These 2017 Election Victories Are An Ironic Slap In The Face To Far-Right Candidates
On Tuesday, many state and local elections took place around the United States. Progressive candidates scored sweeping victories in many of these races — and some of these victories constituted important electoral firsts for women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals. Many took to social media to acknowledge and celebrate these wins and, indeed, one tweet about the 2017 elections' wave of progressive victories really epitomizes why they were so remarkable.
This tweet from Charlotte Alter, a national correspondent at Time, reflects on the ironies of the election and demonstrates that the trend toward conservatism seen in the 2016 presidential election may be ending. As Atler put it:
A trans woman beat the guy who introduced the bathroom bill. A gun victim's boyfriend beat a delegate with an "A" grade from the NRA. A civil rights lawyer who sued the police department just became the top prosecutor in Philadelphia. Something's happening here, folks.
Many people expressed strong agreement with Alter's tweet. One user noted that "When you put together millions of snowflakes [a term sometimes used by conservatives to disparagingly describe liberals], you get the storm of the century." Another user noted "I am so stoked that I've got goosebumps!! There is hope for America again!"
Tuesday's election was indeed a boon for Democrats. In Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam won a hotly-contested governor's race against Republican Ed Gillespie. Democratic candidate Justin Fairfax also secured the role of lieutenant governor, and Democrat Mark Herring was reelected attorney general. Many seats in Virginia's state legislature were also flipped from Republican to Democrat. Even more impressively, many of these state legislature victories were ground-breaking: the country's first transgender state delegate, as well as Virginia's first two Latina delegates, first Asian American woman delegate, and first lesbian delegate were all elected to office on Tuesday.
Outside of Virginia, Democratic candidate Phil Murphy secured victory as governor of New Jersey and Bill de Blasio was re-elected by a landslide as mayor of New York City. Many other progressive candidates also secured unprecedented victories in elections around the country.
Indeed, Alter's tweet referred to many of these aforementioned victories. Danica Roem, the country's first ever transgender state legislator, defeated Republican incumbent Robert G. Marshall. As a delegate, Marshall had authored a bathroom bill that, if passed, would have required people to use public restrooms in accordance with their birth gender as opposed to the gender with which they identify.
Chris Hurst, the boyfriend of late reporter Allison Parker, who was shot dead during a live television broadcast, beat Republican Joseph Yost to be elected the Virginia's House of Delegates. Yost had an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. Larry Krasner, a civil rights attorney who has sued Philadelphia's police Department several times, was elected the city's next district attorney after running a campaign focusing on inequalities in the city's criminal justice system.
Many experts believe that these victories are indicative of a turning tide and a country-wide return to progressivism following the election of Trump and many Republican legislators in the 2016 elections. Larry Sabato, the Director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, says that Tuesday's results show that Virginia is now clearly a blue state and no longer a "purple" battleground state. Moreover, Alex Burns of the New York Times reported Scott Taylor, a Republican state legislator from Virginia Beach, believes "this is a referendum on this [Trump's] administration" and that the president's "divisive rhetoric" is to blame for the lack of conservative victories.
For many, these Democratic victories also point to strong prospects for victory in the 2018 midterm elections. As Dave Wasserman, a polling expert and editor at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, prophetically tweeted:
You can't really look at tonight's results and conclude that Democrats are anything other than the current favorites to pick up the U.S. House in 2018.
Tuesday's progressive electoral victories are certainly ground-breaking and, resultantly, are being celebrated by many. Time will tell if this progressive momentum carries over to 2018 and results in similar victories during the midterm elections.