It would have taken a complete personal social media blackout to not know that the Americans had their midterm elections yesterday. Your feeds have likely been lit up for days with “I Voted” stickers, celebrity endorsements and full-on pleading to get Americans to vote. Well, they did. And as much as we would like to pretend it has nothing to do with us, it totally does, even if just culturally.
We don’t want to waste your time with the technicalities of different districts and what it all means for specific American policies; that’s CNN’s job. Instead, here’s a little cheat sheet on what happened in general and, more specifically, in those races involving people whose names you’ve heard but might not recognize if you met them on the street.
Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Dems win the house, republicans keep the senate
That’s a phrase you’re likely to hear a whole lot the next few days. It means that the Republicans’ full control of congress (which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate combined) is over. For the past two years, Republicans (under Donald Trump, the president) have pretty much been able to get away with anything because they hold a majority of seats in both the House and Senate.
The Democrats taking the majority in the House means they’ll be able to put a check on some of Donald Trump’s policies (like, say, tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy) and launch some of those investigations we’ve been wondering about (like, say, inquiries into Trump’s tax returns, ethics scandals, Russian meddling and interference with the intelligence organizations).
We’re not saying “impeachment” but, you know, it might have crossed our minds fleetingly.
All the Firsts
The amount of record-breaking that happened yesterday is possibly a record in itself. Over 100 women were elected to the House for the first time ever and those elected were more diverse than ever.
Here are the big winners from last night:
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abby Finkenauer are the youngest women ever elected to Congress at 29 years-old
- Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are the first Muslim women elected to Congress
- Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland are the first Native American women elected to Congress
- Also worth mentioning that Davids is an openly gay kick-boxer
- Jared Polis of Colorado is the first openly gay man to be elected governor
— CNN (@CNN) November 7, 2018
Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum: unlikely but not over
Two other potential firsts going into Tuesday were Georgia’s Stacey Abrams (who would be the first black female state governor in all U.S. history) and Florida’s Andrew Gillum (who would be the first black governor of the state). Their races were tight, but late in the evening, most news outlets called the race for the gubernatorial candidates’ respective opponents, Brian Kemp and Ron DeSantis. However, at the time of writing, ballots for both races were not yet fully counted.
Gillum conceded his race Tuesday evening, but is currently only 0.6 percentage points behind DeSantis. If he manages to pull ahead and surpass DeSantis in votes, he will not be bound to his concession and would become governor.
Abrams has refused to concede before all the votes are tabulated and is currently trailing by less than two percentage points. While wins for these two are incredibly unlikely at this point, there is still a narrow possibility they could pull it out.
Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke
It’s weird to think that one of the most widely-covered races this year was one for a senate seat in Texas (which is notoriously red), but when you look at the players, it kind of makes sense. Ted Cruz is famous for his failed presidential run and several memes calling him everything from a blobfish to the Zodiac Killer. His opponent was not really known outside of Texas before this year but got so big during the election that Beyoncé posted three photos endorsing him on her Instagram.
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I’m feeling grateful for everyone before me who fought so hard to give us all the right to have a voice. We can’t voice our frustrations and complain about what’s wrong without voting and exercising our power to make it right. We need you. We all need each other, because when we are truly united we are unstoppable. Sending you all love and positivity on this happy voting day! Every vote counts Every race matters Everywhere.
Beto O’Rourke is pretty much the embodiment of “cool” and though he lost, the fact that he came within three percentage points of Ted Cruz in Texas is pretty incredible. Beto 2020?
We just want to say thank you to everyone who made this possible. Everyone who made us feel hopeful, everyone who inspired us. Everyone who became the most amazing campaign we could have ever hoped to belong to. Grateful that we got to do this with you. We love you. Goodnight! pic.twitter.com/1j6JnhtP0f
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 7, 2018
Okay, what does this mean for Canada?
It’s still fairly unclear what the big changes to the American government will mean to Canadians, but there are a few ways that it could affect us. CTV has outlined three of them in detail, but basically, the most significant impact will likely be through trade. The Democrat-run House could put a pause on the USMCA which would keep NAFTA intact for a time. There are also more specific ways that newly-elected governors might change the way individual states trade in certain industries, but it’s a little too early to speculate on all that.
Congratulations to the winners in last night’s US elections, including the historic number of women who will sit in the next House. Canada’s government will always work in friendship & partnership with our neighbo(u)rs to the South – in Congress and in states across the country.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 7, 2018
A little celebrity reaction
Congratulations on making it through this election cycle. Now, please enjoy these humourous celebrity responses to the stress of the past two years and its culmination yesterday.
me voting in 2016 vs me voting in 2018 pic.twitter.com/Yj3AoaYuHi
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) November 6, 2018
Me voting in 2016 vs Me voting in 2018 pic.twitter.com/XrwYJwEjbv
— Skylar Astin (@SkylarAstin) November 7, 2018
WE FLIPPED THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU FOR VOTING!!!!!!!!
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) November 7, 2018
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 7, 2018
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) November 7, 2018
Beto lost? That’s ok. Now he can run for President.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) November 7, 2018