At a glance, this election cycle may seem like a total disaster. Republicans now control both the House and Senate, the Supreme Court has a vacancy and three of the eight remaining justices are in their 80s.
All in all, a huge disappointment for the Democratic party.
However, Tuesday night provided the Democratic party, and the country, with a lot of reasons to celebrate and be hopeful about the future.
The biggest victory of the night would be the record breaking number of minority women elected to the Senate.The number went from one to four, which is still embarrassingly low but going in the right direction.
Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is a double amputee who lost both legs while fighting in the Iraq war. Her mother is from Thailand, where she was born, and her father is American. Her win is especially notable after her opponent, Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) made a racially charged joke about her heritage.
A historic election took place in Nevada where Catherine Cortez Masto (D- Nev.) will be the nation’s first Latina senator. She will be the first latin-American women to ever occupy a chair in the high chamber.
In another history making win, Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will not only be the nation’s second black woman senator but also its first Indian- American one. In the past week, the internet has exploded with excitement over her win and she has appeared on numerous lists for possible 2020 Democrat presidential candidates. Comparisons have been drawn between her and President Barack Obama, who ran for high office in only his first term.
Oregon made a huge step for equality when it elected Kate Brown (D-Oreg.), the nation’s first LGBTQA+ governor. Brown is openly bisexual. She was serving as governor already after John Kitzhaber (D-Oreg.) resigned. However, Tuesday marks the first time an openly LGBTQA+ person was elected governor.
Four states — Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and California — completely legalized marijuana.
Even with Republicans winning the general election, these are signs of a promising, progressive future. There is still a lot of work to do. Four women of color in the Senate is not nearly enough, but we’re getting there. Election night was disappointing, but not everything that happened was terrible. History was made Tuesday night, just not the history everyone expected.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kamala Harris’ Facebook Page.
Sara Karlovitch is a freshman journalism and government and politics major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.