5 Victories From the Midterm Elections That Progressives Should Cheer
As Republicans have now effectively won control of the U.S. Senate, many progressives are in despair about the far-right agenda the party is likely to push. But the news isn't all bad. Here are five victories progressives scored yesterday that we should all cheer:
1. Marijuana Legalization: Marijuana legalization won big yesterday in both traditional red states and blue states, signaling a shift by voters against the drug war. Oregon, Alaska and D.C. voters outright legalized marijuana possession, with Oregon and Alaska also legalizing its production.
2. Increasing the Minimum Wage: Again, in both blue states and red states, ballot referendums raising the minimum wage passed overwhelmingly. Arkansas, South Dakota, Alaska, and Nebraska all raised their minimum wages. San Francisco, Oakland and other cities raised their local minimum wages, with San Francisco raising it all the way to $15 an hour.
3. Scott Brown Stays Out Of Office: After losing to Elizabeth Warren, former Republican Senator Scott Brown thought he could return to office by moving one state over and running from New Hampshire. He narrowly lost.
4. Voters Expanded Paid Sick Days: From Massachussetts, which approved paid sick days statewide to Oakland, California and Trenton, New Jersey, voters passed a whole host of measures designed to make sure workers who are sick are not forced to choose between their health and a paycheck.
5. Progressive Lawmakers Retain Their Seats: Although some of the Democrats' most conservative members, such as Rep. John Barrow (GA), lost their seats, a number of progressive lawmakers such as Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) beat back opponents and retained their seats. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN), one of only five members of Congress to attend a hearing with Pakistani drone victims, survived a $14 million race to edge out a victory.
There's a lot to be depressed about with respect to Election 2014—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is scarier than just about any of last week's Halloween costumes—but we should keep in mind that smart and tireless progressive organizing made the above victories possible, and will continue to do so in the future.