What’s Good— Blue Wave Grand Finale Special Edition
Editor’s note: this is the grand finale for your current Bearer of Good News, who will be riding the Blue Wave into retirement. Interested in picking up the torch as the next Bearer of Good News? Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or Indivisible Somerville’s #thegoodnews Slack channel. The struggle continues!
Good News from the ballot box— TL;DR version
- Democrats emphatically regained control of the House, winning 232 seats versus 198 for Republicans— a 37-seat swing. Democrats are also in the lead in another race that remains too close to call and are down by less than 1% in 4 more races.
- Democrats also defied the odds against one of the worst Senate maps in decades, limiting their net losses to 2 seats and flipping Republican-held seats in Nevada and Arizona.
- Democrats picked up 7 governorships and lost none.
- Democrats flipped at least 3 attorneys general, probably 4. Republicans flipped none.
- If the fourth flip (Wisconsin) holds, Democrats will occupy 26 of the nation’s 50 attorney general offices next year, which will be very useful for suing the bejeezus out of Trump over the next 2 years.
- Democrats flipped 3 secretaries of state. Republicans flipped none.
- Democrats flipped 6 state legislative chambers and more than 300 state legislative seats. Republicans flipped only one state legislative chamber.
- Democrats had a net gain of 6 state legislative trifectas (governor, house, senate under unified control). Republicans had a net loss of 3.
- Democrats had a net gain of 5 state government triplexes (governor, attorney general, secretary of state under unified control). Republicans had a net loss of 3.
- Republicans managed to fumble a number of should-have-been slam-dunks, such as the Kansas governor’s race and congressional districts SC-01, NY-11, OK-05, and KS-03.
- Ballot measures advancing numerous progressive causes across the nation fared very well in general.
Good News from the ballot box— the gory blue details
- In Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, who won retiring Senator Jeff Flake’s seat, will be the first woman elected to the Senate from Arizona and the first openly bisexual person elected to the Senate from any state.
- In California, Republicans lost 6 of their seats in the state’s dwindling House delegation, including every one of their seats in longtime conservative stronghold Orange County. Among the casualties that will not be mourned: Darrell “Benghazi!!!” Issa and Dana “I Heart Putin” Rohrabacher.
- In Colorado, Jared Polis became the nation’s first openly gay governor. Coloradans also voted to abolish prison slave labor and to create independent redistricting commissions for federal and state races.
- In Florida, Democrats flipped two House seats, and voters also passed— by overwhelming margins— measures banning offshore gas and oil drilling and restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.
- In Georgia, Newt Gingrich’s old district was won by Lucy McBath, an African-American woman gun-control activist.
- In Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah, voters approved Medicaid expansion.
- In Iowa, two of the state’s four congressional districts flipped blue, giving Democrats 3 of the state’s 4 House seats. Odious racist Steve King came within 4 percentage points of losing the fourth.
- In Kansas, the voters of KS-03 tossed out a longtime white male Republican incumbent and elected Sharice Davids, a lesbian Native American. Davids and Deb Haaland (NM-01) will be the first two Native American women ever elected to Congress. Also, voter suppression enthusiast and all-around-awful human being Kris Kobach lost the governor’s race.
- In Maine, Democrats rampaged all over the ballot: attorney general Janet Mills won the governor race, Democrats flipped the state senate and held the house, left-leaning independent Senator Angus King (I-ME) crushed his Republican opponent by 20%, and progressive Marine veteran Jared Golden forced the Republican incumbent of the ME-02 House seat into a ranked-choice voting runoff, which Golden won.
- Golden’s victory leaves Susan Collins (R-ME) as the lone Republican in the entire 34-member New England congressional delegation.
- In Maryland, voters passed a constitutional amendment allowing same-day registration and voting.
- In Massachusetts, voters elected Ayanna Pressley, the state’s first African-American female member of Congress, and passed ballot initiatives affirming transgender rights and the proposition that corporations are not people and money is not speech by 40% margins.
- In New Hampshire, Democrats flipped both chambers of the state house as well as the state’s executive council.
- In Michigan, voters passed a ballot initiative creating an independent commission in charge of drawing both state and federal districts.
- In Missouri, voters approved a proposition raising the state’s minimum wage to $12 by 2023 and also passed a package of lobbying, campaign finance, and redistricting reforms.
- In Nevada, voters approved automatic voter registration and scrapped a 7% tax on tampons.
- In New Jersey, the Republican congressional delegation dropped from 5 of 12 House seats down to 1. Among the casualties that will not be mourned: Tom MacArthur (NJ-03), one the architects of the House’s 2017 Obamacare repeal bill.
- In New York, Republicans lost control of at least 2 and as many as 4 congressional districts, shrinking their congressional delegation to at most 7 and perhaps as few as 5 of the state’s 26 districts. Democrats also regained a true majority in the state senate after years of being undermined by a group of renegade “independent Democrats” who gave Republicans a de facto majority.
- In North Carolina, voters elected civil rights champion Anita Earls to the state supreme court, producing a 5-2 Democrat majority on the court, and rejected ballot initiatives that would have let the Republican-dominated state house further rig state elections and take over the court system.
- In North Dakota, Native Americans voted in historic numbers despite a recently enacted voter ID law designed to disenfranchise Native Americans. The US Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit challenging the voter ID law, but North Dakota voters took matters into their own hands: the prime GOP sponsor of the voter ID law lost his seat to a Native American woman, and the state’s GOP house leader lost his seat as well.
- In Oklahoma, Democrat Kendra Horn defeated incumbent Steve Russell (OK-05) in a district that last elected a Democrat in 1974.
- In Pennsylvania, voters cast their ballots for House races under a new district map after the state supreme court threw out the old gerrymandered one. Democrats flipped 3 of the redrawn districts.
- In Texas, voters ejected weed-hating Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32), who had used his position as chairman of the House Rules Committee to block any attempts at marijuana liberalization from reaching a floor vote, and replaced him with Colin Allred, an African-American attorney and former NFL linebacker.
- In Utah, San Juan County (which overlaps with the imperiled Bears Ears National Monument) will have a county commission with a Native American majority— the first time since statehood that any Utah county has been controlled by a non-white majority.
- In Virginia, Dave Brat— the Freedom Caucus Republican who primaried GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014— lost his seat to Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who will be the first Democratic representative for the VA-07 district in almost 50 years.
- In Wisconsin, incumbent Governorweasel Scott Walker was narrowly defeated— and was prevented from requesting a recount due to a law he himself had signed into law.
Miscellaneous other Good News you may have missed
- A federal judge blocked the Trump administration’s decision to allow the Keystone XL oil pipeline to proceed, ruling that the administration’s actions unlawfully failed to take into account the pipeline’s environmental impacts, including on climate change.
- The Supreme Court declined to hear an industry challenge against an Obama-era ban on new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.
- A federal appeals court panel upheld a nationwide injunction that bars Trump from terminating DACA.
- A federal judge ordered the White House to reinstate CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, which the White House had revoked after a confrontation between Acosta and Trump a week earlier.
- A federal judge rejected neo-Nazi troll marshall Andrew Anglin’s request to have a harassment suit against him dismissed on “free speech” grounds.
- Retiring Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said that he will not vote to advance any Trump judicial nominees in the Senate Judiciary Committee or on the Senate floor until legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller receives a Senate floor vote.
- FedEx announced that it is ending its business relationship with the NRA.
And lastly, a chaser shot of 150-proof Neener Neener to make the Good News go down smoother
- After Trump holed up in a hotel room rather than attending a rainy World War I centennial ceremony, UK member of parliament Nicholas Soames, who is a grandson of Winston Churchill, called Trump “pathetic [and] inadequate” and “not fit to represent this great country”.