Here’s the tally sheet, for those following along:
— Democrats win Governors’ races handily in both New Jersey and Virginia.
— Republicans, who held a 32-seat advantage in the Virginia state House, had those gains completely decimated
— Maine became the first state to pass Medicaid expansion by ballot (over the strong objections of our governor)
— A Liberian refugee beat a four-term incumbent to become the first black mayor of Helena, Montana.
— Democrats win mayor’s seats in Charlotte; Manchester, NH; St. Paul; and New York City.
— Hoboken, New Jersey elected the first turbaned Sikh mayor in American history.
— In Minneapolis, Andrea Jenkins became the first black openly transgender person to win a council seat in a major city.
— Tyler Titus won his Erie School Board seat to become first openly trans person ever elected in Pennsylvania.
— Danica Roem became the second openly transgender person ever elected in a U.S. statehouse (Althea Garrison, a black trans woman won as a Republican in Massachusetts in 1992)
Excuse me I need everyone to see this picture of Danica Roem immediately pic.twitter.com/dMmLkXUqJp— mike (@chunk_widebody) November 8, 2017
Hey Colin Jost!
Hey @ColinJost ‘member when you said identity politics lost elections but then two trans women beat the stuffing outta bigots tonight? Lolol— Reed Brice (@thatdangdingus) November 8, 2017
It was a good night for Democrats. It was a bad night for Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.
Two sources close to Bannon say he offered to rally for Gillespie but the campaign rejected it #electionday Bannon camp fuming tonight— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) November 8, 2017
Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia Beach: "”I don’t know how you get around that this was a referendum on the president…The divisive rhetoric from the top contributed to a very high turnout."— Patrick Wilson (@patrickmwilson) November 8, 2017
But here’s the important thing for Democrats this morning: Don’t be an asshole. Remember the day after Trump won? Remember how many assholes on social media drove us into a white hot rage? It was that white hot rage that led to the Womens’ March. It was that white hot rage that encouraged so many new people to enter races in Virginia. It was that white hot rage responsible for our ability to maintain Obamacare. It was that white hot rage that has prevented Donald Trump from passing any major pieces of legislation.
Don’t give them our white hot rage. Be like Danica Roem.
First transgender Delegate in VA history asked about her defeated opponent, who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe” https://t.co/ri7H1nISZ9— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 8, 2017
More importantly, we can’t lose that white hot rage. We’re going to need it in 2018, because those midterm elections will decide who controls Congress and state houses across the country; it will determine how Congressional lines are drawn for the next decade. It will probably determine the future of health care.
But the most important takeaway from last night is this: We no longer need to feel helpless. Over the last year, Democrats made strong showings in four House races in heavily Republican districts, but we didn’t win any of them, and for a lot of us, that created feelings of helplessness. Like we were trapped; like there wasn’t anything we would ever be able to do about it. We were stuck with Donald Trump and his 36 percent approval rating. That we’d just have to accept this new world order and make the best of a bad situation.
We don’t have to do that. We can change our situation.
It’s unbelievably comforting to know that we still have that power; we just have to wield it. We handed control of our country over to a mad man, but we can wrest that control back. Trump has opened up a lot of festering wounds and highlighted a lot of problems that have been buried under the surface, and we’re never going to be able to unsee what we have witnessed over the last year. It doesn’t matter how many elections we win in 2018 or 2020; those people will still exist. But we can marginalize them again. We can get back to a place where men like Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, and Milo Yiannopoulos are trolls that we scoff at instead of people who control policy. We gotta keep chipping away until Donald Trump is a lame duck President.
There is still more good than bad in this country. We just gotta show up. Last night, we finally did.