A Republic, If You Can Keep It: Democracy Won on Election Night

7 mins read

My name is Edward Smith, and I’m the Facebook lead for DemCast USA. I have looked at the election data and so far we’ve seen mostly good news — and some bad news — from the midterm elections. Let’s peel some of the layers from the onion that was election night.

While we are waiting to find out if Democrats will hold the House, the total losses are much smaller than mainstream media led us to expect. There are several outstanding districts that are going to determine the House majority. Democrats will continue to control the Senate, and the Georgia runoff could increase the majority.

But regardless of what happens next, there is one thing that keeps coming back to me: DEMOCRACY WON!

On Nov. 9, CNN noted that in the 12 states where election deniers were running for secretary of state, six lost and four won. All of the election deniers who won were in GOP-dominated states. 

Jim Marchant, the Republican secretary of state candidate in Nevada, had said that if he was elected, he would push to eliminate mail-in voting, ballot drop boxes, and the use of electronic voting machines. He also promised to decertify Nevada’s 2020 presidential election result because he believes former president Donald Trump won. Fortunately, he lost to Democrat Cisco Aguilar.

In gubernatorial races, 22 GOP deniers ran: seven won, while 12 lost (including in Pennsylvania, which holds 20 electoral votes, and the winner signs off on the slate of electors). The ability for election deniers to call for a constitutional convention of states is greatly curtailed by these losses.

There was record participation from our youth voters, the second highest ever, and this was a MIDTERM. Can you imagine the mobilization in 2024? It is going to be breathtaking. 

Nine of 19 senatorial GOP deniers lost their bids while 10 won (in GOP-dominated states) and one is going to a runoff in Georgia.

Let’s look at what happened in this year’s election and what it all means.

The progressive wing of Congress is growing, adding names like Summer Lee, John Fetterman, Delia Ramirez, Maxwell Frost, Greg Casar, and Becca Balint. Those affiliated with the more progressive wing of the party won their races last night.

Sunrise Movement director Varshini Prakash said in a post-election statement that the group made hundreds of thousands of calls and door knocks for candidates who won. “That’s why our leaders must invest in us — from running candidates who fight for the issues that matter most to our generation, to delivering policy at the federal level that make our lives better, to putting money into critical youth organizing efforts that have historically been undervalued.” 

Joe Biden had the best midterm results for a first-term Democrat since 1978.

The Workers’ Rights Amendment passed in Illinois.

Missouri and Maryland legalized marijuana.

Alabama, Tennessee, Oregon, and Vermont all voted to end slavery via prison labor.

In South Dakota, Medicaid expansion was on the ballot and passed by 12 points. This was the seventh successful effort to expand Medicaid in Republican-led states since 2017. By expanding Medicaid, South Dakota is expected to receive an additional $328 million in federal funds in the first year and generate 4,000 new jobs according to Zach Marcus, campaign manager for South Dakotans Decide Healthcare.

Arizona residents with medical debt will get more protections. Proposition 209 passed by a 72% to 28% vote, according to Arizona Secretary of State data. It will cap the interest rate on medical debt at 3% and limit wage garnishment for medical debt to a maximum of 30% of earnings. That is a 44-point win.

Minimum wage workers in Nebraska will get a boost in pay. The initiative won by a whopping 16 points.

California, Michigan, and Vermont voted to protect the right to abortion in their state constitutions.

Kentucky, yes, deep red Kentucky, voted down an amendment to their constitution to deny the right to an abortion.

Progressive prosecutors won as a wave crashed across the country, one that was blue, not red.

Democrats flipped the state House in Michigan (giving them both houses for the first time in 40 years) as well as in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, while also gaining full control of state capitals in Maryland and Massachusetts.

Wisconsin voters ended the GOP supermajority that would then be able to overrule any veto by the reelected Gov. Tony Evers.

And while the GOP did make some gains at the state level, it’s remarkable to note that they did not flip any state houses, but rather held onto what they already had. They consolidated power by creating supermajorities in both Florida legislative chambers as well as in the North Carolina Senate, Wisconsin Senate, Iowa Senate and South Carolina House, but they have not flipped any of the 50 state chambers as of yet.

While the elections held some bad news for Democrats along with the good, a deeper dive shows incredible results. Americans will not go gently into that good night of authoritarianism. We can speak with one voice. We do NOT love big brother. 

Philadelphia, 1787. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention are just leaving Independence Hall, having decided on the general structure for the new United States. A crowd had gathered on the steps in front, eager to hear the news. A sturdy old woman (sometimes referred to as “an anxious lady”) wearing a shawl approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him, “Well, Doctor, what do we have, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied sagely, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

With the youth of this country turning out in record numbers, there is immense hope that Benjamin Franklin may have just received his answer: YES WE CAN!  

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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