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.