Toria Sheffield
November 07, 2018 5:15 am

Last night, November 6th, were the 2018 midterm elections. Millions of Americans cast their ballots this year (over 36 million of whom voted early) in order to make their voices heard…and for good reason. Some experts hailed this year’s election as the most important in our lifetime, and one that could drastically change the course of our nation’s history.

Why? Because it provided the opportunity for Democrats to regain control of the House and Senate, which would help to contain Donald Trump and his conservative agenda (especially now that the Supreme Court skews to the right with not one, but two recent conservative appointments from the current administration).

So, how did we do as a country last night? Read on for the biggest takeaways, and what they mean going forward.

1Democrats regained control of the House, but not the Senate.

While some may be disappointed that Dems didn’t take both the House and Senate (and therefore have total control of Congress), this was actually the more expected scenario based on demographics and projections. It also means some good news and bad news: Now that Democrats control one part of the legislative branch, Trump will have way more difficulty getting key laws passed. It also means that Democrats are better positioned and more empowered to investigate Trump and his potential illegal activities. However, the fact that Dems didn’t take control of the Senate means that they won’t be able to block any potential Supreme Court nominations—which is a scary thought considering Trump’s current record.

2This was a major year for women.

According to CNN, not only do exit polls indicate that women made up the majority of voters this year, but 2018 marks a huge win for women in office. There was a record-breaking number of women running, and according to Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman, there will now be over 100 women in the House for the first time in history. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York just became the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress at 29 years old. Sharice Davids of Kansas (and former MMA fighter) is now one of the first Native American women to ever be elected to the House (along with Deb Haaland of New Mexico). Rashida Tlaib just became one of the two first Muslim women in Congress (joined by Ilhan Omar). And that’s just to name a few.

CNN also notes that many of the women running focused on family issues and education, and that the midterms show that a female presidential candidate may be the Democrats’ best bet in the fight against Donald Trump in 2020.

3However, women’s rights are still very much under assault.

Both West Virginia and Alabama officially passed anti-abortion amendments in their state constitutions. Because abortion is (thankfully) legal on a federal level, this will likely pave the way for a number of lawsuits in each state…lawsuits that could make their way to the Supreme Court. This is scary news for reproductive rights, because the court currently has a conservative slant (and Brett Kavanaugh infamously implied that Roe v. Wade can be overturned).

4Republicans had big wins in gubernatorial races.

CNN notes that Democrats had their eyes on both Ohio and Florida this year, but GOP candidates won for governor in both. This could have major repercussions down the road for the presidential elections, because both are key swing states. The GOP victory in both places seems to indicate that constituents are likely to vote red in 2020.

Now what?

While the November 6th elections saw some key victories for Dems, it also proved one major thing: We are still very much a country divided, and there’s still much work to be done if we’re going to change course come 2020. In the meantime, we can continue to donate to organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood to help protect civil and reproductive rights—both of which are under assault in the current climate. We can also use our power as consumers by boycotting brands that sell guns (and make our reason for boycotts abundantly clear to those brands through letter-writing and phone calls). You can also contact your congressional representatives and tell them you will not vote for them should they support policies you disagree with come next election.

While the 2018 midterms didn’t result in a sweeping victory for those of us who oppose Donald Trump and everything he stands for, it did prove that change is possible (especially by the Democrat’s victory in the House). Let’s use the current energy, anger, and excitement to enact more change come 2020.

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