BOSTON (CBS) – By now you know who the big winners and losers of election day 2021 were. But what about some of the more hidden winners and losers? Here are a few that caught our eye:
* Boston Mayor-elect Michelle Wu’s victory was just one of many breakthroughs by candidates of color. Democrat Eric Adams became the second black man elected mayor of New York. Republican Winsome Sears will be the first black lieutenant governor of Virginia. And Ed Gainey broke the color barrier in Pittsburgh.
As Gainey put it in his victory speech: “All these new bridges [are] being built and I’m not talking about physical bridges, I’m talking about bridges of people.”
* Meanwhile, Republicans like Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin who want to move on from Donald Trump were winners.
President Biden and Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe tried to hang Youngkin with Trump’s baggage. “I call him Donald Trump in khakis,” said McAuliffe at a campaign rally.
But in a state that swung sharply away from the Republicans last year, Youngkin kept his distance from the former president, and it paid off with a narrow victory.
* Some popular left-wing slogans were big election day losers. Notably, a move to turn the “defund the police” theme into policy in Minneapolis – epicenter of protest in 2020 after George Floyd was murdered by a local cop – lost big.
And after Buffalo’s longtime mayor Byron Brown lost to self-proclaimed socialist India Walton in the primary, he turned that label against her and swamped Walton with write-in votes. Expect to see Republicans aggressively try to paint Democrats as socialist defunders in next year’s midterms for the third straight election cycle.
* And finally, it seems voters don’t like it when their elected leaders bicker and squabble in public.
Local mayoral incumbents Sefatia Romeo Theken of Gloucester and Yvonne Spicer of Framingham made that mistake, and lost. No doubt, there’s plenty of friction between elected officials behind the scenes. The voters seemed to be saying they prefer that it be kept there.
The common denominator here — populism, and a resistance to top-down politics and policy.
For instance, the energy industry was a big loser on election day, with Boston voters rejecting an East Boston electricity plant that had been approved by the state and Maine voters nixing a hydropower pipeline that was a key part of Beacon Hill’s push to curb emissions.
And the same backlash seemed to propel the Boston votes for an elected school committee and for taking some budgetary power away from the mayor.
It seems voters want more say over their future, not less.