Midterm Election 2018: Victory in the Face of Disappointment
Well, that’s all folks.
Election Day 2018 has come and gone, and most of the votes have been tallied. While it is disappointing to see the losses of some candidates and the dissolution of a proposed Blue Wave through Congress, this election season still proved to be a success in terms of diversity. My heart hurts for Andrew Gillum’s loss (by such a close margin!) in Florida after running an amazing campaign in the face of prejudice. Despite the fact that his attempt to become the first Black governor in Florida’s history has come to an end, Gillum’s commitment to integrity, passion, eloquence, and tenacity throughout his campaign still makes his story one of triumph in my eyes. I have no doubt that this is only the beginning for him and that he will keep on working hard for all Floridians and Americans that he goes on to serve.
In the case of Stacey Abrams, the leading Democrat in Georgia’s gubernatorial race striving to make history as America’s first Black female governor, I am disappointed by her slight falter in the polls, but I am encouraged and hugely supportive of her refusal to concede until every vote has been counted.
Stacey Abrams embodies so many of the things I most admire in us as Black women: she is passionate, powerful, intelligent, authentic, and unapologetically protective of others by standing tall for what is right, no matter who is watching or asserting that she is wrong for doing so.
If I were in Stacey’s shoes, it is likely that I wouldn’t concede either, especially given the last-minute efforts to suppress Georgia voters. I mean, how convenient is it that voting machines were sent to a poll location on Election Day with no power cords to make them work, in a predominantly black neighborhood? No one can convince me that this happened by sheer coincidence, especially when Abram’s opponent, Republican Brian Kemp, is the current Secretary of State meaning that he also is over the Board of Elections in Georgia.
In all the valid and important conversations happening around Abram’s possible loss (I’m standing with Abrams in remaining hopeful until the very end), I have yet to see anyone question the fairness of an election candidate having the ability to oversee the operations of the same election in which he is running. This sounds like textbook conflict-of-interest to me, and prompts me to revisit earlier discussions regarding America’s need to re-evaluate policy. Before disagreeing, consider this: In what professional company are leaders or associates allowed to oversee, or have any involvement in, the hiring process of themselves, especially in a decision-making capacity? None. Because Kemp is the leader of the elections board and has been at the head of multiple voter suppression issues in Georgia, I cannot be convinced that he had nothing to do with some of the issues Georgia voters faced while trying to cast their ballots yesterday. Voting machines with no power cords…Really? You cannot tell me that he didn’t puppeteer his way to success behind the scenes in some way.
Despite my disappointment in the projected outcomes for Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial races, I am happy that the day did not end in ruin overall. Despite all the foolishness, we pulled together and got ourselves out to those polls. Young people, women, and minorities showed up in record numbers. The numbers still show that white women still show up to the polls and cast votes in favor of racism, sexism, and misogyny along with their male counterparts, but thankfully, strides were still made yesterday in balancing Congress.
Democrats were able to take back the U.S. House of Representatives, and Congress will be more diverse than before. Additionally, many states saw a significant increase in Black female candidacy and wins. Perhaps most striking of all is the fact that there were many congressional and gubernatorial firsts resulting from this election, with numerous members of the Black, Native American, Somali, Muslim, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ communities becoming the first in their respective communities to be elected to various governmental positions. Shout out to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, who also became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Other victories included several states seeing the first women elected to certain political seats and a record-breaking number of women being elected to the United States House of Representatives. I am elated for them all.
Lastly, while I’m annoyed with their results in voting for governor, I am proud of the state of Florida for voting to automatically reinstate voting rights to convicted felons after they complete their sentences. Now I need my home state of Kentucky, which is the only state next to Iowa that permanently disenfranchises convicts, to catch up.
All of these victories are worthy of celebration for not only the winners, but also the people who will later come behind them to run for office as a result of seeing their success. These wins also serve as soothing reminders that, regardless of white feminists continuing to be more pronounced on the pavement than at the polls, there are many people who truly see the value inencouraging diversity in all spaces and welcoming it to form a more inclusive table. When diverse people are granted access to the political realm, they bring with them diverse ideas and hopes that their presence in leadership will finally bring much needed shifts to fight for all of America’s people, and not just some. I am excited to see what strides will be made by our new elected officials, and I challenge us all to continue being as active in the political and election process as we were for these Midterms.
Every election is important, and it is imperative that we continue doing our part to make our voices heard in choosing our leaders.
Stay Registered, Stay Woke, and as always, Stay Kultured.