Look, I get it. The Blue Wave was supposed to be America’s big public rebuke of Trumpism, our chance to show the world that the past two years are not what we are, by way of cathartic landslide victories and eye-popping statistics. Anything less lacks that long-sought sense of relief that reality might, finally, start bending back towards normalcy. But while it may feel like we’ve missed out on our moment in these midterms, the fact is that it hasn’t actually arrived yet.
Like any other midterm election, last night wasn’t about the actions of the current administration. Not directly, at least. For most Americans, last night was about their own local issues, and the people they chose to address them. It was a referendum on those representatives, and their relationship with Donald Trump was only one factor in those peoples’ decisions.
He may have cast a long shadow over the proceedings last night, but reading through the list of losses as endorsements of Trump himself would be missing the point. Two years from now, if Donald Trump is still on the ballot (an increasingly large “if” given the pace of the Mueller investigation), that will be our time to render judgement on this administration. To send our message to the world- to show them who we are. So hold onto that energy, because last night was only the end of the first round. Round Two starts today.
It starts with a renewed sense of the importance of civic engagement across the electorate- borne out by figures showing the highest midterm turnout rate in at least 52 years, based on early voting data. Not to mention a nearly 200% increase in youth early voting.
It starts with a replenished bench of Democratic candidates and a veritable army of talented staff who aren’t going anywhere, whether they won their races or not. People ready and eager to take another swing at the fences, and to help others take their first.
It starts with our newly-blue governor’s mansions putting Democratic policy proposals into action in their states, giving voters across the country a real glimpse of what our party has to offer while improving the lives of millions.
It starts with a grassroots campaign apparatus built from the wreckage of 2016 and forged by the midterms, ready to be polished and refined for 2020, and a Senate map primed and ready to use it on.
Most importantly, it starts with building on the gains of these midterms, and following through on the promises made. We’ve got two years and counting to prove to everyone that we deserve the trust they’ve placed in us, and that we’re ready for more. Don’t unroll your sleeves just yet, folks. We’ve still got plenty of work to do.