In the end, the wave that crested on Tuesday was more purple in hue: a swell of blue for the House of Representatives and a swell of red for the Senate. It was the kind of election where both sides claimed victory: those who wanted to challenge Trump, as well as those who wanted to support him. That can be maddening to those who like clear winners and losers.
Not that this historic election didn't supply some of both. The biggest losers – besides Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who lost his job on Wednesday — were those who were looking for the election to define in black and white terms (or, red and blue) Who We Are As A Country: Are we a nation of angry, disenfranchised people who hate immigrants? Or are we a glorious melting pot who have differences among ourselves but at the end of the day, open our arms to welcome the downtrodden? The answer, apparently, is "yes." Whether this is a sign our republic is in decline, or simply that the narrative that has helped define a complicated country is wearing thin is best left for another day. But it's worth remembering that the political (and cultural) divide that has been hardened by Trump's election is not an overnight phenomenon. It probably started two decades ago when the population began shifting in a big way to cities. (Though current census suggests that trend is slowing down.)
A female win? Women, galvanized by Trump's election in 2016 and subsequent developments like the #MeToo movement, ran for office, and many of them won on Tuesday. In fact, according to projections, 95 won the House and 13 won the Senate. That's not nothing — and bodes well for encouraging future candidates — but the fact remains that even those numbers puts the percentage of women in Congress at a measly 20 percent. That's weak. Still, Pennsylvania sent four women to Congress – a long overdue change.
The voter turnout win: Voter turnout was great: According to CBS News, 49 percent of eligible voters set a record for a midterm election that hasn't been seen since 1966. Let's hope all those new voters see how easy it is to do and that the results mean each sees the value of his or her vote.
The redistricting win: Pennsylvania's Congressional map was a tribute to gerrymandering. After heated battles, the map was recently redrawn by the state Supreme Court – and on Tuesday, 12 Republican and six Democratic seats in Congress shifted to nine Democrat and nine Republicans. That's called parity and is long overdue.
The referendum win: Those looking for a picture of what voters actually support would be heartened by the number of referendum questions that were offered in states all over the country. People voted to protect transgender people from discrimination (Massachusetts), legalize recreational pot and medical marijuana (Michigan and Missouri, respectively), give ex-felons voting rights (Florida) as well as reform gerrymandering and expand Medicaid (various states). Don't get too excited: Pennsylvania doesn't allow these exercises in direct democracy — though it should.