“I’m so fucking proud of you guys.” – Beto O’Rourke
For every tear shed last night over Beto or Gillum, a Democrat picked up a county board or state legislative seat. Down the ballot across a wide swath of the country, yesterday’s election was a national earthquake on a scale we haven’t seen since 1994.
Democrats had some success in 2006 and 2008 in Congressional races, but there hasn’t been a down ballot disruption on this scale in a generation. Cutting against the Democratic gains in the previous decade was the last stages of the flight of the Dixiecrats, as Republicans across the South were consolidating their local party switch. That dynamic has been exhausted. Republicans were trounced in Houston’s Harris County. Exurban voters in North Dallas ousted two powerful GOP State Senators. Democratic gains in suburbs and exurbs broke a Republican supermajority in the North Carolina legislature and cut into GOP control in the Texas and Georgia legislatures.
Away from Dixie the numbers were more stark. Chicago’s suburbs have been a pillar of GOP support since Lincoln. They’ve been wobbling at the top of the ticket since 2008, in a manner reminiscent of the South’s top-ticket splits that began in the 60’s. Last night the roof fell in on suburban Republicans all over the country and the impact in Chicago was stunning. Democrats won a majority of the county board seats on the ballot in suburban DuPage, home of the late Henry Hyde and the current Congressman Peter Roskam, placing them in striking distance of gaining control in 2020 for the first time in the county’s history. Seemingly uncompetitive Republican state house and Senate seats fell in DuPage, including a seat held by my state Senator.
Suburban voters in Chicago elected Lauren Underwood, a progressive, black woman to take Denny Hastert’s old seat. They also fired Peter Roskam. Suburban voters in deep red Orange County fired Putin’s favorite Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher.
Democrats picked up a Congressional seat in Oklahoma City’s suburbs. Kansas elected a Democratic Governor. Darrell Issa’s seat flipped to the Democrats. Dems swept gubernatorial races in many of the Rust Belt states that Trump won in ’16 and sliced into Republican state house majorities.
The story of the night is that Democrats appear to have reached a key pivot point in their suburban expansion. Meanwhile, America’s angry losers are embracing Fascism with an openness we’ve never before seen. The epicenter of American racism is shifting northward, as voters in Ohio, Indiana and Iowa doubled down on the GOP. Nazi Congressman, Steve King, survived a surprisingly close race to hold his seat in Iowa while all across Dixie’s racist Republicans were losing seats.
If your state has cities, and therefore suburbs, the Republicans there are either losing (outside the South) or on the ropes (in Dixie). If your state has no big cities (the empty west and Dixie), or has lots of dead and dying small towns like Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, your angry white losers went full-Nazi last night. In addition to re-electing cartoon Fascists like Steve King, Republicans elected several indicted thieves and frauds along with a dead pimp. Don’t go looking for a soul or a conscience among your Republican former friends. The good news is that their base is dying off. Younger voters turned out in record numbers and supported Congressional Democrats at nearly a 70% rate. This is a particularly important factor in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina, where an affluent, educated younger generation is starkly at odds with its elders and threatening a revolt.
In summary, those of us who are hoping for wide-ranging political change without a civil war had a very good night. The 2018 Election marked the first win in a necessary trifecta for the Resistance, culminating in 2022.
Take a breath. Get some rest. Then get ready. Starting in a few months we need to repeat the work we did last year. Our efforts paid off. We’re winning, but this is not over.