As a canvass director for the Obama re-election campaign in Kingston, I have plenty of wonderful memories from the campaign, and I’ve made a lot of new friends in my community. I hope these relationships last a long time, well beyond Election Day. I’ve worked on a few presidential campaigns in the past, but this one was especially important to me because it reminded me about the importance of community, activism, and how important politics is, especially at the local level, knocking on doors, getting to you know your neighbors and talking to them about the issues. We finished the night at Bart and Urby’s in Wilkes-Barre, with a few celebratory drinks, and I was especially moved by the folks crying at the bar once the president was declared the victor.
Besides the president’s victory, progressives scored several major victories last night.
The Senate will have its first openly gay senator, after Wisconsin elected Democrat Tammy Baldwin last night.
Elizabeth Warren, who made her name known railing against Wall Street excess and lack of regulation, defeated Scott Brown last night for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat. Look for her to run for president a few election cycles from now. The base LOVES her, and she has a populist message that should resonate with millions of Americans. If Hillary doesn’t run, it’s possible Warren could be the nation’s first female president.
The two men that became famous because of their absurd and sexist comments about rape, Todd Akin and Richard Murdoch, lost their Senate races to women.
Tea Party darlings Allen West and Joe Walsh both lost their House seats to Democrats.
Gay marriage amendments were passed in Maine and Maryland.
African Americans and Latinos voted in record numbers.
More young people voted this year than in 2008, and that group broke heavily for the president, despite reports over the last few weeks that young people were less likely to vote, and if they did, less likely to support Obama. Here’s an article that breaks down the youth vote more.
After women lost a slew of races in 2010, they won several races last night. The Senate will now have 19 female senators, the most in U.S. history. Check out more info about the new female senators here here.
In Pennsylvania, Kathleen Kane, a native of West Scranton, won the race for attorney general, making her the first woman and Democrat to ever win that office in the state’s history.
I think, when we look back on 2012, this will be remembered as the year of the female voter and the female candidate. According to early reports this morning, Romney lost the female voter by about 19 points.
In regards to some specific women’s issues, it’s likely that the issue of Roe V. Wade and a woman’s right to choose will be settled because the president will likely appoint two Supreme Court Justices, at the very least, during his second term, ensuring Roe V. Wade is not overturned. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood will continue to be funded. It’s important to remember that legalized abortions are only about 2 percent of what Planned Parenthood actually does. For the most part, the organization offers health care screenings and medical care to uninsured and low-income women. So yes, it can be said that this was the year of women’s issues, of the GOP’s lurch to the far-right, trying to fight battles that were settled 10, 20, 30, and even 40 years ago, and as a result, the Republican Party lost seats in Congress and lost the race for the White House.