How Women Won the 2018 Midterm Elections
BY EMILY KARANDY
Election night had citizens around the country glued to their televisions in anticipation for the results which would define the next two years in politics. Republicans prayed to keep threats at bay while Democrats prepared for a "Blue Wave," but was the Blue Wave as big as Democrats had hoped?
Democrats were prepared for a wave of blue to sweep across America on election night. As the midterms results show, the wave didn't hit as hard as some had anticipated. Some pivotal races illustrate this best. Representative Beto O'Rourke from Texas who was favored by many constituents, lost by some 200,000 votes to Senator Ted Cruz. In Florida, there was hope for the states first black governor, Andrew Gillum, who ultimately lost by 0.6% of the vote. What the blue wave Democrats had hoped for shifted into a purple wave as Republicans took Democratic seats in the Senate. Which begs the question, who really won the midterms?
It was a night of firsts for female politicians across the country. A record breaking number of 256 women won the primaries for House and Senate seats, according to the Times. More than 100 women will be joining Congress, a first for the House as women have never held more than 84 of the 435 seats. A blue wave was predicted, but it was nothing compared to the wave of women surging in politics.
Congress isn't the only place women made a series of firsts in the elections. New York elected its first female Attorney General, Letitia 'Tish' James, Tennessee elected its first female Senator, Representative Marsha Blackburn, and South Dakota elected its first female Governor, Kristi Noem. It wasn't just gender barriers women broke, many of the female candidates were women of color. Texas gained its first Hispanic congresswomen, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia. The midterms saw the first Muslim woman elected in Congress, Rashida Talib and Ilhan Omar, and the first two Native American women elected as well, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland. Many of the female candidates took firm stances on affordable healthcare for Americans, a liveable minimum wage, and access to education.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who gained major political traction during the primaries after beating incumbent Joe Crowley, expressed in her speech, "This is not a campaign, or an election day, but a movement -- a larger movement for social, economic, and racial justice in America." Cheers erupted from the crowd as Cortez remarked why she began her campaign: "We launched this campaign because no one was clearly, or effectively, talking about the role of corruption and money in politics."
Many women began mobilizing as a result of the 2016 election, and a frustration aimed at the Trump Administration's inability to represent the people. The blue wave stemmed from the same ideology that the nation's current administration isn't doing enough for its people. It is unclear what having a House majority means for both Democrats and Republicans, but one thing is clear: we are surely seeing that glass ceiling slowly chip away.
Lead Image Credit: Don Emmert / AFP / Getty