The hotly anticipated “blue wave” may not have been as large as many of the left had hoped, but the Democrats have retaken Congress – and there’s another reason for optimism too: more women that ever have won their races this year, and American politics has never looked so diverse.
The Centre for American Women and Politics and Rutgers University, which has been keeping track of the number of women elected, showed that even before all the races had been called, women had broken previous records in the Congress. Their latest figures (updated at 4am EST) show that 95 women have won their House races so far.
Many of these women are trailblazers in other respects too. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Abby Finkenauer of Iowa are both 29 years old, making them the youngest women ever elected to Congress. (Finkenauer is also the first ever congresswoman from Iowa.)
Deb Haaland of New Mexico and Sharice Davids of Kansas are both the first Native American women in Congress. Davids will also make history as the first openly gay woman of colour in Congress, and forms part of what the New York Times has described as an “LGBT wave” who hope to counter the threat posed to civil rights by legislation such as the so-called “bathroom bill” and the Trump administration’s attempts to define transgender out of existence.
Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota will together be the first Muslim women in Congress. Their stories are both remarkable: Tlaib is a social justice attorney who grew up in Detroit, the eldest of…