By Riley Dauber
The results of the midterm election slowly trickled in on Nov. 8 and 9 before it was determined that the Democrats are now in charge of the Senate.
Nevada’s race for senator between Democrat Catherine Cortez Mastro and Republican Adam Laxalt was close, but ultimately ended with Mastro’s win. This victory means that the runoff election in Georgia, which took place on Dec. 6 between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, will not determine which party has control over the Senate, according to BBC News.
Many Democrats celebrated this success by thanking everyone for casting their votes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also acknowledged the win and what it means for abortion rights in the United States moving forward.
“Because the American people turned out to elect Democrats in the Senate, there’s now a firewall against a nationwide abortion ban threat that so many Republicans have talked about,” Schumer said.
With so many issues on the ballot this election season, including abortion rights, it was crucial that every U.S. citizen used their right to vote.
“What we saw last night is that abortion rights and freedom rights really helped us defy history. What putting abortion on the ballot did was keep these midterms competitive,” Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said in an article for the 19th.
Many voters were encouraged to go out and vote on Election Day due to the important issues on the ballot. According to the 19th, young voters and women of color helped elect officials who were running on maintaining women’s rights and keeping abortion legal in the states.
According to The 19th, “Issues including threats to democracy, racism, gun violence, the economy, and abortion were simultaneously on the minds of voters as they cast their ballots this year.”
The importance of these issues was reflected in the elected candidates, who were diverse in terms of race, gender, and sexuality.
According to NPR, 678 LGBTQ+ candidates ran in this election, and 340 candidates won their positions this year.
These candidates include Governors Maura Healey from Massachusetts and Tina Kotek from Oregon, as well as State Treasurer Erick Russell from Connecticut and State Representative James Roesener in New Hampshire.
Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer, many were worried about the future of other court cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which made same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states.
The importance of diversity was recently on display when the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act on Nov. 29. According to CNN, “[The bill] would require individual states to recognize another state’s legal marriage.”
The bill protects same-sex marriages, so if in the future the Supreme Court attempts to “overturn its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized same-sex marriage, a state could still pass a law to ban same-sex marriage, but that state would be required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state,” according to CNN.
It is also beneficial to have diverse voices in politics to represent people of all walks of life. Hopefully, gone are the days of old, white men making decisions for every single person in America.
This election also saw an increase in younger candidates, with “Democrat Maxwell Frost being the first member of Generation Z elected to Congress” in Florida, according to CNN.
Frost won the seat for Florida’s 10th Congressional District, and is focused on reducing gun violence and implementing universal background checks, according to CNN.
With the recent uptick in gun violence, including the shootings in Colorado Springs and Virginia, it is crucial that the members of the U.S. government take steps in decreasing gun violence by implementing background checks and stricter gun regulations.
Younger candidates like Frost will hopefully work toward decreasing gun violence across the country, as well as decreasing the number of school shootings to keep fellow members of Generation Z safe.
Despite many Democrats winning their specific elections, it was announced on Nov. 17 that Republicans would most likely win the House of Representatives, according to CNN. Now each party will have specific control of either the Senate or the House, which may lead to future conflict as each political party attempts to push their beliefs and laws.
However, it does feel rewarding to see so many diverse candidates sworn into Congress this election season. Many voters are looking to these diverse candidates who may share their identity and hope that they will make choices that will protect their communities and cultures.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Photo Caption: Gov. Maura Healey, D-M.A. is amongst the 340 LGBTQ+ candidates who won their positions in the 2022 midterm election.