The “Rainbow Wave” Everybody Should Be Talking About
In races across the country, LGBTQ candidates broke generational electoral standards this midterm season. From local elections to congressional races, queer candidates outperformed expectations and set a new standard for what elected office can and should look like.
Some of the most notable victories for LGBTQ candidates include:
- Becca Balint (D) will become the first woman and the first openly gay candidate to represent Vermont in the House.
- James Roesener (D) was elected to serve in New Hampshire’s state House, making him the first openly trans man to serve in any state Legislature.
- Maura Healey (D) won her gubernatorial race in Massachusetts, making her the country’s first lesbian governor.
- Robert Garcia (D) will join California’s congressional delegation as the first openly LGBTQ immigrant to serve in Congress.
This wave of victories for LGBTQ candidates did not begin and end at the polls. According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a record-setting 678 LGBTQ candidates appeared on ballots across the country Tuesday. Hundreds more fell short of a major party nomination but made an impact on their communities throughout their campaigns.
LGBTQ Victory Fund Press Secretary Albert Fujii told USA Today that he is calling this trend of victories a “rainbow wave,” one that has been fueled by the resilience and the tenacity of the queer community. The past few years have been some of the most discriminatory periods in modern American history for queer populations.
From anti-trans legislation to organized violence against queer people, Republican-dominated spaces have allowed for the organized abuse of minorities. Having these new voices in Washington, and across the country, will hopefully not only humanize LGBTQ people but offer a more intimate perspective on legislation as it affects the LGBTQ community.
As we look on to 2024 and beyond, political pundits will be forced to recognize the electoral powerhouse that the LGBTQ community is becoming.
According to research done by the Human Rights Campaign, 11% of the eligible voting population identifies as openly LGBTQ, and by 2040 almost one-fifth of eligible voters will identify as members of this community. This rapidly growing voting bloc is more than enough to sway a progressive vote in most races.
For democracy to be functional and be a true reflection of the American people, representation must be on every ballot, in every election. Political commentators will be quick to now shift the conversation to 2024, but it is important to stay in this moment, to recognize the power of today.
LGBTQ people are occupying spaces they have been excluded from for decades. Queer people are finding success in politics while being open about their sexuality and gender identity. This “rainbow wave” has created the opportunity for young LGBTQ people to see themselves in their government, and to see public service as a field available to them.
Representation is everything, and representation won this election season.
Nick Fulton is a Washington-based press professional who specializes in political advocacy communications. He currently serves as communications lead at George Washington University’s The Global Women’s Institute. You can find him on Twitter @ficknulton.
In The News
Political leaders often talk about the importance of enhancing U.S. manufacturing. “Made in America” is a common campaign mantra that... Read More
Political leaders often talk about the importance of enhancing U.S. manufacturing. “Made in America” is a common campaign mantra that can always excite a crowd. As an American manufacturer, I have dedicated my career to producing critical aerospace components for both the defense and commercial aerospace... Read More
The overwhelming evidence and consensus among global health organizations is that gender-affirming care saves lives. Yet many transgender, nonbinary and... Read More
The overwhelming evidence and consensus among global health organizations is that gender-affirming care saves lives. Yet many transgender, nonbinary and gender non-conforming people lack access to the care they need. Some must wait up to a year to talk to a medical professional about gender-affirming care.... Read More
In June 2022 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that provided the sought after political fodder to catapult fundraising... Read More
In June 2022 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that provided the sought after political fodder to catapult fundraising efforts heading into the 2022 midterm election cycle. In the June opinion, the court overruled two cases from 1973 and 1992, and returned the matter of... Read More
Did you know that the United States government is the world's biggest spender? As we transition to a clean economy,... Read More
Did you know that the United States government is the world's biggest spender? As we transition to a clean economy, federal agencies should be leveraging their enormous purchasing power to advance our national goals, like cutting climate pollution, bolstering the competitiveness of U.S. industry and creating... Read More
Reportedly it was President Harry Truman who said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” But what... Read More
Reportedly it was President Harry Truman who said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” But what happens when our furry friends grow old and suffer from arthritis, as happens to about 20% of canines? Current arthritis treatment focuses on reducing inflammation and... Read More
As a volunteer, I recently outlined the steps of transitioning off federal welfare assistance to a pair of families who... Read More
As a volunteer, I recently outlined the steps of transitioning off federal welfare assistance to a pair of families who had been hired as full-time employees. What has become a common reaction, concerned about losing welfare benefits, they did not intend to keep their new jobs.... Read More