Opinion | Harriton on the Midterm Elections

Opinion | Harriton on the Midterm Elections

In the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, all 435 seats in the House of. Representatives and 33 Senate seats are up for election. In Pennsylvania, one Senate seat, currently held by Bob Casey; and all 18 Representatives seats, of which 12 are currently held by Republicans and 6 by Democrats, are up for grabs.

Incumbent governor Tom Wolf is being challenged by Republican Scott Wagner. Traditionally, there has always been less interest and less voter turnout during midterm elections compared to presidential years, even though these elections decide this country’s political future for at least the next two years.

The blue wave Democrats hope for does not seem to be a uniform one. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh appears to have roused conservative voters. The Republicans’ control of the executive and legislative branches of government (and now the judicial) on the other hand, has fired up liberals for the nearly two years since President Donald Trump’s election.

It seems very likely that the Democrats will take over the House of Representatives. FiveThirtyEight predicts that they have about 80 percent chance of doing so, while Republicans have an 80 percent chance of holding onto the Senate.

If the Democrats retake the House, we could see more resistance to the Trump administration’s legislative agenda and the beginning of possible impeachment proceedings. If they take the Senate as well, Democrats could veto the President’s judicial and cabinet nominees. If Republicans keep both the House and Senate, Trump and the GOP would see a major boost for their political agenda.

According to a Banner survey of 215 Harriton students and staff, 86.9 percent say they believe that the midterm elections are important. However, far fewer were informed about the current candidates running. When asked if they were knowledgeable of state office elections such as the governorship and Pennsylvania representatives, 40 percent agreed.

Concerning U.S. Senators and Representatives seats, 36.3 percent and 27 percent agreed, respectively. Compared to the vast majority of Harriton that agree midterms are important, only half seem to know what is at stake.

According to the survey, about 40 percent of Harriton students 18 years or older (and thus eligible to vote) replied that they were not registered. Historically, the younger generation is not as interested in voting in either the presidential or midterm elections.

During the 2014 midterms, eligible voters aged 18 to 29 had a disappointing 17 percent turnout. This starts a persistent cycle of young people, many with the belief that their vote does matter, failing to vote, and then, politicians, seeing they cannot count on the youth vote, continue to act without concern for the interests of the youth.

This is not how American politics should work. An anonymous individual commented “In the end, a democracy only serves those who serve it first.”

However, a comforting 95.5 percent of Harriton’s teachers and staff are registered to vote. As Ms. Wilson-Harvey says, “Anyone who is not paying close attention to the elections of 2018 is not awake. Every American needs to vote!”