The political system often lacks diversity. In such a diverse country, representatives that reflect the population’s different lived experiences have a more meaningful impact. In a year that emphasized social disparities in race, class, and gender, voters in the 2020 election cast their ballots for some of the most diverse candidates. Here are some of the highlights of the most historic diversity wins from the 2020 election.
The number of people from the LGBTQ community openly serving in elected office has been small. From state legislative races to Congressional seats, there was an increase in the LGBTQ diversity in the 2020 election. Delaware, Vermont, Colorado, New Hampshire, Kansas, Oklahoma, and other states elected trans and non-binary people to state legislatures. States like Tennessee elected their first gay, lesbian, and bisexual candidates. Along with other victories, queer people of color picked up three Congressional seats.
Representation for Women of Color
Although women made gains across political offices, women of color brought historic wins for the 2020 election. Kamala Harris made news by becoming the first woman and first Black and South Asian person to be elected as vice-president, but there were many victories for women of color in the 2020 election. For the first time, all of the people elected to serve in Congress from New Mexico were women of color. Missouri elected its first Black woman to its Congressional delegation, while New York elected its first South Asian state representative. Vermont also elected the first woman of color and South Asian woman to its state Senate.
Openly neurodiverse elected officials are few, but the 2020 elections gave neurodiverse candidates an increase in numbers. Neurodiversity can refer to a range of conditions, such as autism and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). The first openly autistic and bisexual person, Jessica Benham, was elected to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives. Benham joins only a few openly neurodiverse elected officials who are all elected at the state legislative level.
The 2020 election saw many historic wins for representation and policy initiatives. Although the increase in representative diversity has been slow, the 2020 election helped propel many marginalized groups forward with even more gains to make in the coming years.