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JB Pritzker

Takeaways from the 2018 Midterms

Giving House Democrats control while discovering weak spots give us a clear path to victory in 2020

Kris LaGrange's picture
Nov 07, 2018

Democrats may have taken back the House, but the icing on the cake for UCOMM during yesterday’s Mid-term election was Scott Walker getting defeated in Wisconsin. The AFL-CIO’s press release on it was comical, to say the least. It simply said, “Scott Walker was a national disgrace.” Another big win for organized labor was in Illinois, where Governor Bruce Rauner lost his bid for re-election. Rauner was one of the driving forces behind the Janus case, helping to get it started and helping to fund it. He was defeated by J.B. Pritzker by a vote of 54.5% to 38.6%.

The Blue Wave even hit Texas. While the AFL-CIO endorsed Beto O’rourke may have lost his Senate race to Ted Cruz, he increased turnout to record levels. In doing so he not only proved that the Lone Star state could go Blue, but he also helped suburban Democrats win their close races. By the end of the night, Texas had flipped two seats, sending Lizzie Pannill Fletcher and former NFL PA member Colin Allred to Congress. The increased turnout also made a number of races significantly more competitive than in previous years and showed the country that Democrats can compete in Texas.

Democrats also made significant inroads in flipping state legislatures. While they are often overlooked, they hold a lot of power. In New York thanks to a strong push by unions, especially the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), Democrats finally flipped the State Senate, putting the entire state under Democratic control. While they only needed one seat to take the majority, they won an amazing 8 seats. Other state legislatures flipped as well, including New Hampshire, Colorado, Connecticut, and Maine. All three states will now have complete Democratic control. In Minnesota, the House flipped, but the Senate didn’t, making it the only state in the country with a divided legislature. In Nevada, the union turnout machine led by the Culinary Workers Union helped Democrats take over when Steve Sisolak was elected Governor, making them the only Right to Work state in which Democrats have complete control. They also helped one of their former members, Jacky Rosen, to the US Senate, a seat that was a pickup for the Democrats.


While these wins were great, there were some hard losses. As readers of UCOMM Blog know, we can’t figure out Missouri. They do a great thing like repeal Right to Work, but then elect a Trump Republican to the Senate. Maybe we need to just abandon them, stop worrying about them, and let them learn from their mistakes. Experts are also saying that Florida was a disappointment, but out of the bad comes the good. Florida is a pretty racist place and the county by county data gives us an idea of what messaging works and what doesn’t. Plus, Amendment 4 passed giving voting rights back to felons once they serve their time and complete their sentences. This could be a gamechanger in future elections as thousands of new voters, many who are minorities, become eligible to vote. Just like Liuba Grechen Shirley’s lawsuit against the FEC to use campaign dollars for daycare, Amendment 4 is a gamechanger for future elections.

Across the nation, voter turnout surged. According to exit polls, the youth vote surged an amazing 188% over 2014. Stirred to activism by Trump and movements like the Parkland kids, these young voters played an important role in races across the nation. College students and young people across Texas lined up to vote for Beto, and even sued to get a polling and early vote site on the Prairie A&M campus. This group of voters is growing and today’s high school sophomores will be voters in 2020. With a newly elected Democratic House, they will have an opportunity to speak to them while Trump’s supporters send pipe bombs, light up synagogues, and arm their children with AR-15’s in our schools. These so-called Parkland Voters may see an ally in a Democratic House that has talked about sensible gun legislation, like restricting the sale of automatic weapons.

Yesterday the DCCC showed signs of life again hitting some of their targets, but the organization is still not out of hot water just yet. This year’s mid-terms saw 100 women elected to Congress, some with DCCC support, some without. They will bring new, fresh faces and ideas to D.C. They also will bring new viewpoints, including a Democratic Socialist millennial from New York to a professional fighter from Kansas and many in between. These women will bring something to Washington that they have never seen before. While the new Democratic majority will mean that Nancy Pelosi will once again be Speaker of the House, we hope that her time in that role is short. We have a new Congress and we need new leadership.

On the Republican side, there was a clear message. In Trump’s GOP there is no place for moderate Republicans. Many moderates lost, while the super crazy, racist, xenophobes and the nutty bigots that make up the new GOP maintained their seats. The lesson here is that only the lunatics will survive in Trump’s America for now and this election will drive more and more of them to Trump’s divisive, racist, and angry brand of politics.

With the Midterms over, the 2020 Presidential race starts today. You thought you would get a break? We are only 15 months away from the Iowa Caucus. For the Democrats, the short list is a pretty long one. Some of the candidates include:

Senators: Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, and Chris Murphy

Governors: Andrew Cuomo, John Hickenlooper, Steve Bullock, Jay Inslee, Terry McAuliffe, Deval Patrick

Cabinet Officials: Eric Holder, Julian Castro

House Members: John Delany, Tulsi Gabbard, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Eric Swalwell

Mayors: Pete Buttigieg, Bill de Blasio, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Mitch Landrieu

Outside of politics: Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and Michael Avenatti

Some have even said that Andrew Gillum, who is currently trailing in Florida’s Governor’s race could run. There has also been a lot of attention around Beto O’Rourke who proved he could raise money and has fired up many in the Democratic base. Some are even comparing him to Barack Obama. Here at UCOMM, we have been saying for a while that former Maryland Governor and Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley would be a great candidate as well.

While conservative media, like the New York Post, have said that last night’s results weren’t a Blue Wave but instead a blue ripple, we disagree. Turnout was up across the country, in some places, election officials described it as high as Presidential years. Voters from Georgia to New York City reported waiting on line for over an hour to vote thanks to the greater turnout. It is clear that this year there was a sense of responsibility to come out and vote. That responsibility to our country has led to the Democrats being put in a situation where they can demand to see Trump’s tax returns, help Mueller in the Russia investigation, serve as a real check on Trump and his cabinet secretaries, and quite possibly make a symbolic effort to impeach Brett Kavanaugh, who will give us a national Right to Work law and impeach Trump himself.

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