Yesterday was Election Day in Washington, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, and Missouri and while not every progressive candidate won major landslide victories, across the country gains were made. More women and people of color were running than ever before and their continued successes means that, while our federal system was created to take time to change, change is coming!
One of the races progressive poll watchers are most excited for is Sharice Davids, who is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and an out lesbian. After winning her primary yesterday, she will face off against Representative Kevin Yoder (R) in Kansas’s Third Congressional District in November. In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer won a three-way primary that included two men of color. That race was being watched closely as up-and-coming Democratic Socialist start candidate Alexandria Ocasio Cortez had endorsed and campaigned for Abdul El-Sayed in that race. Whitmer’s win is still being hailed as a solid win for Progressives in the state based on her history within state politics.
Over in Ohio, a special election is too-close-to-call between a Democrat Danny O’Connor and Trump-backed Republican Troy Balderson. Even if O’Connor doesn’t pick up the needed votes to overcome the recount to win, considering Trump won this district by over 11 points in 2016, and Romney won it by 10 in 2012. Those shifting demographics in just a few years are good signs that Progressive organizing is working all across the country.
For the special election in Michigan’s 13th House District, Brenda Jones came out on top of a four-way primary that included Representative John Conyer’s great-nephew, State Senator Ian Conyers, who came in last with 11% of the vote. In that same district’s full term primary election, Rashida Tlaib, who will be the first Muslim woman to serve in Congress, is essentially Congresswoman-elect; she will be running unopposed in November to serve a full two-year term. “I will fight back against every racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled,” Ms. Tlaib said. “You deserve better than what we have today with our president.”
One of the biggest wins of the day was the people of Missouri resoundingly shouting down and voting out a so-called “Right to Work” law that had been passed by that state’s legislature last year. While the state politicians might have thought their donors wanted to bust the unions and pay workers less, workers came out to the polls and voted the law down by a strong majority.
While it was hard to choose which race or ballot measure to keep our eyes on, no one can deny that yesterday was more proof that historic change is coming and it is about damn time.