The Nov. 7 election results were a clear and overwhelming rebuke of the fearmongering and race-baiting that embodies Trumpism, AFT President Randi Weingarten says. "It was also clear that voters understood that running as a populist is not the same as acting as one or governing for the people.
"This election was a real 'which-side-are-you-on?' moment in which the candidates who demonstrated that they truly care for and will fight for people, and that they stand for public education, affordable healthcare and good jobs, overwhelmingly beat those who, like Trump, seek to campaign as a populist but serve the elites."
The results were made possible by the hard work, on the ground, of union members, volunteers and candidates who talked and connected with voters, understood and listened to their legitimate anger and frustration with what is going on in our country today, and offered a path forward based on the aspirations we all share for a better life," she adds.
"Yesterday's results were a clear repudiation of the efforts by Trump and the GOP to strip healthcare away from people, go after people's rights, and push Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' agenda to defund and privatize public schools. And the message to Congress should be clear—don't try to ram through a tax plan that gives massive tax breaks to the rich and corporations at the expense of the middle class.
"We celebrate every one of our members and every other volunteer who made phone calls, knocked on doors, drove people to the polls, and got out the vote to create a wave of wins across the nation. Elections matter—and we need to continue this wave and this enthusiasm through 2018 to elect even more governors, state legislators, U.S. representatives and U.S. senators who will stand with working folks and not those trying to get even richer off the backs of working families and the middle class."
Highlights from Election 2017:
- In Virginia, AFT-endorsed candidates won all statewide elections, and Democrats gained at least 16 House of Delegates seats. The stakes of this election were enormous for working folks and for our kids—and for public education, decency and an economy that works for all.
- In New Jersey, AFT-endorsed candidate Phil Murphy won the governor's race by 13 points, and state Sen. Steve Sweeney was overwhelmingly re-elected. These victories offer new hope and new opportunity for the people of New Jersey who for years have had a blustering bully for a governor, who disrespected educators, nurses and working people.
- In New York, a referendum calling for a state constitutional convention was defeated with more than 80 percent of the vote. It was the work of union members and allies across the state that helped educate the public and ensure victory on Election Day, despite support for the referendum early in the campaign. And in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio was re-elected, becoming the first Democratic mayor to be re-elected there since Ed Koch was re-elected in 1985.
- In Douglas County, Colo., AFT members and voters defeated Koch brother-supported, anti-public education candidates to ensure a pro-public education school board.
- In Houston, AFT members and voters elected additional pro-public education school board members, who will work with educators and families to help them continue to heal and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, create community schools, ensure local control and fight for additional funding.
- In Maine, voters approved Medicaid expansion.
- In Washington state, Democrats regained control of the state Senate.
- School bond initiatives won across the country, including in Cincinnati, Austin and across Minnesota.
- The Republican supermajority in the Georgia Senate was broken.
- AFT-endorsed mayors won in Lawrence, Mass.; Detroit; St. Paul, Minn.; and across the country.
- AFT members were elected in Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania and Virginia.
[AFT press release]