Election results review


As I feared, the Trump cult remains strong in the US, strong enough to increase its majority in the US Senate, even as it lost control of the House of Representatives. In Ohio, Republicans won all the statewide elected offices except for incumbent Democratic senator Sherrod Brown who won quite easily. No congressional seats switched parties either, so the status quo in Ohio was retained.

It was not all bad though, as Ryan Grim reports, and his account is worth reading in full.

Democrats, on the back of historic turnout — the product of two years of post-Trump grassroots organizing — seized control of a House of Representatives that had been meticulously gerrymandered in order to assure that they would never be able to do just that. Democrats also made major gains in state capitals, winning governorships in Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Maine.

The liberal energy on the ground, when it wasn’t canceled out by GOP turnout, gave Democrats full control of state governments in Colorado, New York, Maine, New Mexico, and Illinois. In Minnesota, the state House flipped to blue, as did both the New Hampshire state House and Senate, while Democrats flipped at least 10 seats in the Texas statehouse. The New York win ushered in not just incoming state Sen. Julia Salazar, but also at least a dozen senators backed by the Working Families Party, putting an end to an era of “three men in a room” rule in Albany.

Major progressive ballot initiatives were approved, too, with the most historic in Florida, where Amendment 4 got well more than the 60 percent it needed in order to restore the right to vote to people convicted of felonies. Elsewhere, voters expanded Medicaid in Idaho, raised the minimum wage in Missouri, and legalized weed in Michigan.

In races for governor, the defeats of Kris Kobach and Scott Walker in Kansas and Wisconsin respectively are worth celebrating. The bad news is that Andrew Gillum lost in Florida and Stacey Abrams is behind in Georgia. And Beto O’Rourke lost the senate race in Texas to the utterly awful Ted Cruz.

Meanwhile, a record number of women, over 100, have been elected to Congress, which should be celebrated even while noting that they still make up just about 20% of the membership. Some of the winning women were breaking new ground.

Political novice Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, claimed victory in Kansas and would be the state’s first Native American Congresswoman — and is one of two voted in. Davids is also slated to become the Sunflower State’s first openly LGBT congressional representative. Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American, also won a resounding victory in Minnesota. She and Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan, also made history as the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

So basically there was a mild ‘blue wave’ but no massive change. But since the Republicans have lost control of the House of Representatives, Trump will find it difficult to translate his hateful agenda into actual legislation.

But overall, the elections were a sad commentary on the pathetic state of elections in the US. Voting machines were broken, there were long lines, and there was confusion and chaos in many polling places. When you add to this all the attempts at gerrymandering, creating barriers to voting and registering to vote, and the deliberate purging and disenfranchising of voters for so many reasons, the whole election reveals the rotten state of democracy in the US, making a mockery of the frequent boasts that it is the best system in the world and a model for others. Elections in the US are an utterly corrupt, incompetent, inefficient, money-driven process.

Comments

  1. Mark Dowd says

    Who cares about weed? Michigan got independent redistricting (60% in favor) and permissive voting policies like automatic registration and same day registration (66% in favor) added to our constitution. Weed is probably the least important of the 3 we voted on.

  2. Mark Dowd says

    Also part of proposal 3 is allowing no-reason absentee voting and straight ticket voting. We used to have straight ticket (I remember doing that for Obama and Hilary), but it was conspicuously absent this time around for some (perfectly innocent I’m sure) reason. Our ballot sleeves still had instructions for how to do straight and mixed ticket voting printed on them.

  3. says

    Considering how well the Democratic Party did despite massive voter suppression tactics by the Repubs, the Blue Wave worked. Hell, Kemp in Georgia might still find himself in a runoff even with his blatant uncontrolled cheating.

    For the Senate, that was long viewed as “it would be nice to win, but we don’t expect to” because of the seats that were up. In two years, it’s mostly Republican seats being defended and it’ll be a presidential election year so that one should be wild.

  4. Sam N says

    Perfectly content for the Democratic party to hold the house. I also find myself wishing that Republicans actually took Federalism seriously, instead of abusing central authority when they have it, and whining when they don’t. I hate to think that conservative activist judges will be legislating from the bench due to a tiny minority of cultists that populate the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming. Puerto Rico is disenfranchised at the federal level, yet more US citizens live there than in all those states combined. A fucking disgrace.

  5. deepak shetty says

    It could have been worse , It could have been way better.
    Florida and Ohio are not good signs for Presidential elections in 2020.

    the defeats of Kris Kobach and Scott Walker in Kansas and Wisconsin respectively are worth celebrating

    Yeah! Fox news , are you’ll hiring?

  6. anat says

    Washington summary:
    – Maria Cantwell (D) easily defended her senate seat.
    – 6 House Democrats got re-elected.
    – 3 House Republicans got re-elected (1 was a shoo-in, 2 were in competitive races)
    – In the open 8th district Kim Schrier (D) is leading against Dino Rossi (R) by almost 6%.
    – Democrats will definitely increase their majority in the Legislature – mostly in the State House, but a bit also in State Senate.
    – The urban/rural polarization is increasing: Republicans are all but extinct in King county (home to almost 1/3 of the registered voters in the state), but they are stronger in the eastern parts of the state, to the point that Lisa Brown, Democratic challenger in the 5th Congressional district didn’t even win Spokane county, which she had previously represented as State Senator.
    – Initiative 1639, the gun control initiative, is passing at wide margins despite much investment by the NRA in opposition. Do is I-940 which will make stricter rules regarding deadly use of force by law enforcement.
    – Initiative 1631, which intended to place a fee on carbon, with the money raised to be used for renewable energy projects, public transportation project, and vulnerable communities, is failing, with only King, Jefferson, and San Juan counties in support. This initiative was (obviously) opposed by big oil. Initiative 1634, the most deceptively titled initiative on Washington ballots in about a decade is passing, with only King, Jefferson, and San Juan counties voting in majority against it. This initiative prevents localities from placing new taxes on food items. Sounds good, until you realize that this initiative was written and promoted by the soda companies, fearing soda taxes in Seattle. (Currently there is no sales tax in Washington on most food items, except things like soft drinks and snack foods.)
    – I-1631 was the second failed attempt to create major environmental policy via initiative. Maybe now the Democrats in the legislature will use their increased majority to do so via legislation? One can hope.

  7. Holms says

    First order of business for the new blue House: clean up voting procedures at the federal level. Not just district borders, but voting the voting equipment needs to be standardised across the nation, with none of this electronic uncheckable bullshit.

  8. anat says

    Update: Rossi conceded, so now Washington will have 7 Democratic representatives and 3 Republicans. (This is Rossi’s 4th loss, all 4 were to women.)

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