The Midterm Elections: Trump’s Report Card

While many students at Wheatley will be celebrating a day off on November 6th, the voting public will be heading to the polls to vote in the midterm elections.  While the midterms are not typically a galvanizing event, this year there is a lot at stake. With 35 seats in Senate, 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 36 governor positions, and a myriad of other state legislature seats being contested, Trump’s presidency may be greatly impacted by this year’s elections.

But why is there so much at stake this year?  The midterms generally reflect on the public’s view of the current administration.  Thus, in November, if citizens vote Republican, it means the American people are generally happy with the current administration and want more from it.  On the other hand, if Democratic candidates are elected, it means people want change. Due to the Red Wall, Republican control of both the House and the Senate, Trump’s agenda has much support on Capitol Hill and may proceed more rapidly.  However, this year, Democrats are looking towards the possibility of a Blue Wave, Democratic control of both the House and Senate, due to Trump’s approval rating, which recently was as low as 36%, according to CNN. With Dems fighting against Trump’s interests, if they get a majority of either the House or the Senate, any Republican legislation could be denied as soon as it makes it to the Hill.  In Trump’s words, “You’re one election away from losing everything that you’ve got.”

It is very possible for Democrats to obtain a majority, despite the fact that a flipping of the House has only occurred three times in the last 25 years.  All three of those elections had five commonalities: a low presidential approval rating, a strong opposition to the administration in power, success in special elections, a significant number of retirements, and a poor economy.  While the economy currently is thriving, all of other the factors are present in today’s political landscape. Tom Malloy, a researcher from Quinnipiac University, explains, “The economy booms, but President Donald Trump’s numbers are a bust.”  Trump has the lowest approval rating of any modern president; progressive movements such as the Women’s March are prevalent; Democrats have won numerous special elections; and over 40 Republican representatives are not seeking re-election, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.  

In order to regain the House, Democrats will have to win enough seats to get to the 218 majority, where they currently have 193 with 6 vacancies.  The odds are close to 70% for the Democrats according to CNBC, as there are over 30 races that are considered tossups, such as California’s 49th district, New York’s 19th district, and Iowa’s 1st district.  However, the Blue Wave has poor chances in the Senate; of the 35 seats that are up for reelection, Democrats have to defend 26 of them while Republicans only have to look after nine. Thus, in order to control the Senate, Dems will have to protect all their seats and gain two extra for a 51 seat majority.

While the Midterms are a reflection of Trump’s administration, the candidates themselves show the progress this country has made.  For example, no matter the outcome in the Arizona senate race, the state will have their first woman senator, as both the Democratic and Republican candidates are female.  This is in addition to 13 women winning the House primaries and 19 winning the Senate primaries. However, the trend does not stop at gender. According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, two “out” candidates have won Senate primaries and 21 have won House primaries.  As a result, no matter what one’s political beliefs may be, these midterms will be historic.

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