Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Medicaid expansion was a bright spot for Democrats on an otherwise mixed election night as three states passed ballot initiatives to adopt the Affordable Care Act's expansion of the program.

By the numbers: Idaho voters approved Medicaid expansion with more than 61% of the vote. Nebraska passed it with 53%. Utah approved it with 54%.

Democrats also won hard-fought gubernatorial races in Kansas and Wisconsin, putting expansion at least on the table in those 2 states — Kansas especially.

  • Kansas' state legislature approved Medicaid expansion in 2017, only to have it vetoed by Gov. Sam Brownback. Extending the program was a big part of Gov.-elect Laura Kelly's campaign.
  • Tony Evers, who defeated Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also campaigned on a platform that included Medicaid expansion.

The other side: Democrats lost some enticing races with potentially big Medicaid stakes — namely, the Florida governor spot.

  • A ballot measure to continue the Medicaid expansion in Montana is also losing, 55% to 45% as of 5:30 this morning, though results in the state aren't final yet.

The bottom line: Getting all 3 ballot initiatives passed is nevertheless a big win for expansion advocates, and could end up covering more than 150,000 people, all together.

And don't forget about Maine. Democrat Janet Mills will take over for outgoing Gov. Paul LePage (who, in the most on-brand announcement I've ever seen, already announced he's moving to Florida).

  • Mills will likely follow through on Maine's Medicaid expansion, which voters approved last year but which LePage fought tooth and nail.

P.S. ... California voters rejected a ballot initiative to cap dialysis firms' profits, 62% to 38%, vindicating the record-breaking sums that dialysis firms spent to defeat it.

Go deeper

Pundits react to a chaotic debate: “What a dark event we just witnessed”

The first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden in Cleveland on Tuesday night was a shouting match, punctuated by interruptions and hallmarked by name-calling.

Why it matters: If Trump aimed to make the debate as chaotic as possible with a torrent of disruptions, he succeeded. Pundits struggled to make sense of what they saw, and it's tough to imagine that the American people were able to either.

Trump to far-right Proud Boys: "Stand back and stand by"

Asked to condemn white supremacist violence at the first presidential debate on Tuesday, President Trump said the far-right Proud Boys group should "stand back and stand by," before immediately arguing that violence in the U.S. "is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly been accused of failing to condemn white nationalism and right-wing violence, despite the FBI's assessment that it's the most significant domestic terrorism threat that the country faces. The president has frequently associated antifa and the left-wing violence that has afflicted some U.S. cities with Biden, despite his condemnation of violent protests.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?

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