First Year Comments on The Importance of Midterm Elections

By Jeremy Mauser || Contributing Writer 

Even if you don’t care about politics, you’ve probably heard about the “importance of the upcoming midterm elections” and an imminent “blue wave.” But what does that all mean? How does this affect us at F&M? And, most importantly, why should we care?

The midterms are elections that take place two years before or after every Presidential election. Currently, Republicans hold a slim majority over Democrats in the U.S. Senate. Their 51 seats over the Democrat’s 47 seats and 2 independent seats give them more power in Congress, but this has the potential to change in November.

However, most Americans don’t realize that the Democrats actually have the most to lose in this election season. According to Ballotpedia, Democrats are defending 25 seats while Republicans only have to defend 8—and 10 of these Democratic seats are in states that favored President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Election.

So what must happen for a “blue wave” to occur? The exact definition can vary depending on the year, but a wave election typically involves the minority party making significant gains against the party of the President. So even though the details are debatable, it is safe to say that a blue wave will have occurred if Republicans lose 7 U.S. Senate seats and 48 U.S. House of Representatives seats.

The Democratic Party has history on its side, as the President’s party traditionally performs poorly in the first midterm after his inauguration (just look at how the Senate turned red in 2010). But at the same time, the Democratic Party seems to do best when they’re not comfortable—their post-Bush efforts served them well in 2008, but their confidence in electing the first female President made them lose an election with a surprising result.

And who will be representing each party in the most important elections? Pennsylvania is a battleground for many crucial seats, from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, to State Governor, to over 200 State Senate/House of Representatives elections.

Incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey will be fighting for his third term against Republican Lou Barletta. Casey’s priorities include protecting small businesses and healthcare, while Barletta’s focuses are for cutting taxes and eliminating sanctuary cities.

Governor Tom Wolf is another incumbent Democrat whose position is at risk. He will face Republican Scott Wagner on November 6, promising to continue improving education within the state while Wagner hopes to trim Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate.

Both Casey and Wolf hold double-digit leads against their conservative competitors, according to Real Clear Politics, but the only poll that truly matters is the one that will take place on November 6.

First Year Jeremy Mauser is a contributing writer, his email is jmauser@fandm.edu 

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