Nov 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

2020's political firsts

Photo illustration of Ritchie Torres, Madison Cawthorn, Cori Bush, Sarah McBride and Byron Donalds.
Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Slaven Vlasic, Dustin Chambers, Noam Galai, Rachel Murray, Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 RNC/Getty Images

The 2020 general election — thus far — has ushered in a series of landmark wins across the U.S.

The state of play: Tuesday night's results, now rolling into Wednesday, highlight America's shifting political landscape.

  • Ritchie Torres, a New York Democrat, won his House race on Tuesday and will be the first openly gay Black man to serve in Congress. Mondaire Jones has won the election in New York's 17th Congressional District, become the second openly gay Black member of Congress.
  • Cori Bush (D), the first candidate to emerge from the progressive group Justice Democrats, won Missouri's 1st Congressional District. She is the first Black woman to serve in Congress from the state of Missouri.
  • Sarah McBride (D) won her bid in Delaware, becoming the country's first openly transgender state senator.
  • Florida state Rep. Byron Donalds (R) won his House race, possibly making him the lone Black Republican in the lower chamber. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) previously held that title, but is retiring this year.
  • Shevrin Jones (D) was elected as Florida's first LGBTQ+ state senator to represent District 35.
  • Michele Rayner (D) has become the first Black queer woman to win a seat in Florida's legislature.
  • Madison Cawthorn (R), 25, won in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, making him the GOP's youngest member ever.
  • Taylor Small (D) won her House race, making her the first openly transgender person elected to Vermont's state legislature.

The big picture: America is becoming less white, young people are showing increased political enthusiasm, and minority groups, including the LGTBQ+ community, are organizing at a rapid pace. The country's political appetite is bound to change in tandem.

  • 2020's wins could be a sampler of the more diverse, non-traditional political electorate to come.
Go deeper