Last night was potentially the best evening that Democrats have had since Donald J. Trump was “elected” President. Republican candidates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, Virginia, New York, and North Carolina were soundly defeated, unseated, and sent crawling back to their white power party with both Klan and MAGA hats in hand. Across the board.
In what’s being described as the beginning of the #BlueWave, major victories were secured by women, people of color, people from the LGBTQ community and non-Christians in races across the nation. And they won largely without support from the Democratic Party.
Prior to the elections, local and national media outlets consistently commented on the seeming lack of interest the Democratic Party was showing in their candidates. While voter registration was high on the list of priorities for the Democratic Party — turnout, advertisements, and support from leaders in the party was not.
Even so, with no new campaign strategies and little messaging other than “At least we aren’t Republicans,” the Democratic Party seems poised to turn the tide against the Republicans and potentially retake Congress in the 2018 Elections.
It is likely too early to tell if this is the case or not, but what is undeniable is that last night’s victory was not just a sound rejection of the white supremacist leadership options presented by the Republican Party — but it was also a sound rejection of white domination within the Democratic Party itself.
It wasn’t really the old guard of the white led Democratic Party to victory last night — it was the “minority” blocs of the Democratic Party that deserve the credit. These voters not only showed up to the polls to put Democrats above Republicans, but they showed up to put their communities in power of white candidates on either side of the aisle.
– Vi Lyle won her campaign becoming the first black woman to be elected as mayor of Charlotte, NC
– Melvin Carter III was elected as the first mayor of color in St. Paul, MN
– Ravi Bhalla of Hoboken, NJ became the first Sikh mayor in the state’s history.
– Danica Roem won her seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming the first openly transgender candidate to be elected to serve in a state legislative body.
– Andrea Jenkins dominated her opponent for Minneapolis City Council becoming the first transgender woman of color to be elected to a public office
– Jenny Durkin won her bid for mayor of Seattle becoming the city’s first lesbian mayor. Zachary DeWolf also became the first school board member from the LGBTQ community.
– Kathy Tran became the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.
And while turnout rates were still unable to match those of the 2016 general election, there was a dramatic increase in comparison with that of the most recent non-Presidential elections. And this rising tide was seen at both the local and state levels.
In Virginia, for example, black voters surged to the polls turning over 85% of their votes to Ralph Northam. Black Women continued their reign as the Democrats’ most loyal and active voting block with 94% of their votes going to the Democrats. In New Jersey, it was the Latinx population and the 83% of their votes that propelled Democratic Candidate Phil Murphy to victory. And it was an explosion of early voting, especially amongst voters of color, that propelled Vi Lyle into her position in history and the City Hall of Charlotte to become the first black mayor.
It is undeniable that the Blue Wave was led by Black and Brown Voters.
This uptick in turnout was not the result of aggressive campaigning and outreach but it came as the result of the work of communities of color mobilizing their own voting blocs and showing up to the polls to collectively reject white supremacy on the right, and in many cases, reject white domination on the left to advance their own candidates.
Where the Democratic Party as a whole largely ignored last night’s bellwether elections until the last minute, local and state community organizations were hard at work using their media and networking channels to bring out as many voters as they could. These communities and the organizations that serve them are those that are fighting on the front lines of Donald Trump’s white supremacist takeover of the United States. They have the most obstacles, the fewest resources and they kicked the Republican’s asses last night.
It’s not the Democratic Party that should be celebrating a job well done. It’s the “minority” communities that deserve the credit for last night’s incredible victory. It’s the “minority” organizations that deserve the pat on the back for sending the Republicans packing. And it’s the “minority” communities that need to internalize the fact that they are the most powerful network within the Democratic Party.
If nothing else, last night’s elections should stand as proof of the power of the people. And the people got the job done — despite the failures of the Democratic Party.
Not only should minority turnout be seen as the greatest victory achieved last night, but it should also be a signal to communities of color that we can potentially take it all in the 2018 Midterm Elections. If we present our own candidates and continue to mobilize ourselves as a united voting bloc, we can literally change the color of Congress and position ourselves to make the White House a lot less white.
In a battle against federalized white nationalism, this should be seen as an overwhelmingly welcome potentiality. But there is still much work to be done.
Active white Democratic voters seemingly outnumber Democrats of color 40 million to 27 million. It would appear that we are outnumbered, but “active voters” does not mean “all voters.” While we may have 13 million fewer active voters than white Democrats, we are also sitting on a pool of over 50 million suppressed and untapped voters. The majority of these voters come from communities of color.
If efforts were made to bring these voters back into our active ranks, voters of color could come close to doubling white voters in the Democratic party.
As reported earlier this week by SIIP:
“…the removal of voter ID restrictions would add 21 million voters back into the voting pool. Eliminating felony disenfranchisement policies and voter purging systems like Crosscheck would add another 7 million voters back into our ranks. Reopening polling places, expanding them and providing alternatives to in-person voting would enable millions more people of color, poor voters, working class voters, voters living with disabilities and elderly voters to reach the polls.
While not all of these voters will be people of color, the overwhelming majority will be. With only 13 million voters needed to outnumber white Democrats in the Party, anti-suppression efforts stand to completely topple the balance of white authority within the Democratic Party.”
If we mobilize quickly and efficiently, Democrats of Color could be positioned to take over the Midterm Elections, flip Congress from Red to Blue, and for the first time in US History make Congress an example of fair representation for nonwhite and otherwise marginalized communities.
It will not be white Democrats that get us there, though. It will be voters of color, LGBTQ voters, voters with disabilities and other communities that are living the daily struggle against white supremacy and the Trump administration daily that will lead this new Wave. And it has begun.
So, for those looking to celebrate last nights’ clean sweep of the Republican party — celebrate the grassroots “minority” communities that got us there. Celebrate the people and the organizations that put the real effort in to protect their communities and our nation from any further advancement by the Republican Party. And celebrate the potential that by 2018 — we can be in the position to take Congress and end the Trump Administration completely.
For more on what you can do to support the effort, visit: #WeAllVote2018
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