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LIVE BLOG: Election Day, 2018

Executive Editor Claire Potter rocked an old school blog post throughout the day

This post will be periodically updated throughout Election Day, 2018, and will be featured as Purple Wednesday on November 7 2018. In true old school style, you will have to read this post backwards, as the most recent entries will be at the top.

10:23 p.m. NBC projects that Democrats will take the House. Welcome home, Speaker Pelosi.

10:13 p.m. Turns out the Beto O’Rourke thing was a fantasy after all, but you know what? His candidacy did a lot to move the down ballot in Texas — Democrats will pick up seats, particularly in the Texas House (remember when Texas Dems hid in a motel in Oklahoma so that they could stop losing votes?) and in Dallas county, where they flipped a House seat. Cultivating the Blue vote in Texas has been incredibly valuable, and O’Rourke has a future.

10:12 p.m. Hoping Kris Kobach doesn’t let the door hit him in the a$$ on the way out. Cheaters never prosper.

10:00 p.m. Democrats now have a 90% chance of taking the house. And Mitt Romney goes to the Senate from Utah. If you can’t be President……

Oops! Make that 95%!

9:47 p.m. FiveThirtyEight reporting that “Turnout among nonwhite voters looks like it might hit a record in Georgia. Preliminary exit polls report 40% turnout among nonwhite voters, including 30% turnout among black voters.” Remember that higher Black turnout than expected in Alabama sent Democrat Doug Jones to the Senate in 2017.

9:39 p.m. MSNBC calls the Colorado governor’s race for Democrat Jared Polis, who will be the first openly gay governor. Stress on “openly” here, nudge nudge, wink wink. And Democrat Conor Lamb is projected to win his new, re-drawn Pennsylvania district. Chance of Democratic control of the House back up to 80%. Breathe.

9:23 p.m. Less than 100 votes between Beto and Lyin’ Ted.

9:06 p.m. Florida projected to restore voting rights to felons: could be a good sign for Andrew Gillum. On the other hand, a phenomenal number of Floridians — 1.5 million out of 20 million, which is 5% of the population — have a felony conviction, and I am betting a fair number of them are related to Republicans.

9:00 p.m. Joe Donnelley did go down, and furthermore, chances of Democrats controlling the House has dropped to 65%. Good news: Democrat Joe Manchin holds onto his West Virginia Senate seat. Mixed news: Democrat Bob Menendez, who has now been tried for corruption twice, also won. WTF news: Beto O’Rourke is hanging in there against Lyin’ Ted and commentators seem to think he actually could win?

7:30 p.m. We are in the chaos stage — polls are closing, and all we have is figurative numbers. Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine are hanging onto their seats, and Andrew Gillum is hanging on in the Florida governor’s race. Mostly news crews are just filling up air until there is something real to report. Looks like Joe Donnelly’s shift to the center right in Indiana did not work: he seems to be going down. See Jeff Isaac’s Public Seminar column for some reasons why.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of Democrats, having cast their ballots, are at home drinking and praying.

2:30 p.m.  There is nothing to report! But as we all know, turnout will determine this election, and turnout across the nation seems to be good. According to The Hill, turnout among young and first-time voters is way up; early voting in Colorado doubled last week; and in Lansing, MI, voter turnout is high, despite bad weather and power outages.

11:30 a.m. In New York City, the rain is coming down in sheets, and my polling place was *jammed*. You don’t see a New Yorker in the street who is not rushing to a polling place or wearing an “I voted” sticker. Interestingly, Republicans decided to not even contest most of the local races in New York, which shows you just how popular the party of Trump is in the president’s own home town. That they did not contest the judicial elections is really important: for a party that has staked everything on occupying the judiciary, they may know that the only judges they can have are the ones they can appoint.

This is me voting at our local middle school:

It is, by the way, illegal to take pictures in a polling place. But if the Board of Elections invalidates my ballot, they need to go after Eric Trump too, since he photographed and tweeted his whole 2016 ballot.  This was yet another sign from Trumpworld that all laws are intended for the little people, not the Trumps.

But I think this photograph accurately demonstrates how we feel in the blue bubble that is Manhattan, where over 90% of us voted for Hillary Clinton: we are anxious and joyful at the same time. That baby behind me was born into the world Donald Trump made: I cast my vote, in part, so he doesn’t have to grow up in it too.

9:15 a.m. Democrats everywhere woke up today to an elevated sense of dread, a culminating moment in the emotional roller coaster we have all been on since the evening of November 8, 2016. That was 728 days ago — not that anyone is counting. Weekend before last, I walked around in the rain asking people to protect the civil rights of transgender people in Massachusetts, and today I will vote, hope, and pray.

Highlights of Election Day so far:

  • I located the pussy hat knitted for me by my dear friend and former dissertation advisor, women’s historian Susan Ware. I will wear it to the polls. My motto: dress for success, and don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.
  • The news from Poland continues to be good for those of us opposed to fascism: as Slawomir Sierakowski, the director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw reports in the New York Times, voter turnout in major cities has shaken the hold of the Law and Justice party on the national government, decisively trouncing numerous candidates, including prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s sister. While Law and Justice is still in control for now, the runoffs held two days ago delivered five more cities from populist rule, including Gdansk, the birthplace of the Solidarity movement.
  • My sister writes to say she has taken her place as a Democratic greeter at her polling place in Hillsborough, North Carolina, the first time she has ever worked an election. She has been organizing at the grassroots since the day Trump was elected. She has been attacked by police with white supremacist tattoos while covering the Silent Sam protests at the University of North Carolina for this publication. I am so proud.
  • Alex Shepherd at The New Republic speaks up for democracy. “Rejecting Trump and Trumpism, especially given the racist tenor of the GOP’s midterms push, is important,” he writes, “especially at the state level, where Republican governors and legislatures have trampled on voting rights.” Will politics “only get worse,” regardless of today’s results? I will worry about that tomorrow.
  • A terrific essay landed in my inbox from Robin Morris, about the efforts to suppress the vote in Georgia. Return to this space at noon to read this insider’s view of the fight for democracy in a state that may elect the first black woman governor.

Time to go cast my vote in this very blue city and state, where very little of the real action will happen — although all Democrats need to do is flip one seat to take control of the legislature for the first time in decades. In addition, today I will have the honor of supporting Letitia James as potentially the first African-American woman to be elected attorney general of this state.

Claire Potter is professor of history at The New School, and Executive Editor of Public Seminar. You can follow her on Twitter

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