The Importance of the Midterm Elections


by Michelle Trajtman, Opinions Editor

The upcoming midterm elections are the most important in our generation. Elected officials have the power to make decisions on issues that will affect everyone’s lives. Control of the state legislatures, the US House of Representatives and the US Senate are at stake. It is past time for younger generations to show up at the polls and represent the voices of the people.

The regressive stance of the Republican party has acted as a spark for the opposing side. It has mobilized women, people of color and especially the youth to make sure progressive officials who listen to their constituents are voted in. Voters outraged by the current political environment have never been more energized and inspired to make a change.

In these upcoming midterm elections, three states will have the opportunity to elect their first African American governors. For example, in Maryland, civil rights leader and former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Ben Jealous, a Democrat, hopes to defeat Republican opponent Governor Larry Hogan with a “progressive platform of criminal justice reform, marijuana legalisation, and a state-funded, single-payer healthcare system” according to Al Jazeera.

Latino voters are expected to have a major influence on the outcomes of many states. They represent the fastest growing segment of the population in the US. Due to the major devastation in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, displaced voters in Florida, New Jersey, and New York could be just the added support those states need. Concurrently, the separation of more than 3,000 undocumented migrant children due to the “zero tolerance” policy at the border with Mexico.

Not only could Texas elect its first 2 Latina legislators to Congress, but Congress is also preparing to welcome its first Muslim-American women members, Rashida Tlaib, daughter of  Palestinian immigrants and Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American who fled the Somali civil war and lived in a refugee camp in Kenya. By allowing for more inclusion in Congress, we are becoming more open to different perspectives and there is no doubt that the overall course of Washington will continue to progress.

These upcoming elections are urging for young voters to show up and express their voices. The youth vote is incredibly influential as it’s predicted that millennials will become the largest and most powerful group with the most representation in future elections. Unfortunately, the younger generation fears not being represented and often assumes that their votes don’t matter. Not all of those who can vote will, which limits their influence on their future. Important decisions are being decided that could affect their lives, such as college tuition reform.

The president’s party has lost an average of 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate in every midterm election since the American Civil War. Not only that, but President Trump is historically unpopular, according to opinion polls. Evidence according to BBC News also suggests that “more women are running for office than ever before, chiefly on the left, and in some races, all the Democratic candidates are under 30.”

Both Democrats and Republicans have things to be cheerful about in the upcoming elections. A few things that Republicans can be cheerful about is that the Democratic party doesn’t have a centralized viewpoint and is seen as “rudderless since Hillary Clinton’s shock defeat in 2016,” according to the BBC. Many of the younger Democrats that are running are to the far left, which is driving away the Democrats of the baby boomer generation because the ideas are too radical. Some candidates running for the Republican party include people like Ben Sasse and Rand Paul. Both stick to the traditional, conservative views of Republicans but are more centralized, which can appeal to younger Republicans voting in the midterms.

There is no doubt that the stakes are high in the imminent elections. Young voters must vote in order to be represented in their government. The consequences will be felt for a very long while indeed.