Well, we made it. We lived through the 2018 midterm election, an election that saw record turn out. And record voter suppression.
Sadly, that voter suppression lasted well beyond Election Day. In Florida, swamp creature outgoing Gov. Rick Scott was neck-and-neck with Democrat Bill Nelson for days in the race for Nelson’s Senate seat until late on Sunday, Nov. 18. The governor’s race there remained undecided until Sunday, as well, with all kinds of hell going on with uncounted ballots.
Thankfully, we have as our president a mature and adult human who thinks long and hard about difficult situations before he speaks. We can turn to him for wisdom and guidance at this difficult time.
As Definitely-Qualified-for-the Job-of-President Donald Trump tweeted on Nov. 12, “The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible — ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”
Oh, and that was after he tweeted on Nov. 10, “Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!”
A stalwart defender of Democracy, that one is.
A couple of things to note: These ballots that Trump claims “showed up out of nowhere” likely included ballots of men and women in the military who are stationed overseas. And they didn’t just magically appear. They were mailed in, and under Florida law, ballots mailed in from overseas can arrive after Election Day and still be counted.
I certainly don’t think Trump has any real understanding of Florida law, not to mention how the United States Postal Service works or how people outside of the U.S. manage to vote. But surely he knows someone who can whisper into his hair, “Refusing to count service members’ ballots is a really bad look.”
But that’s what happened.
Oh, yeah, and then there’s Georgia, where the governor’s race between Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is a black (gasp!) woman (gasp!), and a white man whose name I can’t remember because I fell asleep looking at his face (oh yeah, Brian Kemp) was undecided until Friday, Nov. 16. That’s when Abrams announced she was ending her bid for the office, but refused to concede because, she said, Kemp stole the election.
But don’t worry; Trump has an opinion about that, too: “You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia — but the Election was on Tuesday?” he tweeted on Nov. 9. “Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!”
Get it? LOL. Because Russia interfered with the 2016 election, and Trump was quite possibly in on it even though he calls it a hoax, and so it’s so funny to joke about it when the country’s faith in democracy is already shaken to its core.
Oh, and speaking of Russia, the Republicans are peeing their pants over the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House. So Trump panic-fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a guy who is younger but just as racist and terrible. Only this new guy, Matthew Whitaker, wants to shut down the Russia investigation and — OH HEY WHAT’S THAT?! IT’S A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS AND IT’S COMING RIGHT AT US!
To paraphrase a quote from Godzilla, “[Washington D.C. is] a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world. There were once many people here who could’ve told of what they saw … now there are only a few.”
Oh man, that sounds dire, doesn’t it? I don’t mean to be a bummer, but, well, shit’s dire. For real.
Make no mistake, a lot of good came out of the midterm election.
Michigan elected Dana Nessel as the state’s next attorney general, replacing Bill Schuette, the man who fought up to the Supreme Court to keep same-sex couples from being legally recognized as married. Oh, and the lawyer who fought against Schuette and won? Dana Nessel, who is also openly lesbian.
In another karmic outcome, Minnesota Democrat and lesbian Angie Craig beat the anti-LGBTQ Rep. Jason Lewis. Massachusetts voters rejected a measure that would have taken legal protections away from transgender people. Jared Polis became the first gay man elected governor of Colorado. In fact, he is the first openly gay man elected governor of any U.S. state.
There’s more: Kansas sent Sharice Davids, who is both Native American and a lesbian, to Congress. Zach Wahls, at just 27 years old, is now an Iowa state senator.
Wahls, you’ll remember, spoke in support of his lesbian moms in front of the Iowa House of Representatives and the video went viral.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. So there is much to celebrate.
But Democracy is still in a fragile state. If we thought Trump’s behavior when he had a Republican majority was bad, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
(Editor’s Note: This doesn’t even include Trump’s ridiculous comments about how Finland prevents forest fires by raking the forest.)
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.