Hillary Clinton may not have shattered the highest, hardest glass ceiling, but she certainly paved the way for many other women to do so. On Tuesday morning, many Americans went to bed devastated by Donald Trump's upset victory. But the high stakes presidential election perhaps obscured the historical wins in down-ballot races across the country. Because for the first time ever, minority women of different ethnicities swept to victory in their respective races to inject some much-needed diversity to the United States Congress.
In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto won a tight race against Republican Joe Heck to become America's first-ever Latina senator. A former Attorney General of the state and the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, Cortez Masto's chances were boosted by President Obama and Clinton, both of whom campaigned hard in Nevada for her.
The country also gained its second Asian-American senator in Tammy Duckworth. An Iraq war veteran who unseated Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, Duckworth is also the first senator to be born in Thailand and the first female senator to have seen combat.
On Monday night, California elected Kamala Harris, making her the the state's first African-American senator and the country's first Indian-American senator. But she has broken barriers before. Harris was the first woman and person of color to be sworn in as Attorney General in California. She's also only the second black woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
Over in Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, a former refugee, became the nation's first Somali-American lawmaker, mere days after Trump claimed that her community was cause for the state's suffering. The state, home to the largest Somali population in the country, remained blue despite a close fight from Trump voters. Omar overcame questions about her personal life to become the state's first Somali female legislator, and more consequentially, her win could be seen as a repudiation of the anti-Muslim sentiment plaguing some parts of the country.
Earlier this year, Omar told The Guardian:
For me, this is my country, this is for my future, for my children's future and for my grandchildren's future to make our democracy more vibrant, more inclusive, more accessible and transparent which is going to be useful for all of us.
And following an election year in which Muslims, immigrants, Hispanics, women, and people with disabilities were singled out for criticism and ridicule, their successes were even more cause for celebration.
A Plus has reached out to the Cortez Masto, Duckworth, Harris and Omar campaigns for comment.