Election 2018 is in the books. Change is in the air nationally. However, more work is needed here in South Carolina. As I write, some elections are still too close to call on the national level and ballots are still being counted, recounts have launched, and a flicker of hope remains alive in some high-profile races. While we regret that we fell short on electing a pro-equality Governor, we see hope on several other fronts.
The Rainbow Wave is real, and it has altered the playing field for LGBTQ rights significantly. We emerge from the midterms with more support for statewide LGBTQ protections and more pro-equality lawmakers in in Columbia.
First, voters secured a critical check to the Trump administration’s attack on our community by putting Democrats in control of the U.S. House of Representatives. The net gain of 30+ seats (and counting) will help protect access to healthcare and progress on an LGBTQ non-discrimination bill is now possible.
Second, women, LGBTQ people, people of color, and various faith communities all made historic gains. More openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were elected Tuesday night than in any previous election. At least 153 candidates have won so far with more victories possible as close races are still being tallied.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin won her re-election. Two LGBTQ governors were elected – including Jared Polis in Colorado, the nation’s first openly gay governor, and Kate Brown in Oregon, who is openly bisexual. And a lesbian is one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress.
In states across the country, women ran in historic numbers – and more women were elected to the House than ever before.