Midterm Reflections

By Thomas Latkowski

We all saw Tuesday night’s results, and yes, not flipping the Senate is disappointing, but taking the House back is a huge deal. For the first time, Democrats have the power to put a check on the Trump administration. For the past 2 years, Republicans have given Trump a free ride on Russia, on his taxes and business conflicts of interest, and on his possible obstruction of justice, to name only a few things. That’s over now.

And we didn’t just flip 31 house seats (with 10 more still too close to call) we flipped 7 governors, a Senate seat, 7 state legislative chambers, and many many more down-ballot seats all across the country. Tuesday was a big win for Democrats.

So what did we do to make things go so well? Well, we didn’t try to have one central message in this election, and that was a good thing. We didn’t have talking points handed down from the party, what we had was regular people from across the country running for office, often for the first time, saying what they actually believe. People respond to authenticity.

Our candidates were better than normal and more diverse than normal too. We broke a lot of records this election: the number of female candidates, the number of women of color running, the number of LGBTQ candidates. The first Korean-American woman, the first Native American women, and the first Muslim women were elected to Congress. The new Congress will have more women than any before. The first openly gay governor was elected in Colorado. America’s new set of leaders are more diverse and more representative of the country than ever before. This is a huge victory.

We ran a positive race. Our candidates focused on what they would do if elected, rather than their opponents’ problems. This election was not just about Trump. If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed since 2016, it’s Donald Trump. What did change is that Democrats presented a positive, optimistic vision for America’s future. When Trump and the Republicans tried to use distractions and fear tactics, we stayed on topic, on the issues people care about. That’s why we won.

I think the lesson of this race is that every state is a swing state. Democrats won a governor’s race in Kansas. We lost a governor’s race in Vermont. The Texas senate race was as close as we’ve ever seen there. Democrats do best when we are ready to compete everywhere.

Yes, I know we all wanted Beto O’Rourke to win. We all wanted Democrats to flip the Senate as well as the House. There were definitely disappointments last week, but on the whole, this was a very good election. We have an awful lot to be proud of, and an awful lot to be hopeful for.

Bruin Democrats