USA midterm elections broke barriers of race and gender

Ayanna Pressley gives a victory speech at her primary night gathering on Sept. 4 2018 in Boston Massachusetts.                        Getty

The midterm elections saw women securing historic firsts around the country, from the first Native American women to join the House of Representatives to Tennessee electing a woman to the Senate for the first time.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old Hispanic activist who won a surprising primary victory against a 10-term white incumbent, is the youngest woman elected to Congress. Ayanna Pressley, a 44-year-old member of the Boston City Council who scored a similar upset win, is the first black woman elected to Congress from MA.

Ocasio-Cortez, 28, became an overnight sensation this summer after her upset primary defeat of Rep. Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent who was the No. 4 Democrat in the House.

Some of the big wins for Democrats on Tuesday were experienced leaders, like Michigan's Gov. -elect Gretchen Whitmer, who led the Democrats in the state Senate, or Kansas's Gov. -elect Laura Kelly, who has served in the Kansas state Senate since 2005.

Deb Haaland in New Mexico and Sharice Davids in Kansas became the first Native American women ever elected to Congress.

Commenting on the Democrats taking the House, CNN's Van Jones pointed to the diversity of candidates that won seats in this midterms.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, could be the youngest woman elected to Congress, and represented a surge of Democrats challenging more senior and established members of the party.

Georgia candidate Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, was in a fierce battle to become America's first black woman governor, while Democrat Andrew Gillum narrowly lost his bid to become the first black governor of Florida.

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Moreover, the visitors have been bolstered by the return of Keiron Pollard, Darren Bravo, Andre Russel and Carlos Brathwaite. Shikhar Dhawan also has a chance to re-establish his credentials after a moderate outing in the one-dayers.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, congresswoman-elect for New York's 14th district.

Some of Tuesday's black female pioneers, like IL nurse and Democrat Lauren Underwood and CT teacher and Democrat Jahana Hayes, were first-time candidates. Tlaib, a former member of the Michigan House of Representatives, faced two opponents in the race: Green Party candidate D. Etta Wilcoxon and Working Class Party candidate Sam Johnson.

More women ran in congressional primaries this year than ever before, mostly as Democrats.

And it's a mobilization that could lead to a Democratic majority that is more responsive to women's concerns. In 1982, 58 per cent of women voted for Democrats and 41 per cent voted for Republicans.

"White women are a Republican constituency, and in many states they again voted as if patriarchy would protect them", said frequent MSNBC guest Jamil White. Their lesson from the last election was that "if Donald Trump is president, anybody can be president so I should run too, for at least Congress or state legislature". And in several cases, the result was preordained one way or another because both major party candidates in a given race were women, as in the Arizona Senate contest.

Jahana Hayes is the first black woman elected to represent CT in Congress. Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, will be serving Connecticut's 5th Congressional District, which includes areas in the northwestern part of the state.

In Colorado, Jared Polis became the first openly gay governor in American history. Republican women like Kristi L. Noem and Marsha Blackburn, on the other hand, made history but were reluctant to mention their gender on the campaign trail, preferring to focus on issues.

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