There were certainly disappointing results in the midterm elections, from the defeat of progressive candidates in Florida to Beto O’Rourke’s narrow loss to Ted Cruz in Texas. Nonetheless, a newly emboldened group of progressive leaders will take control of the House in 2019, and many of these individuals will make history in the process.
At the young age of 29, millennial Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress this week. Her bold progressive values and magnetic personality led her to victory over Democrat incumbent Joe Crowley during the primary elections, which set her up for an easy victory in the midterms.
Two other young leaders are making history as the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar—from Michigan and Minnesota respectively—will take seats in the House following their successful campaigns.
Trailblazers Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland both won their races. Davids (a Democrat Kansan of the Ho-Chunk Nation) and Halland (a Democrat from New Mexico of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe) will share the honor of being the first Native American women to serve in Congress.
Candidates running for office in state and local elections also made history. In Colorado, Democrat Jared Polis coasted to victory, becoming the first openly gay man elected governor in U.S. history.
If the results from these midterm elections prove anything, it’s that younger generations are not only more diverse, but are eager to support a diverse array of political upstarts to enact meaningful social change. While the GOP continues to pander to its base through race-baiting and stoking fears of immigrants, progressives around the country are rallying around the diversity that makes the United States such a distinct country.
These successful candidates, beyond representing their electorates, also represent the future of the nation.