A PROGRESSIVE SURGE. Progressives won big this week. Aside from the relief of a Romney/Ryan loss, we can be hopeful about strong progressives elected to Congress. Sherrod Brown prevailed in Ohio despite being pummeled by negative Super PAC ads, Elizabeth Warren defeated Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin will become the first openly gay or lesbian to serve in the Senate. And the electorate supported groundbreaking ballot initiatives including taking steps toward marriage equality in states like Maryland and Maine. Washington and Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana use which could be the beginning stages toward ending prohibition. Read more from E.J. Graff on Elizabeth Warren and Emily Douglas on marriage equality. And be sure to take a look at The Nation’s editorial on the 2012 election outcomes, “A Progressive Surge.”

A CHANGING AMERICA. As Jon Wiener notes, if only white people had voted on Tuesday, Romney would have won every state but four. But women and people of color showed up in large numbers and pushed President Obama to victory. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto writes how Obama’s re-election sets a record for support from Latino voters: 75 percent voted for the president and made a crucial difference in Western swing states like Colorado, Virginia and Ohio. Bryce Covert reports on how women voters ensured the defeat of misogynist Senate candidates like Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin. And with a ten-point gender gap, women helped propel Obama to victory as well.

VOTING RIGHTS WATCH. According to Ari Berman, the GOP’s war on voting backfired, reporting that suppression efforts served as motivation to communities of color to organize and get out the vote. “In a country with growing diversity,” writes Berman, “if one party is committed to expanding the right to vote and the other party is committed to restricting the right to vote, it’s not hard to figure out which one will ultimately be more successful.” But challenges lie ahead—despite the large turnout of racial minorities, many faced outright harassment and intimidation on Election Day. Aura Bogado reports how a Republican poll watcher was caught complaining that too many people of color were voting in Aurora, Colorado. And while it was moving to see people brave the long lines to vote, waiting for eight hours to cast a ballot—which, as Brentin Mock reports, disproportionately affects people of color—is cruel and undemocratic, especially for hourly wage workers who cannot afford to miss work. Even with the election over, the urgency of securing voting rights has not passed. With the Supreme Court set to review a section of the Voting Rights Act, we’ll continue to cover this story.

SEIZING THE MOMENT. John Nichols argues that Obama’s big win represents a mandate for progressives to call for bold action against the doctrine of austerity. George Zornick agrees: “The lessons of this election are clear: Voters want higher taxes on the wealthy, and for the government to invest in the economy, not reduce spending.” And with the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, climate change is finally back in the national conversation. Naomi Klein writes how the recovery could be an opportunity to realign our relationship with the natural world. And I call for an end of the Electoral College by passing state-by-state National Popular Vote. Read my piece here to find out more about how state legislatures could be the key to changing the system.

PROGRAMMING NOTE. I’ll be on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday—tune in as I join a roundtable discussion to talk about the election, what progressives hope for in a second Obama term, and more. For time and channel, check local listings.