The Bright Side of the 2016 Election: Thinking Optimistically
by Ned Sheehan on Friday, November 18th, 2016
Statistically speaking, it is likely that those of you reading this article are distraught about the latest election cycle. And so am I. It is a disappointing result, and it is concerning to see such a manifestly unprepared candidate win. But we need a little hope right now, so here are some good things that did happen this election.
Kate Brown was elected Governor of Oregon, making her the first openly LGBT governor in US history. Also, Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Governor who passed his state’s transphobic bathroom bill, HB2, narrowly lost (pending recounts) to state Attorney General Roy Cooper.
California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada legalized recreational marijuana. Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Montana legalized medicinal marijuana. Nationwide legalization is now nearly inevitable – I mean, if some of the reddest states of the country are willing to legalize, everywhere will. It is very probable the legalization of marijuana in these states (and the impending legalization on a federal scale) will put a major dent in the crisis of mass incarceration.
Kamala Harris of California was elected senator, making her the first black woman in the Senate since the 90’s and the first Indian-American senator in American history. Pramila Jayapal of Washington became the first Indian-American member of the House of Representatives. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada became America’s first Latina Senator.
Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington voted through minimum wage increases (all four increasing their minimum wages from $8 per hour to $12 per hour).
Here in Massachusetts, we voted to protect animal rights on Question Three, ensuring that Massachusetts stores cannot stock meat from animals that don’t have enough room for movement in their cages.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the racist thug running Arizona’s Maricopa County, was denied a fifth term in office, even though his county narrowly went Trump (of course, the joy we should feel over this is negated by the fact that he’s being considered for secretary of Homeland Security).
So there you all have it. Even in a year that is largely disappointing to liberals and progressives, there are glimmers of light. Most promising for all of us should be the fact that many of these glimmers were voted for by the same people who put Trump in office. Liberal policies are popular, and if liberals can make a coherent case for them, they will succeed. I’ll leave you all with a quote from Richard Nixon- take it to heart as you mourn this result.
“Defeat doesn’t finish a man; quit does. A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.”
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