2014 was a great year for liberals. Marriage equality is sweeping across the nation, the federal courts now have a majority of liberal jurists, America's foreign policy is being reshaped in Obama's image, and both red and blue states voted to choose if they wanted to legalize a plant. Democrats may have lost the Senate, but their priorities surely won in 2014. Here are the top six reasons why 2014 was a great year for Democrats.
1) Democrats Take Over the Courts
This will perhaps be the lasting impact of the Obama Administration. President Obama may be riding off into the sunset in early 2017, but the judges he appointed and the Senate confirmed will be around for years to come. Senate Democrats invoked the 'nuclear option' in late 2013 and began confirming judges at a rapid rate. A major milestone was reached this year in May of this year when judges appointed by a democratic President outnumbered judges appointed by a republican President. Nine of thirteen
courts of appeals now have a majority of judges who were appointed by a democratic President, and the number of district courts who have a democratic majority is even greater.
2) Foreign Policy Achievements Abound
The Obama doctrine is taking shape and what a doctrine it is. President Obama is brushing aside America's 'cowboy style diplomacy' and forging a new path of engagement with nations America has not had diplomatic relationships with for decades. The President has begun a dialogue with Iran, negotiated a major climate deal with China, and opened Americas hand to Cuba all in one year. These achievements will be felt long after President Obama leaves office.
3) Gay Rights Are Sweeping Across the Nation
It doesn't matter if you live in a red or blue state--marriage equality is becoming the norm in America
. We still have fifteen states to go, but the vast majority of Americans are now able to marry the person they love. The Supreme Court will most likely rule once and for all on this issue in their next term and gay rights activists have a lot to be excited about. Very few Supreme Court observers think Justice Kennedy will change his mind and vote to uphold a states right to discriminate against gay couples. 2014 was a phenomenal year for marriage equality and 2015 is shaping up to be even better.
4) Voters Say They Want a Fairer Wage
Republicans may have had a good election, but voters in red states still made it clear that they aren't always on the same page with their representatives. Five red states voted to increase their minimum wages, joining a majority of other states who already have a minimum wage that is above the federally mandated $7.25/hour. President Obama recently called for the federal minimum wage to be increased to $10.10/hour, but Republicans in Congress have put the breaks on that proposal. Hopefully the will see the light after four republican dominated states voted to increase their minimum wage, but don't hold your breath.
5) Voters Want to 'Go Green'
Seattle and Colorado paved the way in 2012 and two more states joined the list in 2014 after Oregon and Alaskan voters voted to legalize marijuana. Washington D.C. also voted to legalize the harmless plant, but House Republicans decided to exert their authority over the district and overruled them by sneaking in a last minute add on in the 2015 budget. Twenty-three states
now have marijuana legalized for medicinal or recreational use and that number is destined to rise in the years to come.
6) Millions of Immigrants Can Come out of the Shadows
After giving House Republicans more than a year to debate the Senate immigration bill, President Obama took matters into his own hands and issued an executive order granting legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants. The order attempts to ensure that undocumented parents of legal children are not deported and instructs customs officials to prioritize undocumented immigrants who commit felonies and misdemeanors.
2014 was a great year for liberals and democrats. The Democrats may have lost the Senate, but their priorities are now sweeping across the nation. If anything, President Obama has shown that he is not going to sit back and relax for the the last two years of his Administration and is telling us that he is ready to fight for his priorities until he leaves office in early 2017.