Democrats celebrated notable victories on Election Day 2023, showcasing their strength in national debates on key issues, most specifically in regard to abortion access. The outcomes provide a snapshot of the political landscape heading into 2024, with major implications in key states.
In Ohio, the passing of one ballot measure secured abortion access and vows to protect the right in the state’s constitution.
“I’m really happy to see that there is still so much support for access to safe abortions, especially in elections that weren’t during the main election cycle year,” said Alex Trombley, a senior from Ohio. “It’s also kind of surprising from where I’m from since I know how conservative some people can be, but it gives me hope that maybe this could influence other states to at least not be so strict.”
In the Virginia statehouse, Democrats also gained the majority, blocking potential efforts from Republican state legislators to pass restrictions on abortion.
It became clear that abortion dominated as the topic of concern in these key state elections, highlighting the prominence of the issue across various states after the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade.
“I had an abortion my first semester of senior year at UM,” said Jade Iovine, a UM alum and podcast host.
“I’m from LA, so I was lucky enough to have a community to go back to where something like this was really destigmatized. But after that Supreme Court decision, I’ve just been worried for other women who have been in my position or in a more compromised one where there is no access whatsoever. Abortions won’t ever stop, but it’s a matter of helping women find ways to do it safely.”
Among these decisions, other historical milestones happened as a result of this election cycle. Gabe Amo, who formerly served as the deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Biden administration, made history as Rhode Island’s first-ever elected Black member of Congress, and Cherelle Parker was elected as the first female mayor of Philadelphia.
“It’s nice to see people who look like me or share some of my experiences represent my city,” said Perinne Codaccioni, a recent UM grad pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania. “I think this only pushes you to want to keep pursuing your goals, which is always a nice boost.”
Though most predictions came to fruition about certain campaigns this election year, there were some races that came to an end.
Democrats campaigned heavily in Mississippi, but incumbent Republican Governor Tate Reeves retained his seat. Glenn Youngkin, also seen as a potential GOP candidate for the 2024 presidential election at one point, did not see decisive decisions in his favor during Virginia’s legislative elections.
While the outcomes of these elections reflect a complex political landscape with many wins favoring the left, some argue that this year’s off-season election may not be an entirely accurate reflection of what’s to come in 2024.
“Though we’ve seen so many left-leaning decisions this election, I’m not sure if it was what most people were expecting,” Trombley said. “I think the presidential election is still very much going to be a toss-up with so many new developments happening right now – I just personally know of a few people from home who are on the fence about who to vote for. It’ll definitely be interesting to see what happens.”