Understanding The USA Midterm Elections – November 2018

In 2016 America had its presidential elections, with Republican Donald Trump becoming President. On the 6th of November 2018 Americans are taking to the polls for the midterm elections during President Trump’s first term. These elections take place in the middle of a Presidential Term. The purpose of the Midterms is to redirect focus on policies by re-electing Congress. Citizens do not vote for a new President but get to cast their votes for politicians to occupy seats in the Senate and House of Representatives.

470 seats in the U.S. Congress are up for re-election: All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 Senate seats. These elections are crucial because citizens will also be voting for local officials; 36 states will also be holding elections for Governors. Local government holds more power over the day-to-day lives of citizens, because policies from local government have a direct impact on them.

The more seats a political party has, the easier it becomes for its policies to be implemented: policies get drafted, proposed and voted on in Congress and the majority rules. Citizens will vote for politicians in both the House of Representatives and Senate and seats will be allocated in direct proportion to the number of votes they get. The political party with the highest number of seat allocation wins and has control over Congress. Control of Congress means control of the country. Republicans currently hold majority of seats in Congress making them in control of the country.

Celebrities across all demographics are doing their part to create awareness on the importance of voting during this year’s midterm elections. People of influence such as; Michelle Obama, Robert Downey Jr, Jennifer Lewis, Tracee Elles Ross, Scarlett Johannson John Legend, Tyalor Swift, Rihanna, Chance the Rapper and Yara Shahidi just to name a few; have been vocal about educating their fans about the importance of these elections.

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Issues that will be impacted by these elections on a national level:

  • Gun reform
  • Student loan policy
  • Environmental policy
  • Health care
  • Criminal justice reform
  • Defence and infrastructure spending
  • Women and reproductive rights
  • Immigration and civil rights
  • LGBTQ+ rights
  • Voting rights

Issues that will be impacted by these elections on a local level:

  • Debt free college
  • Redrawn congressional districts
  • Criminal justice reform
  • Legalization of cannabis

Reasons American Celebrities Are Encouraging Americans To Vote In These Midterm Elections

  • Policy reform: redirecting policies to focus on what matters to people
  • Empowerment: reinforcing the notion that citizens need to take charge of their lives
  • Education: making people aware that they can only be effectively heard through voting and that politics affects every aspect of their lives.
  • Create The Narrative: enforcing the need for citizens to carve out how they want their country to move forward
  • Active Citizenship: encouraging a culture of active citizenship in young people because they are the leaders of tomorrow

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U.S. Midterm election results 2018

The Democrats won 223 seats in the House of Representatives (lower house of Congress) making it the majority party. Republicans only managed to secure 196 seats in the House. Republicans did however manage to keep control of Senate, winning 51 seats over Democrats, who only manged to secure 46 seats.

Voter turnout

Over 114 million ballots were cast in this year’s midterms. This is the highest voter turnout ever during midterm elections.

Female representation in Congress

2018 midterms have proven to have the highest number of females elected into Congress with Democrats having 84 seats and Republicans 12. Here are a few first’s for U.S. Congress

  • Alexandra Oscasi-Cortez: the youngest woman to ever sin a seat in Congress (she is only 29 years old)
  • Ilhan Omar: first Muslim-American and Somali-American woman to hold a seat in Congress
  • Deb Haaland: first Native-American woman to hold a seat in Congress

By virtue of the Democrats having control over the House of Representatives, Trump is going to have difficulty in implementing his policies. Before a policy is implemented members of the House need to vote for the proposed policy; if majority vote in favour of the policy then it is implemented, if not it does not. More representation in Congress means that various issues of concern will to addressed. Congress has never looked this diverse before. History has and continues to be made.

Zani

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