By Barbra Streisand.
Last night, voters signed a referendum against Donald Trump and his regressive and divisive policies. His unpopularity and the resistance from activists helped fuel Democratic victories across the nation. The victories had both breathe and depth from school boards and city councils to Governor’s mansions.
The most watched election was in Virginia where Democrat Ralph Northam far exceeded late polling to win a resounding victory for Governor. Democrats swept the other statewide offices in the state including Justin Fairfax the newly elected Lt. Governor. Health care, education and infrastructure were driving issues. Down ballot the Democrats picked up 16 seats in the gerrymandered legislature effectively tying the House of Delegates, pending recounts. It included the first transgender candidate who defeated a self- proclaimed “homophobe.” She campaigned on local issues like fixing roads. Two Latinas and a former refugee from Vietnam were among the 16 Democrats, another first.
In Virginia, New American Majority Voters – unmarried women, people of color, and young people – participated in higher numbers through absentee voting and early voting than they had in 2013. The numbers are astounding; NAM voting through absentee and early voting is up 57% across the board, and among people of color, up 79%. We look forward to what numbers continue to show in coming days as more deep-dive analysis comes in.
In New Jersey, former Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy won a resounding victory for Governor giving the Democrats control of the state for the first time in 8 years. Sheila Oliver became the first African American Governor in the state’s history. Murphy ran an unabashedly progressive campaign calling for a $15 minimum wage, marijuana legalization. and a state investment bank.
In Seattle, Democrats won the contested state Senate district in suburban Seattle giving Democrats total control of the state. The West Coast states now stand as a blue wall resisting the agenda of Donald Trump and the GOP. In Georgia Democrats flipped two seats in the state legislature and one in the state Senate ending the GOP supermajority.
In Maine, voters overwhelmingly rebuked the GOP Governor ‘s veto and approved Medicaid expansion. In municipal races, African Americans were elected Mayors of Charlotte, North Carolina, Statesboro, Georgia, and Helena, Montana. A Latina is now mayor of Santa Barbara, California and a Sikh gentleman in Hoboken, New Jersey.
The victories we saw last night were not just of those brave individuals who put their names on a ballot. Rather, the victories were for Americans who fought back against racist narratives about Hispanic gangs and sanctuary cities in Virginia. The victories are even more powerful for those who had “terrorist” stamped over their pictures on fliers in small cities in New Jersey, who still won their races. It shows Americans will stand up and resist both the divisive rhetoric and policies of Donald Trump and the GOP. It offers fresh hope for future elections with new candidates surfacing all across the country. It challenges all of us to keep resourcing both progressive candidates and the independent issue and constituency organizations that support them.