Winter is Coming: US Midterm Elections

William Li, Staff Writer

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With increasing division among party and ideological lines, many argue that the United States is as polarized as ever. Pressing social and political issues in the headlines signal the Midterm Elections on November 6th may mark a watershed in American policy.  The upcoming elections will contest all 435 seats in the House, 33 seats in the Senate, 39 state and territorial governorships, as well as numerous local offices.

President Donald J. Trump and his Republican held Congress have controlled the federal government for the past two years, yet recent opinion polls demonstrate declining support for the administration. As a result, many are predicting a “Blue Wave” in the upcoming elections when the Democrats seem positioned to take control of Congress. After all, the Democrats only need twenty-three seats in the House and two seats in the Senate to win a majority. However, others predict that the Democrats are overconfident, and Republican support will remain strong. It remains to be seen how the country will vote, especially since the 2016 Presidential Election showed us how unpredictable elections can be.

Nonetheless, signs point to a definitive increase in Democratic influence if not majority control. In the past, incumbent Presidents tend to lose seats at midterms, and this year looks no different. Indeed, in June, a poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal finds that, although the majority are satisfied with the US economy, a 25-point margin of voters stated that they are more likely to back anti-Trump congressional candidates. For these voters, the problem does not lie in our country’s economic policy, but in the overall direction that Trump has taken the country.

The major backlash takes the form of distaste for Trump being Trump. A Fox News poll in June indicated that 33% of Americans disapprove of Trump because he is “incapable,” “bad-tempered,” “racist,” or “corrupt.” In this regard, the continuing FBI investigation on Trump’s relations with Russia has done Trump no favors. The Republican party as a whole has similarly fallen out of favor. The Fox poll continues to find that more voters than not disagree with Republican policy on trade, immigration, and foreign relations. With the specter of a Chinese trade war, social polarization, an embattled nominee for the Supreme Court and North Korea looming over Republican America, Trump’s ‘Trumpiness’ may have finally caught up with him.

Howbeit, it would be foolish to ignore the other side of the spectrum. Although the US economy is not skyrocketing by any means, GDP growth has improved under Trump, and unemployment is at a nearly 17 year low. The country has certainly taken notice of our recent economic stability, and most voters are satisfied with Trump’s work on the economy. However, for many, Trump’s appeal comes not from the economy but from what he represents. Even two years into his presidency, the MAGA (Make America Great Again) “ideal” has resonated with various groups in society who felt marginalized by the previous status quo. In this way, Trump is seen as someone to shake things up and focus on America.  All things considered, this November, the Trump administration will finally get its report card, and recent polls look blue. (Get it? It’s a pun!)

If the national trend is Democratic, New Jersey is a mirror on America. The Republicans hold five of the twelve congressional seats in New Jersey, but the Democrats are looking to close out in Washington. The question then becomes how purple is New Jersey?

The North Jersey Record explains ‘not very purple.’ They predict a surge in Democratic support. Now, the Democrats under Phil Murphy already control the governor’s office and are looking to take back congressional seats as well. In fact, the Democrats are likely to win back two to four seats this November although, nothing is clear-cut, and every vote counts.

All in all, the Midterms represent an opportunity for our country to evaluate the performance of Washington and local government, and, for some Delbarton seniors, this is an opportunity to vote for the first time. Delbarton students always let their voices be heard, and current students have even gotten involved with congressional campaigns through our American Politics Club. We, as a school, although not entirely heterogeneous, have disparate people with diverse views, and I encourage everyone to express them.  Now more than ever, the voices of the youth matter. Especially at Delbarton, as bright, future leaders of America, we should watch these elections with a vigilant eye. We should learn how to fulfill our role as citizens. We should process information and make our own decisions on the issues.

At the end of the day, there might not be a Blue Wave or a Red one, but if Delbarton seniors embrace their civic duty, there will undoubtedly be a Green Wave at the booths!

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