December 2018 Paradigm Shift?

December 2018 Paradigm Shift?

Paradigm Shift?

Despite initially seeming like a disappointment, the midterm results continue to grow in our favor. How much change actually occurred in these midterms? What kind of change is it? What will it take to create a real, lasting shift in our country? You be the judge, not only of the midterm results but of our way forward:

Our current electorate

  • More than 110 million voters turned out on November 6, the highest midterm turnout in 50 years.
  • 31% of 18-29-year-olds voted, up 10% from 2014, the highest in 25 years.
  • 90% of African-Americans voted Democratic.
  • 69% of Hispanic voters went Democratic (73% among Hispanic women), with about a quarter of them saying they were voting in a midterm for the first time. (Pew Research)
  • 9 Congressional seats in districts with 10%+ Hispanic population flipped red to blue. (Pew Research)
  • 49% of white women voted for Democratic candidates and 60% of white men voted for Republicans, creating an 11-point gender gap among white voters.
  • More voters were purged from voter rolls between 2014 and 2016 (16 million) than between 2006 and 2008 (12 million).

Our future electorate

  • Florida voted to restore voting rights to ex-felons, affecting up to 1.4 million voters; Maryland, Nevada, and Michigan are working towards laws that would enable same-day or automatic voter registration. Yet Arkansas and North Carolina are restricting voters through court- and other mandated ID measures.
  • Four Democratic state Attorneys-General took over GOP-held positions: Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin.
  • Democrats flipped GOP-held governorships in seven states, two of which are both battleground and very gerrymandered states (Wisconsin and Michigan)

Our issues and candidates

  • In 5 of the 6 races in which gun safety groups invested the most money, the gun safety candidate won; however, overall 108 NRA-backed candidates won (the Trace)
  • Washington voters tightened gun safety measures, including instituting a 21-year age threshold for purchase of firearms.
  • Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska voted for Medicaid expansion… but Nebraska voted Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp out of office.
  • Arkansas and Missouri passed ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage, improving the paychecks of 900,000 voters… but Missouri did not re-elect Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.
  • Massachusetts passed the first law prohibiting gender-based discrimination in public places, protecting transgender people.
  • 255 women ran for office. Almost half of Democratic women won their races, and about a quarter of Republican women won theirs (Brookings Institution). Over 100 women now will enter Congress… but that’s out of 535 seats.
  • Over 50% of candidates endorsed by Obama and Biden won their races, and 66% of Sanders’ picks. 28% of the candidates endorsed by Trump won their races.
  • Newly elected officials are a list of firsts, some for the country and others for their state: first Native American women, first women of color to represent New England, first openly gay governor, first Muslim women, first Hispanic woman from Texas, and more.
  • Down ballot races showed similar changes, such as the 17 black women judges elected in Harris County, TX.

–Melinda Burrell, Co-Chair, Task Force on Elections/GOTV