The elections results are in! This election has been a historic moment for women. Over 100 women secured a seat in Congress, and women of color broke barriers all night. As we reflect on the 2018 election results, let’s do some level-setting on what the results mean in our fight to save our courts and save our democracy.
After a contentious Supreme Court fight, some pundits speculated about the impact that the Kavanaugh vote would have in the Senate races. In interpreting the Senate result though, we need to take a look at the bigger picture. First, Kavanaugh was the most unpopular Supreme Court nominee in recent history. An MSNBC exit poll found that midterm voters opposed the Kavanaugh confirmation by 48- 43%. Second, this year’s Senate races were going to be tight regardless of the SCOTUS confirmation. Democrats were projected to only have a 1 in 6 chance of winning the Senate. Many of the ten Democratic Senators running for re-election were in states that had overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump in 2016.
On the flip side of this, several national polls suggest that the confirmation energized the left more than the right. The Politico/ Morning Consult national poll showed that Democratic enthusiasm rose in the wake of the confirmation battle, with 77% of Democratic voters saying they were very motivated to turn out and vote, compared to 68% of Republicans who said they were very motivated to turn out. A CNN Poll found that among Democrats, negative impressions of Kavanaugh have jumped 30 points, from 56% in August to 86%. The USA Today Poll showed that voters were more likely to vote for a Democrat than Republican because of the Kavanaugh confirmation. In fact, the Fox News exits polls confirmed that only 43% of Republicans thought the debate over Kavanaugh’s confirmation was very/ somewhat important to their vote, compared to 53% of Democrats.
Moreover, what is clear from Tuesday is that the 2018 election was driven by women and won for women. Women have already won a record number of primary victories in the House and Senate, 234 and 22 respectively. We also saw some historic wins for women politicians including the first Native Women and Muslim women elected, and several districts being represented for the first time by African American and Latina women.
As we celebrate these victories, we must also look ahead at what the political landscape means for the issues we care about most. With a Democrat-controlled House, attention will shift to the fight for the judiciary, since the Senate can act unilaterally to affirm judges. We must continue to call for judicial accountability for Trump’s judges. We must demand an impartial, unbiased, fully-vetted judiciary. We cannot accept anything less than a judge who will commit to protecting our fundamental rights.
The wave of change is amongst us. Women cannot and will not be silenced.