Election 2016

10 Progressive Wins That Were Obscured by Trump's Shocking Victory

Trump will be president, but there were some big progressive victories.

A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Pasadena, California, on November 4, 2014

There's a good chance you're currently experiencing one of the five stages of grief now that Donald Trump has been elected president. However, if you're anywhere near the final stage, a rundown of some progressive victories from last night might cheer you up just a little.

1. Joe Arpaio Lost: The controversial Arizona sheriff who became a symbol for the state's racist anti-immigration laws lost his race for a seventh term. 

2. California Loosened Prison Parole Rules: Voters approved Governor Jerry Brown's plan to loosen prison parole rules, dealing a decisive blow to the state's prison-industrial complex. The reform rolls back the 2000 decision that sent more juvenile defendants to adult courtrooms. It would also potentially parole felons who haven't been convicted of crimes that the state designates as violent.

3. Four States Voted to Increase the Minimum Wage: Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington all voted to increase their minimum wages. Washington will raise its minimum wage to $13.50 per hour by 2020, while the others will go up to $12.

4. Pot Won Big: In the biggest electoral night for marijuana since 2012, California, Massachusetts and Nevada all passed recreational weed initiatives while several others landed victories for medical marijuana.

5. Massachusetts Voters Rejected an Expansion of Charter Schools: Massachusetts voters rejected an effort to increase the number of charter schools in the state. “We held the line,” said Massachusetts Teachers Association president Barbara Madeloni. "Money can’t buy our public schools."

6. The Nation's First Somali Legislator Was Elected in Minnesota: Ilhan Omar, 34, a Muslim-American, said after her win, “It’s the beginning of something new. This district has a legacy of making history. I am excited for our progressive values and to be able to be on the ground at the capitol representing the diverse people of my district and being a champion with them and for them."

7. Massachusetts Passed a Historic Animal Welfare Law: The landmark law will prohibit factory farm policies such as keeping chickens, calves and pigs confined in tiny spaces for their entire lives.

8. Florida Voters Reject Utility-Backed Solar Amendment: Florida voters rejected a measure that seemed pro-solar but would have dealt a fatal blow to the state's solar industry. “Today was truly a solar uprising,” Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said in a statement. "The Sunshine State voters have spoken clearly: they want more solar friendly policies and the freedom to harness the sun’s power for the benefit of all Floridians and not just the monopoly utilities."

9. California Proposal That Would Have Required Condoms in Porn Was Defeated: This might not seem like an obvious one, but adult film actor Jesse Jackson breaks down the problems with this legislation in his Huffington Post piece. He points out that the porn industry already has a disease prevention system in place that works, and in addition, "the legislation would empower any resident of California to sue a studio on the basis of a suspected violation. Should that happen, the real names and addresses of the performers in the case become a matter of public record. Prop 60 would put our privacy in jeopardy."

10. Maine Adopted a Voting System That Could Help Third Parties: It's called ranked choice voting. A Huffington Post piece breaks down the details: "[Ranked choice voting] allows voters to rank their candidates. To win, a candidate must earn a majority of the votes cast. If, after the first round of counting, no candidate has a majority of votes, the ballots get counted again with one exception: for voters who selected the last-place candidate as their top pick, their votes get counted with their second-choice candidate as their first choice."

This kind of voting would have prevented Maine's infamous right-wing governor Paul LePage from being elected.

Michael Arria covers labor and social movements. Follow him on Twitter: @michaelarria

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