In spite of all of this, there’s still a fuck tonne to celebrate this election. And it’s all thanks to a trailblazing group of Black women, LGBTQ+ women and women of colour.
The results of 2020 are a testament to the fact that we’ve come a long way since this day in 2016 when many wept over Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Trump’s victory in the polls was not only a slap in the face, but felt like a true setback for women everywhere. And yet, in response, everyone wiped away their tears and rose up, marching in the streets on the day of Trump’s inauguration. Then, in unprecedented numbers, they started running for office.
This year saw a record number of 643 women running for the U.S. House and Senate. And those who were elected are a genuinely diverse group of people making history and giving us something to be truly hopeful about.
Leading that new wave is the progressive group of Democrat representatives known as “the Squad”. Comprising Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the Squad is known for their progressive politics and this week all secured second terms in the House.
Over the past two years, the Squad has fended off misogynistic, racist attacks from Donald Trump, with one of the most reprehensible examples being in 2019 when he sent off a barrage of tweets implying they weren’t true Americans, saying they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came." The Squad was defiant in their response, with Pressler telling a press conference, “Our squad includes any person committed to building a more equitable and just world, and that is the work that we want to get back to."
And as recently as July this year, Ocasio-Cortez made headlines with a rousing speech on the House floor when she called out Republican congressman Ted Yoho for allegedly calling her a bitch on the steps of the US Capitol. “In using that language, in front of the press, he gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and I am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable”, she said. Together with Omar, Pressley and Tlaib, she is forging a new path, one where women of colour are seen as powerful political forces that not only create meaningful change, but also galvanise and inspire a new generation.
In addition to the Squad’s re-election, another exciting and historical election was of Sarah McBride to Delaware’s state Senate. The win will make McBride the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the nation and the first openly transgender state sentor in U.S. history. Meanwhile, Stefanie Byers and Taylor Small have been elected to Kansas and Vermont’s state legislature respectively, meaning they will become the first openly transgender lawmakers in their states.
Similarly exciting is the election of Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter activist and leader at the 2014 Ferguson protests, who is now the first Black woman to represent Missouri in congress, and Michele Rayner-Goolsby, who will become the first openly LGBTQ+ Black woman elected to Florida’s state House.
So while it’s certainly uninspiring to watch the race between Biden and Trump—which frankly could not be more stale, pale and male—these women have given us something much better: a future we can count on.