8 Election Day Victories That Spell Good News for Democrats and the Progressive Grassroots
A year after Trump's win, Tuesday's election showed that progressive organizing in 2017 has paid off across the country
With state and local elections across the United States on Tuesday, the Democratic Party and progressive grassroots organizers were able to claim victories in key battles—including gubernatorial races, state legislatures, ballot initiatives, and local government—a repudiation of both President Donald Trump and the agenda being driven by Republicans.
What follows is just a snapshot of the assorted headlines and significance of those various victories.
"Unelectable" Progressive Civil Rights Attorney Larry Krasner Wins Philadelphia DA Race in Landslide
The Democrat joked during a debate that he "spent a career becoming completely unelectable," having sued his city's police department dozens of times for civil rights violations—only to beat his Republican opponent by 40 percentage points. Krasner has represented activists with the Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter pro bono, and pledged during his campaign to work to end Philadelphia's epidemic of mass incarceration.
It's official, Larry Krasner has become the District Attorney of Philadelphia.
He immediately becomes the most progressive, reform-minded District Attorney of any major city in America.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 8, 2017
Our Revolution Candidates Win Big in Boston Suburb
Based on the city's unofficial election results, all seven Somerville, Mass. aldermen candidates who were endorsed by Our Revolution—the group spun out of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) 2016 bid for president—won: Ben Ewen-Campen, Jesse Clingan, Will Mbah, Matthew McLaughlin, Mary Jo Rossetti, J.T. Scott, and Bill White. McLaughlin, who last year chaired the Sanders campaign in Somerville, told the Boston Globe that he thought the results reflected residents' desire for "progressive change," adding: "Locally this is mandate for change in Somerville and the affordable housing crisis specifically."
— Beth Huang (@bphuang12) November 8, 2017
Justin Fairfax Trounces GOP Opponent in Virginia's Race for Lieutenant Governor
In the state where white supremacists marched chanting, "You will not replace us" three months ago, a black Democrat won by a comfortable margin against a Republican who embraced President Donald Trump's agenda and declared at a rally, "We are going to take back Virginia the way this president is going to take back this country!" Fairfax's new role often serves as a stepping stone to a gubernatorial race.
88 nights ago, white supremacists marched with torches in Virginia. Tonight, Virginia elected Justin Fairfax its second African-American lieutenant governor.
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) November 8, 2017
Maine Becomes First State to Expand Medicaid by Ballot Measure
Rebuffing Congressional Republican's attacks on healthcare, and Maine Gov. Paul LePage's vetoes of at least five legislative efforts to expand Medicaid in the state, a ballot initiative to provide healthcare to an estimated 70,000 low-income residents of the state passed by nearly 20 percentage points. "Maine has shown the way for the rest of the country," Jennie Pirkl, the campaign manager for measure told the Bangor Daily News. "Voters have sent a clear message to Augusta, Washington, and the rest of the country that we want more health care, not less."
Maine Medicaid result is a good reminder that Republicans in 19 states have rejected what is usually quite popular federal money to give low-income people health insurance.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 8, 2017
— Jacob Leibenluft (@jleibenluft) November 8, 2017
Democrat Danica Roem Becomes Virginia's First Openly Transgender House Member By Defeating Anti-Trans Republican Incumbent
Defeating the GOP incumbent who wanted to ban transgender people like her from using public bathrooms of their choice, Roem won her place in the state legislature by unseating Republican Bob Marshall, described as "one of the state's longest serving and most socially conservative lawmakers." Roem focused her campaign on jobs, schools, and northern Virginia's traffic congestion.
When asked about Bob Marshall, Danica Roem said “I don't attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
— Nicholas Trevino (@BlyTarbell) November 8, 2017
You call that grace and composure, I call that a burn to end all burns
— ToddInTheShadows (@ShadowTodd) November 8, 2017
Democrat Socialist Lee Carter Headed to Virginia House of Delegates
Carter unseated Republican delegate Jackson Miller in an upset after a contentious race; Miller attacked Carter for being an open socialist, comparing him in a mailer to Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong. Carter is a proponent of single-payer healthcare and promised during his campaign to expand access to Medicaid in Virginia.
— Annie Shields (@anastasiakeeley) November 8, 2017
This really is a truly stunning upset https://t.co/FZlrDYzT1m
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 8, 2017
First Transgender Woman of Color Wins in Minneapolis City Council Race
While long-time Minneapolis City Council members struggled to hold their seats, Andrea Jenkins secured more than 70 percent of the vote in the city's Eighth Ward and became the first transgender black woman elected to public office nationwide. "Transgender people have been here forever, and black transgender people have been here forever," Jenkins told the Washington Post after her win. "I'm really proud to have achieved that status, and I look forward to more trans people joining me in elected office, and all other kinds of leadership roles in our society."
So proud of movement auntie, Andrea Jenkins, who became the first openly trans woman of color elected to the city council of a major U.S. city. She’ll represent Ward 8 of Minneapolis! So much history being made tonight! #AJ4W8 #TransFolksCanWin #ElectionDay pic.twitter.com/AJqvDt9E7q
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) November 8, 2017
After Race-Baiting Tactics Used by Opponent, Ravi Bhalla Becomes Nation's First Sikh Mayor
Days after his opponents distributed a racist flyer portraying him as a terrorist, Ravinder Bhalla was elected as the nation's first Sikh mayor. During the campaign, the new mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey responded to attacks on his ethnicity and religion with a simple tweet stating, "We won't let hate win."
A repudiation of Trump last night: several Asian-American candidates featured in racist posters were elected anyway.
Including NJ's first Sikh Mayor https://t.co/1hB9LvKF19 via
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) November 8, 2017