On November 6, 2018, Democrats won back the House, flipped seven governors’ seats and seven state legislative chambers, won more than 367 state legislative seats, and a 24-year-old woman named Elaissia Sears won her race to be justice of the peace in West Mesa Precinct, District 26, Arizona.
You might not see Elaissia’s name on the front page of any newspapers, but as one of the nearly 200 young people elected to local office for the first time over the last two years through my organization, Run for Something, she’s the present and future of the Democratic Party.
She’s part of a movement of young people—primarily women and people of color—who are doing more than just knocking on doors and making calls. They’re running, winning, leading, and they’re going to change the world. While this wave election should be celebrated (and yes, acknowledged as actually a wave election), it must also be clear that the wave has not crested yet. This cycle was about building a pipeline of generational talent and rethinking how we connect with progressive voters. (our emphasis)And, despite the structural barriers raised by Republicans over the years,
Yet we persevered. Sure, we had to win the national popular vote by 9 percent in order to win the House. And yes, on the state level, it’s just as hard—in Wisconsin, for example, Democrats won all statewide offices, but the Republicans still control the state legislatures thanks to the way districts are allocated, compounded by vicious laws meant to suppress the vote.
But, real talk: We can’t undo decades of concentrated and sustained investment by our opponents in just 18 months. It will take years of hard work, day in and day out. We’ll need to focus, go local, invest in infrastructure and shake off old and dated “conventional wisdom” about what a good candidate is and how to allocate resources.Tuesday was a great start (and getting greater by the day as more House seats are called for Democrats and two Senate seats thought to be lost to Republicans are still much in play). It was the biggest wave election for Democrats in the House since the mid- terms following Watergate in 1974 -- that's 44 years! But, as Litman says, we have to be in this for the long haul, just as the ultra- right conservative movement has been for 4 decades or more. Every election will bring victories and some defeats, but this year Democrats made huge strides -- the greatest of all being winning back the House (by a significant margin that's growing every day). Everything else was gravy.