Biden and Harris win, plus more election firsts

The 2020 Election saw many victories around the country. The most obvious one was former Vice President Joe Biden’s election to the Oval Office. Our newly-appointed president vows to bring tradition back to the White House—have you seen those German Shepherds yet?—but there were a lot of “firsts” that happened on election night around the country that broke the traditional expectation that only white men can win elections.

 

First and foremost, Senator Kamala Harris will be the first female vice president the country has ever had. Harris is also the first Black, first South Asian, first child of immigrants, and first HBCU graduate to hold the office of vice president. 

 

“All the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century, 100 years ago with the 19th Amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act, and now in 2020 with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continue the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard,” she said in her victory speech. “Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been. I stand on their shoulders.”

 

The 117th Congress is going to be the most vibrant in all of the United States’ history; across the nation we saw a number of diverse victories. One hundred and thirty-five women were elected to Congress as of November 10—a record number. New Mexico filled all three of their congressional seats with women, the first time in its history. Democrat Deb Haaland, who is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, was re-elected to serve New Mexico’s 1st congressional district, and Republican Yvette Herrell, a Cherokee woman, will represent the 2nd. Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez is the first woman and Latina to represent northern New Mexico in the 3rd district. 

 

In Delaware, Sarah McBride became the first transgender state senator, making her the highest-ranking transgender politician in the country’s history. 

 

“I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too,” she tweeted after her victory. 

 

The LGBTQ+ community also made history in Oklahoma. Mauree Turner, who uses she/they pronouns, became the first non-binary, first Muslim and first Black politican to represent the state’s 88th district. In New York state, Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres became the first gay Black members of Congress.

 

Cori Bush, who ran for the third time this election cycle, finally found victory in Missouri. Bush, the first Black woman to represent the state, got into politics in 2014 when she volunteered as a triage nurse and organizer after Michael Brown’s death. 

 

“To the Black women, the Black girls, the nurses, the essential workers, the single mothers. This is our moment,” she said after her win. 

 

The United States has long considered itself a melting pot of cultures, so it’s about time that Congress reflected the population it was serving. With more voices on the Senate floor and in the House of Representatives, there allows for more empathy and respect for this nation’s citizens. Americans come from all over the world and have many beliefs. With this most diverse class of congresspeople, we can only hope they will form a more perfect union—a nation that treats everyone with respect and dignity. 

 

While these are just a few of the names who made history this year, their victories pave the way for many young Americans who will now be able to see themselves in office one day.