We can breathe a sigh of relief. As the last races of the US midterm elections begin to be called, there is a clear victory for the Democrats in the House of Representatives. For the first time in eight years — and the first time in Trump’s presidency — the House went blue, meaning we finally have a check on Trump’s power, a check that has been so glaringly lacking for the first two years of his administration. The House can subpoena, it can set its own agenda, it can block, and it can investigate. We can breathe a sigh of relief, but it’s not the time for the trumpets of victory.
Despite this win, the blue wave that we hoped for did not materialize. He locked children in cages and tried to erase transgender people completely. He appointed an accused rapist to the Supreme Court and belittled victims everywhere. He thwarted global agendas and spouted racism and vitriol. And still, there was no blue wave. The Republicans have strengthened their grip on the Senate — with its judicial approval power — and Republican governors took hold in some crucial swing states. This was not a wave, it was not a flood. We have so much more work to go.
The trailblazing candidates who have broken barriers in the midterms – video https://t.co/6aAm4hHrzD
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) November 7, 2018
Because, despite the Democratic progress, there was still a tacit acceptance of Trump from huge sections of the country — and, in some of the most violent battleground elections, an explicit acceptance of racism and hate. “As such this election saw the normalization of white nationalism, as an open, mainstream ideology. Indeed there was one race fought explicitly on this issue. Iowa representative, Steve King, has compared undocumented migrants to livestock and recently endorsed a neo-Nazi sympathizer for Toronto mayor. King won by roughly 8,500 votes,” Gary Younge writes. “Presidents generally do poorly in midterm elections. Both Obama and Clinton saw their parties fare worse during their first midterms. Trump is no different. Both Obama and Clinton then went on to win second terms. It is no longer unthinkable that Trump could too.”
There is, of course, so much to be celebrated. An unprecedented number of women won seats — including Native women and Muslim women, for the first time ever. But we are still a country divided. We are still a country riddled with gerrymandering and voter suppression targeting the most vulnerable and under-represented groups. And we are still a country that, in huge numbers, is happy to be complicit in Trump’s hateful, racist, and prejudiced agendas. So celebrate this victory — but don’t forget all of the work that needs to be done.