Caitlin Gallagher
November 08, 2017 1:37 pm
Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

If you were overwhelmingly disappointed in America during the 2016 election, your progressive heart should feel a bit lighter after the 2017 election. Although the November 7th election only affected some states, you might be feeling more optimistic than you did yesterday, and it’s thanks to the major winners of the 2017 election.

Donald Trump is still very much our nation’s president, but the 2017 election showed that progressive and inclusive thinking is alive and well — at least in some states. While numerous cities held local elections for positions ranging from mayor to school board, only two states, New Jersey and Virginia, had gubernatorial elections in 2017. New Jersey and Virginia also had state legislative elections — New Jersey for its General Assembly and Senate, and Virginia for its House of Delegates. But even though the results for progressives weren’t as overwhelmingly striking as they could possibly be in a midterm election year — like next year’s 2018 race — this off-year election still suggests hope for Democrats.

With notable wins for LGBTQ+ and minority candidates, there’s something to celebrate. So here are some of the big Democratic winners from the 2017 election — and they are wins for forward-thinking citizens as well.

1Ralph Northam

Although a Democrat is the current governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam’s win is significant in the post-Trump era and also reflects the Democratic sweep in the state during the 2017 election.

2Phil Murphy

For New Jersey’s governor race, Phil Murphy defeated Republican Kim Guadagno, who served under Chris Christie for the last eight years.

3Danica Roem

Roem was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates after being Virginia’s first openly transgender candidate. She isn’t the first transgender person to serve in a state legislature (that would be Massachusetts’ Althea Garrison in the ’90s), but her win is particularly poignant considering she defeated Bob Marshall, who reportedly called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe.”

4Andrea Jenkins

As an openly transgender black woman, Andrea Jenkins was elected to the Minneapolis, Minnesota, City Council.

5Vi Lyles

Vi Lyles defeated Republican Kenny Smith to become the first African American female mayor in the history of Charlotte, North Carolina.

6Ravinder Bhalla

Despite being targeted by racist flyers because he wears a turban, Ravi Bhalla became the first Sikh mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey.

7Jenny Durkan

Seattle was going to see its first woman mayor since the 1920s no matter what, but Jenny Durkan is projected to defeat Cary Moon to become the first lesbian mayor of Washington’s largest city.

8Melvin Carter

In Minnesota, the city of St. Paul elected its first black mayor ever, Melvin Carter.

So when the world gets you down, let these groundbreaking winners from the 2017 election remind you that not all hope is lost.

Advertisement