The Change in Leadership: Midterms 2018

Riley Sims, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The 2018 midterm elections took place on Nov. 6, and saw many changes in representatives and senators. Both Democrats and Republicans received results in their favor.

As of Nov. 7, Democrats took the House of Representatives with 220 seats versus Republicans with only 193 seats, according to the Associated Press. The House of Representatives makes and passes laws. What this means is that the Democrats will have a greater say in the laws that are passed. According to USA Today, the Democrats are expected to investigate more into Trump because they now have the power to demand his tax returns and subpoena his Cabinet members. In Texas, a traditionally Republican state, Democrats picked up 12 seats from Republicans.

“What we have now is what you call divided government,” AP U.S. Government teacher Jesse Blankenship said. “I don’t think they’ve been this at odds, ideologically, since before the Civil War.”

Republicans took the Senate with 51 seats versus Democrats with only 43 seats.

Certain Senate races across the country picked up a lot of media attention. The Texas race between Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke was a close one, with Cruz gaining 50.9 percent of the votes and O’Rourke gaining 48.3 percent. According to The New York Times, O’Rourke toured all Texas counties and had $70 million in campaign contributions, but in the end, he was defeated by Cruz. Texas hasn’t had a Democratic Senator since 1988, but other states did see a shift.

“You do have an anomalies,” Blankenship said. “For example, a very liberal state, Massachusetts, which is almost completely blue, they just overwhelmingly re-elected a Republican governor. Same thing in Maryland. So, anomalies do happen.”

This previous election saw a major turnout in voters. As of Nov. 7, the official ballot numbers have not been released, though The New York Times estimated that around 114 million ballots were cast this election versus the 83 million cast in 2014. There has also been an increase in young voters. According to ABC News, in preliminary results, 13 percent of voters were ages 18 to 29 years. In the 2014 midterm election, this age group only made up 11 percent of voters. The states that saw the greatest increase in youth voters, according to USA Today, include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada and Texas.

“It was pretty new to me, but it is something that I have to adjust to every single year,” said senior and first time voter Regan Mendez. “What made me want to vote was to just continue with the young people’s movement.”

As another midterm election ended and people put away their campaign signs, the importance of voting remains. Politicians, celebrities, news organizations and businesses have encouraged many to go to the polls and have expressed how much their vote counts. Mendez believes that it is important for young people to vote as well.

“That’s the new movement,” Mendez said. “That’s [young] people who are going to be voting for like the next 10 years or so. They’re going to be here for a very long time, so it’s really important for young people to vote.”