What’s at stake in the midterm elections?

46.1 percent of Americans age 18-29 voted in the 2016 presidential elections, according to the census government website. Younger voters are known for skipping the midterm elections, viewing them as unimportant. Typically Republicans vote more often in midterms, although hopefully opposition to Trump and concerns with Russia could swing it this time around. This year early vote count is showing that Republicans are more likely to vote early than Democrats and on average, 60 percent of voters show up for the presidential elections whereas merely 40 percent of those same voters turn up for midterms.

If this hasn’t already made you curious as to why voting these coming midterms is so important, let me break this down a little bit more for you. Midterm elections obviously happen in between every presidential election. Since congress is literally up for grabs at the moment, who takes congress will set the stage for the rest of President Trump’s term and for years to come. This election is being called a “Referendum on Donald Trump” because if the Democrats can secure congress it would insure that any Republican legislation would be dead on arrival and there would definitely be more investigations into corruption, Russia and Trump’s businesses.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that although I’ve voted every presidential election, absentee from overseas, since I turned 18, I haven’t voted every midterm election. During the Obama years I kind of just sat there going, everything is fine for another 4 years… but something I wasn’t paying attention to was the fact that the Republicans had the majority in the House of Representatives and Senate since 2010 and have slowly gained more control since. If we look back it becomes easier to see how someone like President Trump was actually elected. As someone that was completely shocked by the outcome of our last election, I, like many of you, realized it was time to start paying more attention.

So, how does this work? We know that Republicans are in control at the moment but if Democrats take control of either house, it could spark major changes. Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. House elections are 2 year terms so literally every seat is up for grabs. Republicans currently hold 246 seats while Democrats hold 193 and 6 are currently vacant. More than 40 Republicans aren’t running again including house speaker Paul Ryan. Flipping the house has only happened 3 times in 25 years so it is pretty rare. Our senate is comprised of 100 Senators, 2 from each state. Senate serves 6 year terms so elections are staggered every 2 years meaning 1/3 of the Senate is currently up for grabs (35 seats). The Senate is currently controlled by the Republicans by a tiny margin. 36 governorships are also up for grabs and we are seeing a historical amount of women running, mostly Democrats. As you can see, a lot is at stake in this election! But not only that, it’s an incredibly exciting time as well!

It is incredibly close and tight as far as predictions go. And if you remember 2 years ago as well as I do, I am paying even closer attention now and leaving nothing up to chance. Look, I get it, I have friends and family members that don’t vote because they feel that they aren’t educated enough on politics or the political process. That was a fine excuse before but it doesn’t work anymore. If you don’t know where you stand, there are basic online quizzes that can give you a start to point you in the direction of candidates that align with your beliefs. Check out this quiz here to get started! Once you know where you stand, identify the issues that you believe in the most and find candidates that share your beliefs and values. Voting is your right! And it’s time we stop leaving it in other people’s hands! Lets start the discussion and become an active member of society. Young people, please vote!

If you’re still not convinced let me remind you that whoever controls congress, controls the country. There are SO many things at stake in this election that surely ONE of them hits home for you! The big things up for debate include gun control, health care, environmental policy, infrastructure spending, immigration, voting rights, civil rights, LGBTQ+ rights, criminal justice reform, and student loan policy. Surely you believe strongly in AT LEAST one of these things, and if you don’t you ARE directly affected by multiple issues I just listed! AND if you’re still not convinced it’s time to do your research and vote on November 6th!

I know this article may seem a little bit bias, because it is. I think it’s clear to you where I stand but that’s not the point, the point is that you have the right to vote and I want EVERYONE to exercise their right! Even if you don’t stand on my side, stand up for anything! It might sound like I only want you to vote if you’re a young democrat but this is a call to ALL voters! If everyone votes then at least we know that majority of our population is being represented accurately. It’s time to stop bitching and it’s time to start voting. Do it.

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