Omar. Omar will also be the first refugee to serve Congress and will sit on the seat vacated by Republican Keith Ellison who was the first Muslim appointed to Congress.
In Colorado progressive moves are being made as well with the election of Democrat Jared Polis as the state’s Governor. He is the first openly gay person to be elected Governor in the United States and started his acceptance speech by introducing his partner as Colorado’s ‘first first-man.’
Was all this electoral progress just a pushback against the last American election in 2016? What do these midterms mean for the White House, Trump’s administration and America?
The biggest loss for the current Republican administration is the loss of the House. With the Democrats back in control of the House and Nancy Pelosi gearing up to be Speaker again, Trump is going to have a lot more difficulty getting legislation through Congress. Legislature such as the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has been a priority for this administration, will now be in the hands of Pelosi and the Democrats.
Democrats will also now take over as committee chair’s and will be able to push investigations into Trump that the Republicans were reluctant to pursue. For example, the House Ways and Means Committee will push for the release of Trump’s personal income tax returns that he has refused to make public and have stated that they would even be willing to subpoena the documents in court.
Socially this election has had a big effect as well. With the election of so many women and minorities to Congress it seems as if those who were losing steam in the fight against a President who has been called misogynistic finally got a win. While these wins didn’t extend to Georgia where democratic Stacey Abrams lost to Republican Brian Kemp by 1.6%, Abrams says that she has not given up and will not give up until every last vote is counted.
Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey endorsed Abrams in the weeks preceding the election and Obama’s endorsement of Stacey Abrams versus Trump’s endorsement of Brian Kemp made the race that much more politically charged. While Abrams hasn’t won the election, the closeness of such an election in a rather conservative state and by a politician who Trump called, “one of the most extreme, far-left politicians in the entire country,” is no small feat.
While losses in the Senate, Georgia and key districts throughout America were not ideal for Democrats, the gains that were made by minorities and liberal politicians are significant and the high voter turnout at this election is a clear sign that left-wing Americans have not given up. In a time when women have been shown that they do not matter to their President, this election is a hopeful sign that reminds us that women and minorities belong in Congress, being in powerful political positions and just showing up to vote really can help shape the future.