What You Should Know as the Midterms Approach
As the midterms are a month away and November 6 comes closer and closer, you’ve probably heard that this year’s elections are important. Of course, all elections are important– but what’s so special about this year? You should know that not only will these elections have a dramatic impact on the power of the Presidency, but also that there are historical stakes for 2018. Voter interest is also at a record high, which could translate to unseen numbers at the polls.
What exactly is at stake in these midterms that’s generating more interest? A large factor is that Donald Trump’s election to office has made many Americans more aware of and involved in politics. For many voters, November is less about what they want for their individual state. and more about Trump.
This isn’t a new sentiment; traditionally, midterms are viewed as reactions to the Presidency and are gages for the performance of the President. This year, however, that undercurrent is spectacularly fueling the elections; if power shifts over to the Democrats in both the House and Senate, this will represent a pivotal change and pushback against Republican power–and against Trump.
The Senate and the House do have enormous responsibility and power, as they determine legislation on the economy, health care, and immigration. If Republicans can hold on to control, the country faces two more years of one-party rule in Washington, a possibly more emboldened Trump, and no impeachment. Meanwhile, Democrats are up in arms and desperate to take back control so they can pursue investigations and impeachment proceedings. This is when American decides whether they want more of the same.
In November, all 435 seats of the House of Representatives are up for contention. 35 of the 100 Senate seats are up, and Democrats need 23 of those to secure the Senate. Currently, Democrats are shown to be favored to take over the House, but face a bigger challenge when it comes to the Senate.
This year, there’s also unique potential for historical wins that extend beyond party lines. Arizona could potentially elect its first-ever female Senator. Georgia’s Stacey Abrams could be the first African-American woman to ever be Governor. Jared Polis of Colorado may become the first openly gay man to become Governor. In Vermont, Christine Hallquist is the first transgender candidate ever to be nominated for Governor by a major party. And Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are seeking House seats, hoping to become the first Muslim-American women in Congress.
The future may be young, progressive, and racially diverse. The future may also be more of the same. Midterms do have an impact no matter who is President, and keep in mind that while there are far-reaching consequences, it’s important to participate in the elections for the sake of local issues, as well; there are reasons to vote that have little to do with Trump.
2018’s midterms may bring joy and relief, or despair. Then we move on to the next election, and what 2020 promises.
Laura Myers is a lead contributor for The Daily Lead.