2018 Midterm Elections
On November 6, an estimated 113 million Americans turned out to vote in the midterm elections, the first time any such event has exceeded 100 million voters. Even with this incredible total, votes are still being counted from absentee, mail-in, and military ballots. This is a good sign for our country, because there has been a downward trend in past elections in voter turnout, which is the percentage of eligible voters who actually cast a ballot in a given election. Regardless of political affiliation, this is a positive thing, since the right to vote is part of what makes the United States what it is. By casting a vote, Americans participate in a group effort to better our country, and that is what democracy is all about.
As of November 26, Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives by 34 representatives with two races still to be decided, both in upstate New York. Republicans have maintained control of the Senate, at the moment standing pat with 52 senators to the Democrats' 45, plus two left-leaning independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine. Two races could not be concluded on election night, one of which was the hotly contested Florida senate race that after a recount was called for the Republican challenger, former governor Rick Scott. The other, the Mississippi special election to replace retired Republican Thad Cochran, is headed to a runoff between appointed Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democratic challenger Mike Espy. Neither received a majority of the votes, with another Republican, Chris McDaniel, garnering 150,000 votes, many of which would have likely gone to Hyde-Smith. McDaniel's failure to qualify for the runoff election likely means that Hyde-Smith will gain his votes and win the Senate seat on November 27 (EDIT: Hyde-Smith did defend her seat on November 27, defeating Espy by about 70,000 votes).
The 2018 elections had positives and negatives for both sides of politics and represented a turning point for the United States. While there was no "Blue Wave" or "Red Wall," many records were set. Over 100 women were elected to Congress, the first Native American (Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland) and Muslim women (Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar) won seats, and the first openly gay governor (Jared Polis) was elected in Colorado. This year's midterm elections were a step in the right direction for America, and we can make sure these trends continue in the years to come. At least half of the students currently enrolled at Clarkstown South will be eligible to vote in the 2020 elections. So, as a collective group, let us all express our opinions the way Americans are meant to: by voting.