The midterms are fast approaching. On Nov. 6 the nation will decide if the republican majority is here to stay for the rest of the Trump’s term, or if a new blue wave will appear. Midterms generally refer to the elections that happen in between presidential election years. With news like the Kavanaugh hearings to the recent mail bombs, there have definitely been some curveball news developments that have changed the political landscape, but in general it seems that democrats are on the winning track according to Steven Shepard, an analyst for POLITICO. This is mostly because they have spun these stories as a growing radical conservative base to fire up their voters, but also they are projected to win simply due to how historically the president’s party has lost the midterm elections. Though, there are counterpoints to suggest the republicans might still be able to hold on. Some like Cameron Joseph, who writes in Talking Points Memo, believe voters see the Kavanaugh hearing and the treatment he received by the liberal democratic party to be an injustice and has actually rallied them.
But what’s most interesting about about this election is that through all the news stories, while Democrats maintain an edge, it’s much closer than expected. The fact that most professional analysts feel apprehensive to make broad claims. Even ones who lean towards other sides would suggest that this midterms is interesting and somewhat unique. Previous midterms have been rather boring events in terms of turnout, but with such a polarizing president, policymakers on both sides of the aisle are apprehensive of the ensuing results. Does America approve of the current administration or does it desire change?
As for what’s at stake in this election, some say the republicans will be even more emboldened to push their agendas if they win. For starters, Andrew Prokop who writes for Vox says the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare, will probably be cut, as it was short of just one vote last time, and they will also be able to put an end to ongoing investigations. On the other hand he also believes that a renewed democratic majority will make the democrats be more likely to push more investigations against Trump and the republicans. There is also perspectives that say a democrat win might make the session proceeding midterms to be perhaps the most polarized yet.
While much of the talk is on the national level, there is some interest in what will happen in the state legislatures during midterms. State legislatures have a much larger effect on midterms that some might think. State legislatures decide local politics, which might be much more impressionable to voters instead of large sweeping changes from the federal government. They’re also the ones who draw districting lines, which means through the process of gerrymandering they might set themselves up to win another election.
Even if the republicans win again, the time they have in limited. Trump’s term will be nearing its end, and if it shifts towards the democrats in the 2020 presidential elections, there will be a lame duck session where there’s a limited window to get something done, and thus would put pressure on the republicans into a now or never mentality.
Lastly, there is some concern that the midterms might get hacked by foreign actors or rigged. There even was a paper by a white hat hacker conference that shows almost half of all voting machines are susceptible, and some writers, like Adam Segal writing for the New York Times have come out to say that foreign powers have both the power and will to do such acts.
There is no doubt the midterms this year will determine more than the fate of our next two years. Midterms have always served as a giant presidential report card, and there has been a lot of factors coming into play in the past two months that might shake things up, but for now things seem stable. Feel free to see the current generic ballot poll here.