Former president Barack Obama delivered an optimistic interpretation of the midterm election results in a statement posted to Facebook Wednesday morning, writing that he was impressed by the diversity of candidates elected yet cautioning that there is work to be done.
Dozens of candidates who worked for or with Obama ran for office in 2018, with Michigan voters electing Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens and Rashida Tlaib to the House of Representatives. New Mexico sent Deb Haaland, one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, to the House. Colin Allred won in Texas, and Minnesota candidate Dan Feehan was locked in a tight race for a House seat.
It was wins like these, Obama wrote, that encouraged him most, because they reflect the diversity of America. Obama also praised Democrats for being competitive in districts that aren’t always close, and candidates who didn’t win for revitalizing the democratic process.
Here is the former president’s statement in full:
I congratulate everybody who showed up and participated in our democracy yesterday. Obviously, the Democrats’ success in flipping the House of Representatives, several governorships, and state legislatures will get the most attention. But even more important than what we won is how we won: by competing in places we haven’t been competitive in a long time, and by electing record numbers of women and young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, a surge of minority candidates, and a host of outstanding young leaders. The more Americans who vote, the more our elected leaders look like America.On a personal note, Michelle and I couldn’t be prouder of the alumni of my administration who took the baton and won their races last night. Even the young candidates across the country who fell short have infused new energy and new blood into our democratic process, and America will be better off for it for a long time to come.I also want to congratulate voters across the country for turning out in record numbers, and for voting for several ballot initiatives that will improve the lives of the American people – like raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, and strengthening voting rights.Our work goes on. The change we need won’t come from one election alone – but it is a start. Last night, voters across the country started it. And I’m hopeful that going forward, we’ll begin a return to the values we expect in our public life – honesty, decency, compromise, and standing up for one another as Americans, not separated by our differences, but bound together by one common creed.