The 2014 midterm election was historic for political parties, minorities and women.
For political parties, the American people voted decisively against the failed policies of the Obama administration, which the President himself said were “on the ballot, every single one of them.” Voters gave Republicans a majority in the Senate and the largest majority in the House in 86 years. In fact, since President Obama took office, Democrats have lost at least 13 seats in the Senate and 69 seats in the House — the greatest number of seats under any president since Truman.
Voters gave Republicans new governorships in the deep-blue states of Maryland, Massachusetts, and even the President’s home state of Illinois. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker easily won his third election in four years, Ohio governor John Kasich crushed his Democratic challenger by 30 points, and Florida governor Rick Scott defeated Charlie Crist, making him the first candidate to lose in three different political parties. Even Kansas governor Sam Brownback, who was widely projected to lose his bid for re-election, won a second term by almost 4 points.
Voters gave Republicans majorities in 68 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers — the most in the history of the party. Come January, Republicans will hold the governorship and both houses of the legislature in at least 23 states, creating a real opportunity for conservative reform at the state level.
For minorities, these midterms offer encouraging indications that a candidate’s race is becoming increasingly irrelevant in elections, as it should be. Forget about the number of GOP victories: consider who was elected.
Voters in Utah elected the first black woman the GOP has ever sent to Congress — Mia Love.
Voters in South Carolina elected Republican Tim Scott, the first black senator in the South since Reconstruction, making him the first black man elected to both houses of Congress.
Voters in Texas’ traditionally democrat and heavily Hispanic 23rd district elected their state’s first black Republican to the House of Representatives since Reconstruction — Republican Will Hurd.
At a time when race relations are tense, South Carolina, the very state that started the Civil War, elected its first black man to the Senate. Utah elected a black female Republican over a white male Democrat after the state’s Republican voters chose her to be their nominee over a white male Republican by a margin of 56 points. My home state of Maryland, which is over 30 percent black, elected a white Republican to Annapolis over a black Democrat incumbent lieutenant governor. Republicans received ten percent of the black vote nationwide; while this is admittedly low and demonstrative of the party’s past failures since the 1960s, it is progress.
Voters in Texas’ heavily Hispanic 23rd district elected a black Republican over a Hispanic Democrat. According to the New York Times’ exit polls, Republicans received 37 percent of the Hispanic vote. Again, while this is certainly below satisfactory for the GOP, it represents a seven-point increase from the 2012 total. In some races, like the Texas senate race, Republicans even won the Hispanic vote. However, the most striking nationwide swing this election came from Asian voters, whom Republicans won by a single point. While that might not seem like a huge victory, Republicans lost the Asian vote by 47 points just two yeas ago.
For women, this election demonstrates that a candidate’s gender is also becoming increasingly irrelevant in elections, as it should be. In addition to the election of Mia Love, many other milestones were reached this year:
Voters in Iowa elected their first female senator — Republican Joni Ernst.
Voters in New York elected the youngest woman ever to Congress — Republican Elise Stefanik (30 years old).
Voters in West Virginia elected the state’s first woman to the United States Senate — Republican Shelley Moore Capito (who was also the first Republican to win a full term in the Senate from West Virginia since 1943).
Voters in West Virginia also elected the youngest woman ever to public office — Republican Saira Blair (18 years old).
Thus, female and minority candidates, all of whom were Republican, achieved historic progress all across the country. Despite this historic progress that the black community made, the NAACP released its statement on the election with not one mention of the historic elections of Mia Love and Tim Scott. It’s time to discard the mainstream mantra that Republicans are racist and sexist, and instead subject liberal organizations, like the NAACP, to some scrutiny.