By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, [email protected]
Unfortunately, I need to start with the bad news from the historic midterms of 2018.
Three rising superstars of the Democratic Party all lost or are losing (at press time) in the three highest profile races of the midterms; Stacey Abrams in her bid for governor of Georgia, Beto O’Rourke’s attempted ascension to the U.S. Senate in Texas and Andrew Gillum’s battle to be the next governor of Florida.
For me, the Gillum loss stings most. He lost (by less than one percent) to Ron De Santis, a mediocre White man, a Trump mini-me, who launched his racist campaign against the brilliant Gillum with the now infamous “monkey this up” comment.
Abrams, who would have been the first Black woman governor in American history (and at some point still could be) is still technically battling for the Georgia governor’s mansion; there could be a mandatory run-off between her and her opponent Brian Kemp, if he does not maintain more than 50 percent of the vote as ballots are still being counted (currently he clings to a razor thin margin with about 50.4 percent). Abrams perseveres despite the fact she is fighting against Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State, a man who presides over the election process, essentially acting as referee of his own game. Kemp has been an electoral war criminal (he has been very cozy with White supremacists), who has purged Georgia’s voting rolls of more than a million people (the majority of them people of color). Yet, Abrams has battled him in Georgia, the great symbol of the Jim Crow, Confederate old South, to a draw. The charismatic O’Rourke, like Joe Namath in Super Bowl III endeavored to do the impossible, but unlike Broadway Joe, fell a little short.
But, to be clear, Abrams, Gillum and O’Rourke are all dynamic forces to contend with in America’s political arena; all three could play significant roles in the presidential campaign of 2020.
But, there is good news and a lot of it; more than 100 women were elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in American history. Anyone who doesn’t recognize that transcendent political shift as a slap in the face to the misogyny and sexism of Donald John Trump, the P grabber in chief, they aren’t paying attention.
Among the midterm winners are Ayanna Pressley, the first Black woman to be elected a U.S. Representative from the state of Massachusetts; Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the first Muslim women elected to Congress and Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia, the first Latinas to represent Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives.
And although O’Rourke didn’t pull off an upset for the ages in Texas, Colin Allred, a Black former NFL player and civil rights lawyer ousted Republican Rep. Pete Sessions in the 32nd Congressional District in Texas.
Perhaps, more important than the groundbreaking wins for women and people of color across the nation are the catastrophic political consequences for the 45th president with this definitive shift of power and rejection of Trumpism.
House committee chairs will move from Republican control, to Democratic control and that means the Intelligence Committee will be headed by Rep. Adam Schiff of California; the Judiciary Committee will be led by Jerry Nadler of New York and Baltimore’s Elijah Cummings will take over the Chair of Oversight and Government Reform. These committees are three of the most influential in the House and with Schiff, Nadler and the venerable Cummings at the helms comes more scrutiny, more investigations and more subpoenas for the most corrupt administration in American history. Trump may bluster and bloviate, but he knows he is in deep trouble.
At the end of the day, Trump will claim credit for all the GOP wins and point his stubby orange finger of blame at others for the Republican losses, because he is petty, he is weak and he is infinitely ignorant.
But, let there be no doubt, Trump’s diabolical stranglehold on American governance has been broken and his political demise may be imminent.
Sean Yoes is the Baltimore editor of the AFRO and author of the book, Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.