Democrats and liberals across the nation woke up on Wednesday in high spirits after sweeping victories from election night, but the excitement of today can’t make us lose sight of the work still ahead tomorrow.
On the anniversary of the 2016 presidential election that left most of America with tears of despair, the Democratic Party came back with a vengeance, knocking Republicans out of their seats left and right.
In Virginia, they flipped at least 13 seats, making it the largest pickup for their party in the state since 1899, ABC News reports.
The triumphs just kept on coming with mayoral wins in North Carolina and state legislature seats flipping in New Hampshire, Washington, and New Jersey.
And, we can’t forget about the victories that served as metaphorical middle fingers to President Donald Trump, his administration, and his supporters. Two Latinas and a transgender woman made history being sent to the Virginia statehouse by voters.
Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala both defeated Republican incumbents tonight to become the first-ever Latinas elected to the Virginia House of Delegates! #ElectionDay #VirginiaElection pic.twitter.com/6XApF5WTrO— Women's March (@womensmarch) November 8, 2017
The LGBT community made a strong impact with Seattle, Washington, electing its first lesbian mayor and openly gay school board member. The new mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, is a Sikh-American man, and Minneapolis elected an African-American transgender woman to the city council.
Sikh American Ravi Bhalla won his race for mayor of Hoboken, NJ. Wow, this is AMAZING. Love trumps hate AGAIN. ??????? pic.twitter.com/QPzlfb00P8— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) November 8, 2017
How’s that for inclusion?
But that's not all. Helena, Montana, elected Wilmot Collins as mayor, making him the very first black mayor in the history of the entire state, and Kathy Tran made it to the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming the first Asian-American woman to do so.
Wow. Meet the first black mayor in the ENTIRE HISTORY of Montana.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 8, 2017
Wilmot Collins, who arrived in the US as a refugee from civil war in Liberia, was elected Mayor in Helena, Montana. PROGRESS! pic.twitter.com/hhuzpEsIfp
Kathy Tran came to the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam when she was an infant. Tonight, she became the first Asian American woman elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Congrats @kathykltran! pic.twitter.com/NSynRwHJ7d— Women's March (@womensmarch) November 8, 2017
Collins and Tran's victories are particularly special as they both reportedly came to this country as refugees. Collins fled Liberia 23 years ago, and Tran came to the U.S. when she was just 7 months old as a boat refugee from Vietnam.
This year's election symbolizes a rejection of all things Trump stands for and ran his presidential campaign upon. Minorities, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBT folks, and other representatives of marginalized communities destroyed the white supremacist sentiments coming from the White House by securing the votes of their neighbors and community members.
While Trump's rhetoric has emboldened racists, sparked an uptick in hate crimes, and inspired a new wave of fascism, Tuesday’s Democratic and inclusive wins were a reminder that the resistance is ongoing, and it’s powerful.
However, while we ride this wave, it’s imperative to remember that the job is not done. In fact, the work has just begun.
Now that there is more representation in these positions, it’s time to take action and make good on campaign promises.
Ralph Northam, a physician who is now Virginia's governor-elect, ran as a "healer," and — as we witnessed from the infamous Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist rally earlier this year — the state is in dire need of healing.
The reality is that although impeachment is in the air, Americans need to be prepared for the fact that we may be in for three more years of Trump, and if our country is going to survive, the momentum must remain fervid.
The Democratic Party’s woes are still looming, particularly as the feud between Hillary Clinton’s camp and Bernie Sanders backers was reignited last week when Donna Brazile exposed some troubling information about the party’s dealings during the election cycle.
This issue could continue to haunt the party going into the 2020 elections. Additionally, as The Hill notes, the party lacks a charismatic leader — like former President Barack Obama — to really excite its voter base and keep them motivated.
The bottom line is: Democrats need to use this same level of tenacity going into the 2018 and 2020 elections, otherwise, kicking themselves in the backside in the 2018 and 2020 elections will put Tuesday night’s major wins in vain. Furthermore, the party runs the risk of making the same detrimental mistakes it did in 2016, and our country simply can’t afford that.