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Why The 2018 Mid-Term Election May Be The Most Important Of Your Life

The 2018 mid-term elections - the elections which are held between the presidential elections -  are Tuesday, Nov. 6 except in Louisiana where the election will be held Dec. 8. This mid-term election is important to many different groups, for many different reasons, and the results could have implications for many years to come.

One of the biggest voting challenges we face as a nation is that voter turnout is not very high, even during a presidential election, and turnout is significantly lower during the mid-term elections.   During the 2016 presidential election only about 58% of eligible voters cast ballots. We need to do better than that as a nation. This year’s mid-term election may prove to be a little different in terms of turn out as many people recently polled do intend to vote this November. The Skimm & Hive poll showed that  62% of respondents feel that this mid-term election is more important than any other midterm election in their life and 67% of those polled said they were absolutely certain to vote. These are encouraging numbers, but intentions do not always follow through to actions, especially when it comes to voting.

The Skimm & Hive poll also showed that 18% of  those that said they were not likely to vote felt that their vote will not make a difference, and the top response (27% of respondents) as to why people will not be voting is  they feel they do not know enough about the candidate or the issue. There are many arguments that state that your vote does matter. I am having a hard time finding the arguments that say a single vote does matter, especially in a presidential election.  However, the higher the percentage of people that vote, the more likely we are going to have representation that truly reflects what the majority of the nation believes. Additionally, data from the Pew Research Center shows that Gen X-ers and Millennials are less likely to vote than are Baby Boomers - meaning Gen -X and Millennials are being grossly underrepresented.  Being uninformed is inexcusable in my opinion with the wealth of information we have at our literal fingertips. Again, we can do better.  

If you do pay attention to certain news and information sources, there have been discussions of a blue tide this election, meaning that  Democrats are expected to win by a large margin, but this is going to be more difficult to do than it looks. Overall there are 469 seats up for grabs between the US House and US Senate including 34 Senate seats and all 435 seats in the  House. In the Senate, there are 25 seats that are currently held by a Democrat that need to be maintained as well as Democrats being able to take over 3 additional seats from Republicans, while the Republicans only need to defend 8 seats to remain in the majority.  To take over the House, Democrats will need to win 24 seats currently held by Republicans.

What is at stake in this election?  Whichever party holds the majority in Congress can set the tone of the laws that are made.  If Republicans retain a majority in both the House and Senate more tax cuts for corporations, immigration may be tightened up while deportations increase, health care reform will be stopped, there is potential for being able to appoint another conservative Supreme Court justice, meaning there could be more successful challenges to prior decisions such as Roe V Wade.  If Democrats are able to gain the majority in either the House or Senate there will be no border wall, no cuts to welfare and social security, and it would allow for more capabilities for investigating the Trump administration on issues such as Russian collusion.

What are the predictions?  Looking at national polls and historical data it shows that Democrats are only slight favorites to win the House, however, local polls show much more favorable results for Democrats.  The party in power has historically lost some ground in mid-term elections. Of course, the polls have been wrong in the past and we will not have concrete results until November 7. Will your vote be the single vote that determines an election?  That is not likely on the national level, but on the local level many elections have very narrow margins, and your vote could be a deciding factor. Showing up to vote is also an indicator that the politicians need to pay attention to their constituents in your district.  If you feel you need more information to be able to make an informed decision go to this website as a starting point https://www.usa.gov/midterm-state-and-local-election

Rose Jacobsen