by BTWN Culture
Part of the reason why we created BTWN Culture, is to add our contribution to help increase and diversify the black experiences shown to the rest of the world. So with the 2018 midterm elections results mostly in, we wanted to kickstart our blog with 3 optimistic facts about the future of minority representation in the U.S. Government.
1. Florida votes yes on Amendment 4
Voting yes on returning voting rights to convicted felons, Florida returns voting rights to over 1 million Americans. Florida's former policies disproportionately affected African-Americans (particularly men).
"Florida had disenfranchised more potential voters than any other state, with more than 10% of all potential voters and more than 21% of potential black voters in Florida unable to vote due to felony records," according to Vox News.
With elections being determined by just 0.6% and less in this notoriously purple state, these new votes can make all the difference for African-American candidates running in the state in the future.
2. Black gubernatorial candidates in Red/Swing states make it further than ever before, winning nearly 50% of the vote.
This midterm election saw major disappointments for historic black candidates. Many hoped Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum would become Florida's first black governor. Gillum fought a close race but fell behind his opponent by only about 0.6%. Meanwhile, Georgia candidate Stacey Abrams came in closely behind her opponent Brian Kemp, with 46% and 52% of Georgia votes respectively. She is not giving up, and as of yet, has not conceded.
Even with high hopes for these candidates dashed by their seeming losses, there are some positive takeaways. The state of Florida has had a Republican Governor for the past 20 years. The fact is, Mayor Andrew Gillum remains the first Democratic candidate to come this close (less than a percentage point) to swinging the state in favor of a Democratic governor in over two decades. And, he pulled it off while being black.
Stacey Abrams, an absolute trailblazer, is the first black woman to have ran for governor and come this far (within 7 percentage points). And she is one of few women to have been a major candidate for governor of any state (of the hundreds of governors to have served in the U.S, there have been only 42 women to have served as governor to date).
3. The amount of women who were elected in the 2018 midterm elections is record breaking!
A record number of women have been elected to The House of Representatives. And a record number of women ran for office this season (Take a look at Essence's "Chisholm List" for a complete list of profiles of the many diverse black woman who ran for office in the 2018 election).
"From a pair of Native American women to a Somali refugee to the first openly gay man elected governor, the 2018 midterm elections brought a series of history-making votes that marked major accomplishments for women and LGBT candidates," according to CNN Politics.
Win or no win, these candidates have set an extraordinary precedent that positively foreshadows the 2020 election, that suggests finally more representation in the future of U.S politics, and that surely inspires women, black people, and other minorities to run for office.