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2018 Midterms: The Elections of Record-Breaking Diversity

Yesterday were the US midterm elections, and although we’re still waiting for some results, most of the elections have been decided, and there’s so much to take in. Republicans maintain their hold on the Senate but Democrats now have the House of Representatives majority. There were also many firsts for the US and its government.

In 2016, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar was the first Somali-American elected to US state legislature, and yesterday, she and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Coincidentally, the first Muslim elected to Congress (which was in 2007), Keith Ellison, is also from Minnesota and will be the next Minnesota attorney general. Omar will also be the first Somali-American congresswoman, marking yet another first.

Tlaib, left, and Omar, right

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, after winning in New York, will be the youngest Congresswoman ever elected, and she also happens to be Latina.

America elected its first Indigenous Congresswomen with Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico. Davids will also be Kansas’s first openly lesbian Congresswoman.

Davids, left, and Haaland, right

Ayanna Pressley will be Massachussett’s first Black Congresswoman after having been the first woman of color on the Boston City Council.

California’s Young Kim will be the first Korean-American Congresswoman after winning in California’s 39th district.

Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia will be Texas’s first Latina Congresswomen after winning the 16th and 29th districts, respectively.

Escobar, left, and Garcia, right

Jared Polis of Colorado became the first openly gay man elected governor in the United States, although he won’t be the first governor who is openly gay (New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey came out in 2004 after having been elected and resigned thereafter due to scandal).

More than 100 women were elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in US history, so although there’s still a fair amount of work to do to get the House, which has 435 members, to represent the gender diversity of the country, it’s still incredibly exciting progress. 

This is true of the midterms in general; while there’s much work to do to make the diversity of elected officials representative of the diversity of the country, the progress gained is extremely exciting, and progress, no matter how small, is still progress.

Rachel Minkovitz is a senior at Bates College double majoring in Psychology and French and Francophone Studies. She spends a lot of time listening to music, hanging out with friends, reading and writing, advocating for social justice, and looking for furry animals. 
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