Democrats who find themselves wallowing, wrestling with last night’s midterm results ought to ask themselves what they wanted to see happen. What would success have looked like?
I wanted Gillum and Abrams to be our next governors of Florida and Georgia. I have friends who lost close races who are gutted by what ifs about ten votes here and ten votes there. But the Senate wasn’t really in play, and the president wasn’t going to be removed from office by a magical ballot initiative in California. So what were we really craving?
- There’s a Democratic woman Congresswoman in Oklahoma.
- There’s an openly gay Governor of Colorado.
- Massachusetts voters elected their first African American woman to Congress and saved an anti-discrimination bill.
- Texas is sending its first two Latinas to Congress.
- The youngest women ever elected to Congress.
- The first Muslim women in Congress.
- The first Native American women in Congress.
- 1.4 million citizens re-enfranchised in Florida.
- Maryland and Michigan passed same-day voter registration.
- Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah passed new anti-gerrymandering rules.
This isn’t some box-checking, identity politics, diversity exercise. This is our representative government getting more representative of more Americans. Including more people in our leadership who’ve been too often excluded or outright demonized. This is us bringing more ideas and more perspectives into the complex process of governing a complex country. This is progress. Yes, there’s unification to do. Yes, the party still needs to internalize the real why’s behind all the wins and losses so we can build a real platform of leadership. Yes, there’s still work to do to rebuild faith in the process. We still leave too many people out and wield the machinery of democracy as a weapon for political gain too often. Yes to all of that.
AND this is the first of many steps in a better direction back toward normal, healthy, authentic self government focused on what all Americans need and not what the rich and powerful want to stay rich and powerful that requires our sustained attention and participation.
Back to work: the next step isn’t automatic.