I usually don’t like surprises but in recent days there have been three pleasant ones for me. The First was the Blue Wave (or “trickle” if you follow you-know-who’s nitwit feed) that started Tuesday on Election Day and is still swelling a week later. The Second was my wife’s cousin Steven’s surprise retirement party at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club on Saturday. The Third were the readings at last Sunday’s Mass from Kings 17:10: 10-16 in which “The widow of Zarephath shares the last of her food with Elijah” and is rewarded for her generosity, and Mark 12:38 in which, in comparison to the large offerings of the rich, “The (small) offering of the widow had great value in God’s sight.”
Clearly these last two feminist lessons from the pulpit were Holy Writ commentary on the national elections and are good reasons for anointing the electoral movement toward sanity “MeThree.” For the numerically challenged, “MeOne” was when Orange Top publicly exposed his little self as America’s Pussy Grabber Extraordinaire. The righteously angry reaction to his misogyny was the “MeToo” movement which in turn led to the “MeThree” Blue Tidal Wave.
On November 6th, the Democratic Party enjoyed its highest margin of victory ever among female voters in a midterm election. The result, As of November 13, the Democrats had a net gain over the Republicans in the House of Representatives of at least 32 (up to 40 is possible) seats giving them a solid majority there. Under the U.S. Constitution, The House has "the sole power of impeachment." Therefore, women, I would guess, can’t wait to tune into the President’s Impeachment Hearings on MSNBC hosted by Rachel Maddow.
Unfortunately, the Constitution gives the Senate, which the Republicans will still control, "the sole Power to try all Impeachments." Fortunately, control of one of the Houses of Congress guarantees that the President’s Right-wing Legislative agenda currently being pursued will crawl to a halt. Also, while before the election, the Dems were predicted to lose 4 seats in the Senate, now it looks like they will lose only 1 or 2, and the Republicans will continue to have a razor slim majority in that very unrepresentative chamber. As an aside, I don’t think Mitt Romney who has returned to the Senate will be rubber stamp for everything. After all, he did accurately describe The Donald as a fraud.
Being a father of three women, grandfather of two, and spouse of another all of whom deserve more than they have received from the current administration, I am happy to report that the charge to the ballot boxes by the America’s “better half” resulted in what Denise Lu and Keith Collins called a record-breaking “Year of the Woman.” And indeed, it was record-breaking as 35 new women joined the 66 re-elected women in the House, with more to come. As might be expected, the vast majority of these new and old winners are more, and less, liberal Democrats. Even though it set a new record high for CongressWOMEN, with most replacing men, women still make up only one quarter of the 435-member chamber.
The victorious women made “firsts” in many other ways. According to Lu and Collins, “More than a dozen states will add women to their House delegations next year. Pennsylvania, which currently has no women in the House, will have four next year.” Muslim-American congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib won in Minnesota and Michigan respectively. Native American women Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids won in New Mexico and Kansas respectively. Latinas Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia won in Texas. Ayanna Pressley was elected as the first black congresswoman representing Massachusetts and Jahana Hayes became the first black congresswoman for Connecticut. Last, but certainly not least, besides having run as a Democratic Socialist, New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman elected to Congress.
Although the Democrats didn’t do nearly as well in Senatorial races, Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn, became the first black woman elected to the Senate and in Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema became the nation’s first openly bisexual U.S. Senator. As to female Gubernatorial victors, Maine’s Janet Mills, a Democrat, and South Dakota Republican Kristi Noem, were the first to be elected Governor in their home states. The last female good news, that crossed my IMac desktop while researching for this article was from Adeel Hassan applauding the fact that “17 Black Women Sweep to Judgeships in Texas County.”
As in past national elections, it was women of color, to whom the Democrats owe their victories. Ninety-two percent of black women and 73 percent of Latina women voted for Democratic House candidates this year. According to Vox, in 2016 only 43 percent of white women voted for Democratic House candidates while 49 percent did so this year. While hardly a landslide, they joined 59 percent of all women to vote for House Democrats last week and gave them the highest margin of victory among female voters in a midterm election. Independent female voters also increased their support for Democrats to 57 percent this year from 48 percent in 2016. According to a Brookings Report “White, college-educated women in particular swung heavily left in 2018, with 59 percent voting for Democratic House candidates, compared with just 49 percent in 2016.”
Readers might wonder why I am paying so much attention to white voters here, the majority of whom still vote rightwardly. The fact-based non-fake news is that 72 percent of all voters in this election were white. The good news liberals and progressives of all persuasions is that even though whites continued to vote Republican, it was less so than in 2016. All the data show that the wide partisan racial divide remains, with minorities overwhelming committed to Democrats but unable to overcome the much larger white vote. Whites are more likely to register to vote, and white eligible voter turn-out is also much higher. Despite the fact that minority turnout increased to an all-time high in the past election, real political commitment to social justice in America requires building bridges across racial and so many other of our regrettably great divides. In any case, I am looking forward to MeFour in 2020.