The following post was written by AHEAD member Jenny Donley.
When I finally went to bed Tuesday night I felt heartbroken. Leads that had made me so giddy earlier in the evening were disappearing one-by-one the later I stayed up obsessively refreshing the NYT poll results. On Wednesday afternoon I started pulling together my thoughts for a blog post about the outcome of so much hard work. I lost my focus when tragedies occurred in California with yet another shooting massacre as well as the devastating fires that have killed at least two dozen people and destroyed thousands of homes. (Plus Trump’s awful statement in regards to the fires.) The firing of Sessions and the subsequent Nobody is Above the Law rallies further derailed my post-election thoughts. I found that as the week went on, newer articles about the election filled me with pride and hope, while at the same time articles about the shooting, the fires, and the attorney general reminded me of the battle that we are still in the middle of fighting, and why we must be steadfast in continuing to fight it.
The subject line for this post is from a statement Former President Barack Obama made this past Wednesday. The statement itself also includes what I feel is one of the most important takeaways from this midterm election: “America will be better off for it for a long time to come.” (CNN article summarizing Obama’s 11/7/18 statement: “Obama urges reconciliation, praises Democrats for midterm victories“)
Yet almost a week later Democrats are still asking one another if it was the Blue Wave we had hoped for, and whether or not we won. After several days and sleepless nights spent scouring for articles, I have concluded that we did win overall, and I am proud of everything we accomplished. If you have time to scan the articles included below in the Blue Wave Bibliography that I’ve curated, you’ll hopefully walk away feeling the same.
Blue Wave Bibliography
To begin with, an article that addresses what it was like to watch the returns on Tuesday evening:
- “‘I Don’t Even Know What to Think’: The Whiplash of Watching the Election Results” (NYT) – Favorite quote from this piece: Ms. David was sounding a common note: A single American may not have power over Florida, or Texas, or the presidential election, or the races around Philadelphia, but that does not mean the only option is to sit back and despair. That is why so many joined the movement in Pennsylvania, because “it’s therapy,” as Ms. Dabruzzo said: Because doing something is not only better than sitting at home, but, as Mr. Lamb’s election showed, it can actually pay off.
Articles that highlight/prove how AMAZING this election was on a national level:
- “Why Democrats’ Gain Was More Impressive Than It Appears” (NYT) – Caption summarizes: “They are poised to win more seats this year than they did in 2006, despite far fewer opportunities.”
- “We Won” (podcast from Pod Save America) – Includes an extensive bibliography with sections covering Democrats flipping the House, statewide victories, challenges in the Senate, Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Andrew Gillum and Beto O’Rourke, Trump’s “press conference meltdown” and the firing of Sessions.
- “Republicans Dominate State Politics. But Democrats Made a Dent This Year” (NYT) – Reflects on the many wins, as well as the losses that are likely due at least in part to gerrymandered districts drawn by Republicans in 2010. “That has haunted Democrats the entire decade,” said Tim Storey, director of state services for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
- “On Politics: The Biggest Stories of the Week” (NYT) – Caption summarizes: From a monumental Election Day to a shake-up in the Trump administration, it’s been a busy week in American politics. Here are some of the biggest stories you might have missed (and some links if you’d like to read further).
- “Sizing Up the 2018 Blue Wave” (NYT) – Really interesting interactive maps from the NYT.
Articles summarizing the incredible FIRSTS that came out of Tuesday’s election results:
- “Night of Firsts: Sharice Davids, Ilhan Omar and More Make History in Midterm Elections” (NYT) – First paragraph summarizes: There were historic firsts across the country on Tuesday night, as voters chose from a set of candidates that was among the most diverse ever to run in the United States. Native American, Muslim and African-American women, and L.G.B.T. candidates, were among those who broke barriers.
- “A night of firsts: the candidates who made history in the 2018 midterms” (Guardian) – First paragraph summarizes: Groundbreaking campaigns have broken barriers this election, with historic candidates changing the face of Congress and statehouses across the US. Women have run in record numbers, and Native Americans, Muslims, Latinos, immigrants, millennials and LGBT candidates have already made history with their campaigns.
- “16 reasons to be excited about the midterm Rainbow Wave” (CNN) – Beginning of piece: In this election, we witnessed the end of two years of one-party rule and the beginning of a new Democratic Party: younger, browner, cooler; with more women, more veterans and the ability to contest and win races from the deep South to the Midwest. We can debate whether it was a Blue Wave. But in the US House of Representatives, at least, the popular vote margin — at more than nine percentage points — was larger than in the Newt Gingrich wave of 1994 and the Tea Party wave of 2014. I call this torrent of inclusive populism “The Rainbow Wave.”
- “Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar Win, Become First Muslim Women Elected To Congress” (Huffington Post) – House seats in Michigan and Minnesota were won by these two female Muslim Democrats.
- “A Record Number of Women Were Elected to the House by a Wide Margin” (Time) – Article was published in the wee hours of Wednesday morning when returns were still coming in, but the impact was already clear.
- “Jared Polis becomes first openly gay person elected governor in America” (Vox) – First line says it all: Jared Polis has won the Colorado governor’s race, becoming the first openly gay person to be elected governor in America.
Articles about the many wonderful things that YOUR hard work helped make happen in Ohio:
- “Sherrod Brown reelected to US Senate: old-time labor liberalism triumphs over Ohio’s rightward drift” (Vox) – My summary: Ohio loves Sherrod. From the article: Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown secured his reelection to the US Senate, winning in a state that Donald Trump carried by 8 points in 2016.
- “Want To Beat Trump In 2020? Look At Sherrod Brown’s Big Win In Ohio” (Huffington Post) – Caption summary: Of all the Democrats who could play a part in the next presidential campaign, the Ohio populist emerged from Election Day with the most to brag about.
- Quote from Sherrod Brown: “Populists are not racists,” he said. “We do not appeal to some by pushing down others. We do not lie. We do not engage in hate speech. And we do not rip babies from their families at the border. … We will never ever give up the hallowed ground of patriotism to the extremists — at the statehouse and in the White House.
- “First Black Woman Elected To Ohio Supreme Court” (WOSU Public Media) – Judge Melody J. Stewart, a Democrat, is the first African American woman to be elected to the Ohio Supreme Court.
- “Voters bring historic change to Ohio Supreme Court” (Cleveland.com editorial) – In addition to Judge Melody J. Stewart’s momentous election as the first African American woman elected to the Ohio Supreme Court, Democrat Michael P. Donnelly was also elected to the Ohio Supreme Court. The seven current Ohio Supreme Court positions are all held by white Republicans.
- 5 Ohio House seats won by Democrats (source: Ohio Democratic Party on Facebook) – Mary Lightbody, Casey Weinstein, Phil Robinson, Allison Russo, and Beth Liston all won Ohio House seats.
- 4 Democratic members of the U.S. Congress were re-elected (source: Ohio Democratic Party on Facebook) – Joyce Beatty, Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, and Tim Ryan won re-election to Congress.
It is still not decided for Florida, Georgia, and Arizona:
- “See How Close the Results Are in Florida, Georgia and Arizona” (NYT) – Two races for governor and two for Senate are not yet conclusive.
- “Stacey Abrams and the Democrats Want Brian Kemp—or, Better Yet, Someone Else—to Count All the Votes in Georgia” (New Yorker) – This article brings to light many of the experiences that Georgia voters had with absentee voting as well as day-of voting. Voting machines in working condition were left to continue gathering dust in warehouses while Georgians stood in lines for hours upon hours in order to vote at precincts with nowhere near enough machines. Caption summarizes where the governor’s race was the day after the election: On Wednesday morning, Abrams’s campaign estimated that thousands of provisional ballots and late returns remained uncounted, in addition to the more than fifteen thousand absentee ballots.
- “Voter suppression really may have made the difference for Republicans in Georgia” (Vox) – Covers the general election results as well as voter suppression in Georgia and North Dakota.
- “Democrats Discover New Path to Beating Trump in Deep South” (Bloomberg) – Important quote from Susan MacManus, professor emeritus of political science at the University of South Florida: “Yes, they didn’t win now,” MacManus said. “But the changing makeup of these larger generations is going to expedite more people of color running and winning.”
Democrats in Texas aren’t giving up, and neither should we:
- “Beto Voters In Texas Aren’t Heartbroken — They’re Ready For The Next Fight” (Buzzfeed) – This quote from the article is the best summary of the situation for Democrats in Texas: “We awoke a beast,” one Houston-area volunteer told me. “It’s not going back to sleep.”
- “The Success in Beto’s Failure” (NYT opinion piece) – From the article: O’Rourke gave Texans who have long felt disenfranchised a glimpse of what could be…It wasn’t all for nothing: The enthusiasm for Mr. O’Rourke most likely helped less glamorous and less moneyed candidates win down the ballot. The youthful attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher beat the self-satisfied Republican Congressman John Culberson, who had represented West Houston since 2001. In North Dallas, the Democrat Colin Allred, a black former N.F.L. player and civil rights attorney, defeated the Republican Pete Sessions, who had held office for 22 years, was chairman of the House Rules Committee and had sworn vengeance on Obamacare. Maria Teresa Kumar, the president of Voto Latino, which mobilizes Latino voters, tonight said that her organizations saw a 500 percent increase in registration among young Latino voters in Texas, the state that previously had the lowest voter participation of all.
We aren’t done fighting. We will probably never be done fighting, but we may sometimes need to remind ourselves and each other of the progress we have made. One of my favorite quotes is by Desmond Tutu, and I wish to share it as a conclusion to this post. We may often feel lost in these deepest of red parts of Ohio where we have built our lives, regardless of whether we are from here or arrived here. It reminds me, each time I read this quote, that what we do here in Hardin County and Allen County DOES matter and DOES make a difference.
“Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu