Guilty Verdicts In Jan 6 Trial & Respect For Marriage Act Passes With Bipartisan Support

Heather Cox Richardson

Today, after an eight-week trial and three days of deliberations, a jury of five women and seven men found Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 57, the founder and leader of the right-wing Oath Keepers gang, and Kelly Meggs, 53, who led the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, guilty of seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. It found Rhodes guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding and tampering with documents and proceedings, and found Meggs guilty of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging duties, and tampering with documents or proceedings.

The jury also found three additional defendants from the organization—Kenneth Harrelson, 42; Jessica Watkins, 40; and Thomas Caldwell, 68—guilty of related felony charges.

The Department of Justice proved that after President Joe Biden won the November 3, 2020, election, Rhodes, Meggs, and others began plotting to use force to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power. 

Beginning in late December 2020, they planned to travel to Washington, D.C., on or around January 6, 2021, to stop Congress from certifying the electoral college vote that would officially elect Biden. They recruited others, organized combat training sessions, and smuggled paramilitary gear to the area around the Capitol. They planned to take control of the Capitol grounds and buildings on January 6. 

According to the Department of Justice, on that day, “Meggs, Harrelson, and Watkins, along with other Oath Keepers and affiliates—many wearing paramilitary clothing and patches with the Oath Keepers name, logo, and insignia—marched in a ‘stack’ formation up the east steps of the Capitol, joined a mob, and made their way into the Capitol. Rhodes and Caldwell remained outside the Capitol, where they coordinated activities” and stayed in touch with quick reaction force teams outside the city, which were ready to bring in firearms to stop the transfer of power. 

That a jury has now found two people guilty of seditious conspiracy establishes that a conspiracy existed. Former federal prosecutor Randall D. Eliason, who teaches law at George Washington University, told reporters Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post: “Now the only remaining question is how much higher did those plans go, and who else might be held criminally responsible.” While federal prosecutors sought only to tie Rhodes to the other Oath Keepers, both sides agreed that Rhodes communicated with Trump allies Roger Stone, Ali Alexander, and Michael Flynn after the election. 

There are two more seditious conspiracy trials scheduled for December. One is for five other Oath Keepers; the other is against the leaders of the far-right gang the Proud Boys, led by Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio. 

Yesterday, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election are not covered by presidential immunity as his lawyers argued. The judge noted that he was acting not as a president in defense of the Constitution, but rather in a different role as a candidate when he tried to overturn the election. Sullivan said: “Persuasive authority in this district specifically recognizes that there is no immunity defense for Former President Trump for ‘unofficial acts’ which ‘entirely concern his efforts to remain in office for a second term.’”

The South Carolina Supreme Court today unanimously ordered Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s last White House chief of staff, to testify before the Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury investigating Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Meadows was on the phone call Trump made to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger on January 2 to demand he “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” making his testimony key to the investigation. Meadows lives in South Carolina, where he tried to argue that he could not testify because of executive privilege. Lower South Carolina courts disagreed, and now the state’s supreme Court has said that Meadows’s arguments are “manifestly without merit.” 

In Washington, Trump advisor Stephen Miller testified today before the grand jury investigating the events of January 6, 2021. The Justice Department subpoenaed Miller in September. He also testified before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

Also in Washington today, the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which provides federal recognition of same-sex and interracial marriages for the purposes of federal benefits like Social Security, and requires states to recognize such marriages, although it does not require them to perform such marriages. The law is an attempt to get out in front of the Supreme Court, whose right-wing members have suggested they would invalidate marriage equality after ending protections for reproductive rights. Thirty-six Republicans voted against the bill, with 12 Republicans joining the Democrats to pass it. 

The Senate bill amends one passed in July by the House, which will now have to agree to the changed measure and is expected to do so. House speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a vote for next week.

Today Pelosi also announced that Congress will take up the legislation Biden asked for yesterday: a law to put in place the deal between the railroad corporations and the railway unions. Four of 12 unions have rejected the deal because of its lack of paid sick days. In a letter to her colleagues, Pelosi expressed reluctance to bypass standard ratification procedures but said, “we must act to prevent a catastrophic strike that would touch the lives of nearly every family: erasing hundreds of thousands of jobs, including union jobs; keeping food and medicine off the shelves; and stopping small businesses from getting their goods to market.”

She promised to bring the measure up for a vote tomorrow. 

But, in typical Pelosi fashion, she has found a way to demonstrate to union members and to lawmakers like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who are angry at Biden’s determination to avoid a strike, that those standing in the way of paid leave for the unions are not the Democrats. After the vote on the agreement, she will hold a “separate, up-or-down vote to add seven days of paid sick leave for railroaders to the Tentative Agreement.” Such a measure is likely to pass the House and die under a Republican filibuster in the Senate. 

While the jury was handing down its verdict in the case of Stewart Rhodes, who said on tape that he would “hang f*ckin’ Pelosi from the lamppost,” Speaker Pelosi was lighting the Capitol Christmas tree with fourth-grader Catcuce Micco Tiger, who is a citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and has ancestry from the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. 

Tiger won the role of youth tree lighter with an essay sharing the Cherokee origin story for evergreen trees. “After creating all plants and animals,” Pelosi explained, “our Creator asked them to fast, pray, and stay awake for seven nights. But at the end, only a few were awake. The trees that stayed awake were rewarded with the ability to keep their leaves yearlong and with special healing powers. It is a story of faith and gratitude—of hope enduring through the dark night.”

“And,” Pelosi added, “it is hope that we celebrate each holiday season—that through the cold and dark winter, spring will someday come.”  

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who defended the Capitol against the Oath Keepers on January 6, heard the jury’s verdict, then watched the tree lighting.

Breaking News: Same-sex marriage bill passes Senate after bipartisan breakthrough – NYTimes

The 61-to-36 vote sends the legislation back to the House, which is expected to approve it and send it to President Biden.

WASHINGTON — The Senate passed landmark legislation on Tuesday to mandate federal recognition for same-sex marriages, as a lame-duck Congress mustered a notable moment of bipartisanship before Democrats were to lose their unified control of Capitol Hill.

The 61-to-36 vote put the bill on track to become law in the final weeks before Republicans assume the majority in the House of Representatives at the start of the new Congress in January. It marked one of the final major legislative achievements for Democrats before Republicans shift the focus in the House to conducting investigations of President Biden’s administration and family members.

The bill must now win final approval by the House in a vote expected as soon as next week, which would clear it for Mr. Biden, who said he looked forward to signing it alongside the bipartisan coalition that helped shepherd it through the Senate.

In a statement, the president said the vote reaffirmed “a fundamental truth: Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love.”

Trump Embraces The Far Right – Peter Baker NYTIMES

Good morning. The white nationalist who dined with Donald Trump has denigrated Black people, women, Jews and other groups.

Invoking bigotry

Donald Trump claimed he did not know who Nick Fuentes was before sitting down to dinner with him and other guests at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last week. But Fuentes is certainly well known to the groups that track racist and antisemitic trends in American society.

While the Justice Department has described Fuentes in court papers as a white supremacist, that barely begins to fully capture the range of inflammatory views he has expressed denigrating Black people, Jews, women, L.G.B.T.Q. Americans, Muslims and immigrants.

At age 24, Fuentes has become a star on the far right for a font of extremist statements that would have disqualified him from meeting with any other modern president. He has used a racist slur for Black people; called homosexuality “disgusting”; asserted that the Republican Party was “run by Jews, atheists and homosexuals”; said it would be better if women could not vote; compared himself to Hitler and hoped for “a total Aryan victory”; declared that “the First Amendment was not written for Muslims”; and maintained that Jim Crow segregation “was better for them, it’s better for us, it’s better in general.”

Fuentes first came to prominence in 2017 when he attended the ultraright rally in Charlottesville, Va., after which Trump asserted that there were “very fine people on both sides” even as he denounced neo-Nazis. Fuentes dropped out of Boston University after saying he had received threats stemming from his attendance at the rally and began hosting a livestream show, “America First,” that same year, generating an audience of followers called Groypers, named for a cartoon frog.

He founded the America First Political Action Conference in 2020 and hosted far-right Republicans in the House including Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona. Fuentes rejects the term white supremacist because it is an “anti-white slur,” but embraces the language of white racism and antisemitism and calls himself a “reactionary” and a “misogynist.”

Trump often claims not to know much about extremists whose support he accepts, as he did with the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, the Proud Boys and followers of QAnon. But even if it were true in this case, Fuentes was brought to the dinner by Kanye West, the rapper now known as Ye, who was invited by Trump at the very moment West was under fire for antisemitic comments of his own. And even afterward, Trump did not condemn Fuentes, leaving white nationalists to view the dinner as validation.

While news organizations are naturally reluctant to amplify hateful statements, it is important to understand just what we’re talking about when we discuss someone welcomed to the table of a former president seeking to return to the White House. So here is a summary compiled with the help of my colleague Ian Prasad Philbrick from research by the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and other organizations and news outlets. Fuentes did not respond to requests for an interview passed along through a lawyer.

Antisemitism and racism

Fuentes regularly invokes fears of a “white genocide” and echoes replacement theory, which holds that elites seek to “replace” white Americans with immigrants and other people of color. The theory has inspired a number of mass shootings in recent years, including at a Pittsburgh synagogue, a Walmart in El Paso and a Buffalo supermarket.

“Our civilization is being dismantled, our people are being genocided, and conservatives can’t think past what will play well with liberal media in the next election,” Fuentes once tweeted. He has also said, “The Founders never intended for America to be a refugee camp for nonwhite people.” And on Alex Jones’s Infowars last year, he said, “I don’t see Jews as Europeans and I don’t see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians.”

Fuentes has advanced Holocaust denial, or what he calls Holocaust “revision,” most memorably in a video riff in which he compared Nazi death camps to Cookie Monster baking cookies, suggesting it was not possible to have killed six million Jews during World War II. He later said the video was only a “lampoon,”while saying he does acknowledge the Holocaust, and he has said he uses “irony” to discuss taboo subjects.

Violence and politics

While again saying he was only kidding, Fuentes appeared to endorse violence against women, telling one listener on his livestream who asked how to punish a wife “for getting out of line” that he should hit her.

“Why don’t you take your hand and give her a vicious slap right across her face, right across her ignorant face?” he said. “Why don’t you give her a vicious and forceful backhanded slap with your knuckles right across her face, disrespectfully, and make it hurt?” He then disavowed violence and claimed he was joking, saying he would never strike a woman “unless she deserved it.”

Fuentes has praised the fall of the American-backed government in Afghanistan because the Taliban “is a conservative, religious force” while “the U.S. is godless and liberal,” and cheered on President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, saying, “Can we give a round of applause for Russia?” He has said that the crusades and the inquisitions were “pretty good stuff”and that he wanted the “people that run CNN to be arrested and deported or hanged.”

As for the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when he and other Trump supporters rallied outside the building, Fuentes has called it “awesome” and “lighthearted mischief.” On the anniversary of the riot, he revered it as “part of our new heritage,” adding that it should be a holiday. “This is a historic moment for us,” he said. “We should celebrate that it happened, absolutely.”

Railway Workers Need Help – Threaten To Walk Out

https://substack.com/app-link/post?publication_id=20533&post_id=87483436&utm_source=post-email-title&isFreemail=true&token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo5MTU1Nzg4LCJwb3N0X2lkIjo4NzQ4MzQzNiwiaWF0IjoxNjY5NzAwMzkxLCJleHAiOjE2NzIyOTIzOTEsImlzcyI6InB1Yi0yMDUzMyIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.ucG37FrlHtyvSto1uBEcFh_D6pYuBL2tDJ2GRH0I6fU

Help Turn Out The Vote In Georgia

Here Are Some Options

NextGen America Texting, Phoning and Social Media

NextGen America mobilizes young voters in key battleground states, both virtually and in person. Young people were the margin of victory in the November election, and now we must finish the job in Georgia.

Click here for send text messages to young voters in Georgia.

Click here for make phone calls to young voters in Georgia.

Click here to make calls with Georgia Young Democrats.

Call Georgia voters & help them make a plan to vote

Phonebanking is the most direct way you can effectively mobilize Democratic turnout. Many organizations offer remote phonebanking you can do from your computer, which uses an auto-dialer that slows down unnecessary wait times to reach voters.

PEOPLE’S AGENDA: Click here to make phone calls with Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. They are contacting people of color.

FAIR FIGHT: Click here to make phone calls with Fair Fight, a voting rights organization founded by Stacey Abrams.

YOUNG VOTERS: Click here to make phone calls with NextGen America to reach young voters in Georgia.

WORKING FAMILIES: Click here to make phone calls with Georgia Working Families Party.

CALL BLACK VOTERS: Click here to call Black voters with Center for Common Ground.

NEW GEORGIA ACTION PROJECT: Click here to make calls with New Georgia Action Project.

ACTIVATE AMERICA: Click here to make phone calls with Activate America.

MOVE ON: Click here to make phone calls with MoveOn.

SWING LEFT: Click here to make phone calls with Swing Left.

Looking for other phonebanking opportunites? Click here.

Text Out the Vote

Sending text messages to Democratic voters, such as providing them with their polling place location, is one of the most crucial ways you can help us win right now. Many campaigns offer texting opportunities, and a lot can be done virtually from the comfort of your home.

TEXT YOUNG VOTERS: Click to send text messages to young voters with NextGen America.

TEXT BANK TRAINING: Click to get textbank training with Fair Fight Action

TEXT BANK PARTIES: Join the Georgia Working Families Party for textbank parties

BLACK VOTERS MATTER: Click to send text messages with Black Voters Matter

Looking for other textbanking opportunites? Click here.

MAGA Republicans Move Right Into The Fascist Camp

November 26, 2022

HEATHER COX RICHARDSON

NOV 27SAVE▷  LISTEN

I hate to break up a holiday weekend with a political post, but I want to put down a marker for the record.

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, November 22, former president Trump hosted the antisemitic artist Ye, also known as Kanye West, for dinner at a public table at Mar-a-Lago along with political operative Karen Giorno, who was the Trump campaign’s 2016 state director in Florida. Ye brought with him 24-year-old far-right white supremacist Nick Fuentes. Fuentes attended the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in its wake, he committed to moving the Republican Party farther to the right.

Fuentes has openly admired Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and authoritarian Russian president Vladimir Putin, who is currently making war on Russia’s neighbor Ukraine. A Holocaust denier, Fuentes is associated with America’s neo-Nazis.

In February 2020, Fuentes launched the America First Political Action Conference to compete from the right with the Conservative Political Action Conference. In May 2021, on a livestream, Fuentes said: “My job…is to keep pushing things further. We, because nobody else will, have to push the envelope. And we’re gonna get called names. We’re gonna get called racist, sexist, antisemitic, bigoted, whatever.… When the party is where we are two years later, we’re not gonna get the credit for the ideas that become popular. But that’s okay. That’s our job. We are the right-wing flank of the Republican Party. And if we didn’t exist, the Republican Party would be falling backwards all the time.”

Fuentes and his “America First” followers, called “Groypers” after a cartoon amphibian (I’m not kidding), backed Trump’s lies that he had actually won the 2020 election. At a rally shortly after the election, Fuentes told his followers to “storm every state capitol until Jan. 20, 2021, until President Trump is inaugurated for four more years.” Fuentes and Groypers were at the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, and at least seven of them have been charged with federal crimes for their association with that attack. The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol subpoenaed Fuentes himself.

Accounts of the dinner suggest that Trump and Fuentes hit it off, with Trump allegedly saying, “I like this guy, he gets me,” after Fuentes urged Trump to speak freely off the cuff rather than reading teleprompters and trying to appear presidential as his handlers advise.

But Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2024 just days ago, and being seen publicly with far-right white supremacist Fuentes—in addition to Ye—indicates his embrace of the far right. His team told NBC’s Marc Caputo that the dinner was a “f**king nightmare.” Trump tried to distance himself from the meeting by saying he didn’t know who Fuentes was, and that he was just trying to help Ye out by giving the “seriously troubled” man advice, but observers noted that he did not distance himself from Fuentes’s positions.

Republican lawmakers have been silent about Trump’s apparent open embrace of the far right, illustrating the growing power of that far right in the Republican Party. Representatives Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have affiliated themselves with Fuentes, and while their appearances with him at the America First Political Action Conference last February drew condemnation from Republican leader Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), now McCarthy desperately needs the votes of far-right Republicans to make him speaker of the House. To get that support, he has been promising to deliver their wish list—including an investigation into President Joe Biden’s son Hunter—and appears willing to accept Fuentes and his followers into the party, exactly as Fuentes hoped.

Today, after the news of Trump’s dinner and the thundering silence that followed it, conservative anti-Trumper Bill Kristol tweeted: “Aren’t there five decent Republicans in the House who will announce they won’t vote for anyone for Speaker who doesn’t denounce their party’s current leader, Donald Trump, for consorting with the repulsive neo-Nazi Fuentes?”

So far, at least, the answer is no.

The New Leaders Are Women And Gen Z Voters

Heather Cox Richardson

Yesterday, Representative Mary Peltola (D-AK) won Alaska’s House seat for a full term after taking it this summer in a special election to replace Representative Don Young (R-AK), who died in office in March after 49 years in Congress. Peltola is the first woman to represent Alaska and, as Yup’ik, is the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress.

Peltola was endorsed by Alaskans of both parties, including Republicans like Senator Lisa Murkowski. Peltola promised to protect abortion and the salmon fisheries and was elected thanks to Alaska’s recent adoption of ranked choice voting, in which votes from poorly polling candidates are redistributed to those at the top until one gets more than 50%. This method of voting tends to favor moderates. Peltola’s reelection stopped former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, whom Trump endorsed, from reentering politics.

Murkowski has also won reelection, defeating a Trump-backed challenger endorsed by the Alaska Republican Party. Trump targeted Murkowski after she voted to convict him for incitement of insurrection during his second impeachment after the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The reelections of Peltola and Murkowski illustrate that we are, in many different ways, at a sea change moment in American history.

In the past two years, Democrats have successfully pushed back on forty years of efforts to dismantle the business regulation, basic social safety net, promotion of infrastructure, protection of civil rights, and international cooperation that were the fundamental principles underpinning American government after the Depression and World War II. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, along with the Democratic Congress, have rebuilt some of the economic fairness of the old system and invested in infrastructure, while Biden, Harris, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have strengthened the foreign alliances that the former president had undermined.

Democratic leadership is also changing in the House of Representatives as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) have stepped out of the top three leadership roles in the House to make way for members of a new generation, presumably Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Pete Aguilar (D-CA). Pelosi’s team has defended the liberal consensus and expanded it into health care and measures to address climate change; the new generation of Democrats seems likely to center issues like childcare and racial equality more fully than their predecessors did.

These changes embrace the demographic change the last election made so clear. Gen Z—the generation born after 1997—is racially and ethnically diverse. Its members want the government to do more to solve problems than it has done in their lifetime, and they are now politically awake. That generation looks much like the Millennials from the generation preceding it—those born between 1981 and 1996—and both groups strongly favor Democratic policies.

Peltola reflects another change visible after the election: the record number of women elected to office this cycle. Peltola will add one more woman to the House of Representatives, bringing the total to 124, one more than the record set by the current Congress. Murkowski will bring the total of female senators to 25, which is one fewer than the record of 26, set in 2020 thanks to a few special appointments for unexpectedly empty seats.

But the place women’s representation really changed in 2022 was in the number of women elected to govern their states. In 2018, just 16 female candidates ran for governorships. In 2022, there were 36 governor’s contests, and 25 women ran in them. Until now there have been only 45 women governors in our history, and only 9 in office at one time.

Beginning in 2023, a record number of twelve women will hold governorships. Incumbent female governors in Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Mexico, Michigan and South Dakota were reelected. Voters in Arizona, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Oregon elected new governors who are women. And New Yorkers elected Kathy Hochul, who took office initially in 2021 to replace resigning governor Andrew Cuomo.

Meredith Conroy and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux of FiveThirtyEight note that historically, voters are less likely to vote for women for solo offices than as group lawmakers, but Kelly Dittmar, director of research at the Center for American Women and Politics, told Jennifer Shutt of the Idaho Capital Sunthat a number of factors fed the success rate of women candidates this cycle. First, there is now a long enough history of women in high positions of leadership that voters have confidence in them, especially as some of them—like Kay Ivey in Alabama and Hochul in New York—stepped into their positions after their male predecessors resigned in disgrace.

Even more key, perhaps, was the June 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion guaranteed in 1973 by Roe v. Wade. Women turned out to protect their right to healthcare in this election and, not surprisingly, they turned to women governors who made protecting abortion care central to their reelection campaigns.

The female governors have a great deal of legislative experience, perhaps in part because their rise through the political ranks has been slow as it has been hampered by resistance. Republicans reelected female governors in South Dakota, Iowa, and Alabama and added Trump’s former White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as governor of Arkansas. While Sanders has no experience in elected office, the other three—South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, Iowa’s Kim Reynolds, and Alabama’s Kay Ivey—all have significant experience in their state governments and, in Noem’s case, in Congress.

The same is even more true on the Democratic side. Maine’s Janet Mills, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, Arizona’s Katie Hobbs, New York’s Kathy Hochul, New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham, Oregon’s Tina Kotek, and Kansas’s Laura Kelly all have legislative experience; Maura Healey of Massachusetts twice won election as state attorney general.

While Noem made headlines for her fervent support of former president Trump, the new Democratic governors all ran as competent administrators who strongly opposed Trump-type politics. Maine’s Mills ran against a former governor who once described himself as “Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular,” and Michigan’s Whitmer was such a target of the former president that she became the target of a kidnapping and murder plot.

This focus on competence and moderation clearly boosted Peltola and Murkowski, along with female candidates for governor, but the expansion of representation still does not come close to reflecting the actual percentage of women in the U.S. population. Nor does it reflect racial and ethnic identities. Women representatives are more diverse than in the Senate, but only two women senators—Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI)—are Asian American, and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) is Latina. Since Vice President Kamala Harris resigned from the Senate to take her current office, there have been no Black women in the Senate.

Of the women governors, only New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is Latina, and voters have not yet put a Black women governor at the head of a state. They did, though, put Karen Bass, a Black former congressional representative, in charge of Los Angeles, with record voter turnout. Bass will be the first female mayor in the city’s 241-year history, and her charge is a big one: the city’s 3.8 million people give it more inhabitants than 22 U.S. states. Voters have also embraced other diversity: the new governors in Massachusetts and Oregon are openly lesbian.

That female candidates won so many seats—some contests had women running against each other—is “a really good reminder that women get to be as diverse in their viewpoints and perspectives, priorities, et cetera, as their male counterparts,” Dittmar told Jasmine Mithani of The 19th. “We get to see that being a woman candidate, being a woman doesn’t mean the same thing for everybody.”

The expansion of our political representation to reflect the many different people in our diverse democracy can only be a good thing.