Midterm elections — the elections that happen between presidential elections — deserve your attention. Arkansas elects its governor each midterm election, along with 35 other states. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and more than half of the seats in the Senate are up for election during midterm years. The majority of the federal and state elections happen during midterm years as well.
Voter turnout has been about 15-20 percent lower during midterm elections compared to presidential elections since 1948, according to a Pew Research study in 2014. Even though many voter-eligible Americans are not interested enough to get to the polls, midterm elections hold just as much importance as presidential election years — this year more than ever.
My motivation to vote in the most recent midterm primary elections came from my desire to keep Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s opponent from receiving the Republican nomination. Since then, I have kept up with the midterm election news cycle and the implications of this year’s elections.
The Republican Party currently holds a majority in both the House and Senate. But many news organizations have been predicting a “blue wave” coming for the House and Senate, which would shift the power in Congress from Republicans to Democrats. Although it is still debated whether this prediction will prove to be true, Democrats have shown strong polling and fundraising in several key races. So, whatever your political leanings, this is a consequential election cycle that needs your vote — it will have a strong impact for the rest of the current presidential term, and possibly longer.
Many of the pieces of legislation that have passed during the Trump Administration may not have even been possible without the current Republican-led congress. If Congress has a change in leadership, future nominations to important offices such as the Supreme Court could have very different outcomes.
I would argue having both parties in power would be a positive thing. It would force legislators to reach across the aisle and compromise, which could help bridge the polarizing divide in American culture and politics. So whatever your political ideology, get out and vote on Nov. 6th!