Lessons from the Midterm Election

By Lawrence Lease on November 15, 2018

By a margin of 4,000 votes, Joe Cunningham beat Katie Arrington. It was an upset victory by any definition of the term. So why does it matter?

It matters because it shows something revolutionary across the nation. Beto O’Rouke came within a percentage point of beating a Republican Incumbent Senator in Texas. In Florida, a state that swung in favor of Donald Trump in 2016 is in the midst of a recount for a Black male Democratic Candidate. In Georgia, efforts for a recount are mounting as the Democratic candidate, Stacey Abrams pushes for a runoff election. The Senate election in Florida was less than a percentage point in favor of the Republican candidate. Some states that voted for Trump voted blue.

By: Pixabay.com

Democrats picked up 7 new governorships an 32 seats in the House of Representatives. The first Muslim women were elected to Congress, the first openly gay governor was elected, the first Somali-American was elected to Congress. The list of firsts was quite extensive for this election cycle. What this shows is that people are demanding change, they want representation in their government. The people want change.

The question, then, is what kind of change do they want? Typically the biggest indicator of how people will vote is how the economy is doing; if it is doing well, voters typically try to maintain the status quo, and if it isn’t doing well, they vote to remove the elected officials. Yet the economy is doing well. Unemployment is at its lowest rate in a long time, wages are rising throughout the country, more people are entering the workforce. So why are people so discontent?

A large part of this was younger voters. Voter turnout across the country rose exponentially among the youth in this election cycle, and a large portion of 18 to 24-year-olds are angry with this administration. In Tennessee, voter turnout among the youth rose by more than 700 percent. The people of Gen-Z are demanding that their voice is heard, is demanding change. They are tired of racist, sexist, and discriminative policies across the nation. They don’t want to have anything to do with the archaic policies of the past. We can see that in Florida, which overwhelming voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that would allow felons to vote in state elections. Or how many states have been voting to legalize Marijuana. Change is coming.

As such, this election serves as both a warning and a lesson to the politicians on either side of the aisle. One important takeaway for the Democrats is that centrism on economic issues seems to be the tipping point for voters. If you can appeal to the deeply rooted financial conservatism in Americans, you have a possible chance of swinging. Democrats who advocate tax cuts on the middle class, who advocate for broader goals of economic reform do better because it’s what Republicans do. They appeal to the fact that Americans like to feel responsible for their financial well-being, and if the Democrats can that, they destabilize the other parties stronghold. This can be applied at all levels of governmental elections in all states. Changing the focus can do all the difference, especially in the South where the issue is more prominent.

Another lesson with Republicans, at all levels, is that people are tired of the same old Republican rhetoric and are becoming suspicious of their agenda as far as domestic policy. If you watch the news for even ten minutes, it is clear that there are deeply entrenched social issues that are rearing their head in America: like mass shootings, like racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism. Republicans need to do be doing more, or I predict that they’ll be losing their jobs in 2020. This was their warning almost. It was their warning that they need to be doing more to check Trump and to check the issues America is facing because there is significant strife and people are growing increasingly discontent.

If nothing radical is done in the house, I suspect that Democrats will lose momentum in the 2020 election cycle, but, conversely, if nothing is done with President Trump and the deep issues in the country, more Republicans will be losing jobs at the federal level but also at the state level.

If anything, take this election as a warning message to the status quo: change is coming, and it is coming soon.

Born and raised in Wasilla, Alaska. I am citizen journalist and looking to find a official paying journalism job somewhere in the country. I enjoy watching TV, reading books and traveling.

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