In honor of the waning days of perhaps the bleakest year in my lifetime, let’s take a look back at some of the bright spots over the last 12 months in politics:
- Record election turnout: More Americans than ever before voted in this year’s presidential election, despite the pandemic that forced many states to shift their electoral strategies by offering early voting and mail-in voting. More than 100 million Americans cast ballots before Election Day, CNN found, making up more than 47% of registered voters nationwide.
- More poll workers than ever before: Officials sounded the alarm this spring over major shortages of poll workers, the people crucial for a seamless election to actually take place. Traditionally, they’re older individuals — exactly those most susceptible to the coronavirus. And across the country, people stepped up, from sports teams to large companies to everyday Americans, ensuring enough bodies at the polls amid record turnout.
- A successful pandemic election: Despite a pandemic, this year’s election largely went off without a hitch, (President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud notwithstanding.) Which is pretty incredible! Local election officials rightly deserve credit for withstanding an unfathomable level of scrutiny and pressure this year.
- Women rule in the House: A record number of women will serve in the incoming Congress, thanks to record gains by GOP candidates. Democratic women will still far outnumber Republican women in the House, but Republicans will double their ranks from 13 to a record of at least 26 women in the House, making up for losses in 2018.
- In nurses and teachers we trust: Public confidence in those on the front lines of this pandemic climbed this year. Polling from Gallup found the public rates nurses, doctors and pharmacists high for honesty and ethics, followed by school teachers — all of whom have experienced a pandemic-era uptick in respect, according to Gallup’s annual poll numbers.
The Point: This list certainly isn’t comprehensive, but in a year filled with unimaginable challenges, it’s my hope we can remember some of the good to come out of 2020.