There might not have been a red wave in the midterms, but there certainly was a rainbow wave. There are so many takeaways from the midterms on what drove the result. Mainstream media is fixated on how poorly Republicans did, how Trump candidates failed, and how Trump wound up being the big loser. Abortion rights won across the nation where it was on the ballot, and it became a major issue as some predicted.
What about the LGBTQ community in this election? The results are in: we had big and historic wins across the country. We elected more candidates to public office in the history of this country, 340 at last count, and they comprise every office from Governor to State representative and everything else in between, and they happened in some very surprising places.
In Massachusetts, we had the first lesbian in the nation to be elected Governor, Maura Healey. In Colorado, the incumbent gay Governor Jared Polis won re-election. Dana Nessel won re-election as Michigan Attorney General. Trans men and trans women candidates won in places like Montana and Minnesota. LGBTQ people of color and immigrants won seats, including three in Pennsylvania.
While Republicans across the country campaigned against the LGBTQ community, several mainstream Democratic candidates not only embraced the LGBTQ community but campaigned on their overwhelming support of our community. That was on full view in Pennsylvania, where Democratic Governor-elect Josh Shapiro campaigned to save marriage equality, while his Republican opponent campaigned stating that he would overturn marriage equality. And Senator-elect John Fetterman, who as Lt. Governor hung a rainbow flag outside his capital office window (which had Republicans passing legislation prohibiting all flags) also campaigned on his LGBTQ record. Both won and both won big… and the icing on the cake? Both their opponents were Trump-endorsed candidates.
So what does this all mean and how will we see how it affects our lives? The first big test of that will come sometime before the end of this Senate term in December. Due to worries that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule against marriage equality, there is legislation to codify Marriage equality. It has already passed the House and it needs 60 votes in the Senate to become law. Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin, is heading the lobbying team and she believes she’ll have the votes.
I do not have enough room in today’s column to list all of the 340 winning LGBTQ candidates this election. That’s a rainbow wave! For a community that feels under siege, take the victory, and feel the hope!