The 2018 midterm elections are fast approaching (November 6) and there can be a lot of confusion towards what we are voting for exactly. Though we aren’t voting for president, these elections still matter and give the public the opportunity to weigh in on the current state of this country. The midterm elections may seem confusing and overwhelming, but let’s break it down.
What are the midterm elections?
The midterm elections occur halfway between presidential elections. All 435 members of the House of Representatives are up for election every two years and one-third of the Senate up for election. Fifty-one seats are needed for control of the Senate and 218 are needed for control of the House. The control of Congress is up for grabs this year. And the party that controls Capitol Hill decides the direction our country goes in.
Across the country, 36 states are holding elections for governor. There are also 82% of state legislator seats up for a vote and 30 state attorney generals being voted on.
Why are the midterms so important?
It is YOUR chance to weigh in on the Trump administration and Washington.
Democrats are striving to win a House majority, with a narrow path to take back control of the Senate. Thirty-four Senate seats are up for grabs but only 8 of those seats belong to Republicans. Democrats need to defend 25 seats and gain 3 seats in order to take control of the Senate.
The U.S. House of Representatives passes federal laws. For the past few years, Trump has used the majority Republican House to his advantage. With the Democrats in control, Trump’s policies wouldn’t be automatically passed and the country’s agenda could change.
Senators pass laws and confirm nominees to the Cabinet and the Supreme Court (*cough* Kavanaugh). They also deal with impeachment proceedings.
The two candidates running for governor in California are Gavin Newsom (Democrat) and John Cox (Republican). Each has opposing views on immigration. The state lawmakers that make up each state’s legislature set the state’s agenda on things like marijuana, abortion, and gun laws. The state attorney general is the “People’s Lawyer”; the top legal officer in every state. They work on things like environmental laws, labor protection, and criminal justice.
Why care about who controls Congress?
Here’s some of the issues at stake:
· Gun Reform
· Environmental Policy
· Health Care
· Student Loan Policy
· Criminal Justice Reform
· Defense and Infrastructure Spending
· Women’s Reproductive Rights
· LGBTQ+ Rights
· Civil Rights
· Voting Rights
If the Republicans maintain control, some of Trump’s key agendas and campaign promises could be revitalized. Expect the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act and another try at getting Trump’s border wall constructed.
If the Democrats takeover, it might lead to a re-examination of immigration reform, particularly as it pertains to legalizing people who were once protected by the DACA policy. The threat of impeaching Trump could also arise with Democrats in control of the House, as impeachment comes down to a majority vote in the House before being forwarded onto the Senate. The investigations into the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election would become much more aggressive because it will be Democrats looking to damage President Trump before the 2020 presidential election.
When will this take place?
Tuesday November 6, 2018
Where can I learn more about who/what I’m voting for?
To read up on the ballot propositions and candidates for your state, go to Ballotpedia (https://ballotpedia.org/Main_Page) and put in your address. You can also find your polling place.
Politico (https://www.politico.com) is also a great website that covers politics and policy in the United States and internationally. Their journalism is non-partisan and updated in real-time.
People need to vote! America has some of the lowest voter turnout in the developed world. It was reported that for every 10 Americans, only 6 turn out to vote. So register to vote and do your research on the candidates whose views on policies and issues align with your own. News today can make you feel like you have no say in the way our country acts and treats people. The midterm elections are your chance to use your voice. If you don’t like what’s going on these days in this country, get to the polls and exercise your right to vote!