Among the winning candidates are the youngest female ever elected to office, the first black Republican woman elected to the House (also the first Haitian American to serve in Congress), the first female Senator from West Virginia and the first female Senator from Iowa. A Jewish Republican from New York defeated his opponent by 10 points and an openly gay Republican is in a neck-and-neck race to represent a California district. You have a markedly young incoming group of Senators, including 37-year-old Tom Cotton of Arkansas and 40-year-old Cory Gardner of Colorado. Sen. Tim Scott was elected the South’s first black Senator.
Lower turnout at midterm elections can explain some of the demographic shifts, but not everything:
Part of the Republican improvement can be traced to lower voter turnout, because younger Latinos and Asians simply don’t show up as much in non-presidential years. But black voter participation this year actually went up from the last midterm election, rising to 12 percent of the electorate, compared with 11 percent in 2010. The new GOP strength among non-black minorities was to some extent the product of aggressive outreach in minority communities by the Republican National Committee and various state parties. In Texas, GOP senator John Cornyn carried the Latino vote by a single percentage point, while Greg Abbott, who is married to a Latina, lost it by only ten points in the race for governor. Abbott carried the Asian-American vote 52 to 48 percent.
California Republicans surprised some observers in this election by mustering enough strength to block Democrats from winning a two-thirds supermajority in the State Senate and Assembly, thus giving their members in those bodies a voice in tax increases and budget matters. An analysis by KPCC Radio found that the accomplishment resulted partially from “the victories of two Republican candidates from Orange County — both women, both Asian American.”
Republicans still have much more to do, and presidential election years will be harder. Regardless, the future looks hopeful for building a coalition with all citizens of the United States. Onward and forward!
Edit: Moments after I wrote this article, my friend and co-editor Monica posted this article:
A headline on the Cut announces that the midterm election results were “Bad News for Women.” Under it, Ann Friedman argues that even though there were several “prominent victories” for Republican women this week—including combat veteran and hog castrator Joni Ernst in Iowa, black Mormon Mia Love in Utah, and youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress Elise Stefanik in New York—because they do not support abortion rights and are pro-gun, that means their wins are not a boon for women.
I’m not sure I agree. If you are against everything Joni Ernst or Mia Love stand for, then this election was bad for you, and the policies you care about, not bad for women. It should be obvious, but “women”—half the population—are not a uniform voting block with uniform ideas about what is best for them….