Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Progressives across the country made their voices heard on Tuesday, with state and local victories in Virginia, Maine, Massachusetts, and other states. (Photo: Johnny Silvercloud/Flickr/cc)

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

Common Dreams staff

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.

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."

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.

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."

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.

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.

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."

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."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Federal Judge Allows 'Untenable' Plan to Send Juvenile Inmates to Angola Prison

"The move defies all common sense and best practices, and it will cause irrevocable damage to our youth and families," said one children's advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'Catastrophic': Arizona Judge Allows 1864 Abortion Ban to Go Into Effect

"No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom," said one rights advocate.

Julia Conley ·


US Progressives Express Solidarity With Iranian Protesters After Death of Mahsa Amini

"The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Julia Conley ·


Critics of Louisiana LNG Project 'Hopeful' as Huge Sales Contracts Canceled

"The fight is not over," says one activist, but "from tax breaks to pollution and now to these recent financial downswings, we have all the evidence we need to understand that Driftwood will be a parasite."

Jessica Corbett ·


DHS Officials Urge Biden to End 'Disastrous Leadership' of Embattled IG

In an anonymous letter, the Homeland Security staffers say Inspector General Joseph Cuffari's actions "embarrass the entire agency."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo