Why the 2018 midterm election is crucial

Illustration by Lizzy Cox
Illustration by Lizzy Cox

With the 2018 Midterm election right around the corner, those working on Democratic campaigns are faced with the same question: will liberal voters turn out to vote for the Democratic candidates?

Though Democrats run aggressive campaigns, their biggest downfall has historically been voter turnout. The New York Times’ David Leonhardt wrote on this issue in an Op-Ed piece comparing liberal voters to conservatives. He claimed “if liberals voted at the same rate as conservatives, Hillary Clinton would be president.”

This begs the question “why don’t liberals vote in midterm elections?” The Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein points out although minorities and millennials are historically the groups with the lowest voter turnout, they have also been the groups showing the greatest opposition to Trump’s agenda. Brownstein says funding for Planned Parenthood, the climate-change agenda and barring refugees are all critical issues that “face preponderant Millennial opposition.” This is why Brownstein and other left-leaning journalists and political analysts are hopeful for increased turnout from Millennials in the 2018 election.

Democrats would have to gain three seats in order to gain control of the Senate; the Republicans would have to gain eight seats to be filibuster-proof. This is at the crux of this election and makes it crucial for the President’s politics and his opposers.

If recent events are any indication, it’s clear a somewhat “gridlocked Congress” is not helping the country move forward in legislation. At the same time, Democrats would argue this gridlock, however stressful, is the only way to keep President Trump’s hyper-conservative agenda from furthering. This election could determine whether the gridlock is broken in favor of Democrats or Republicans, and by extension in favor of the president or not.

During his speech at a campaign rally for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, President Obama implored Democrats to vote. He urged against a reductive thought process that your vote doesn’t count or is not important.

“We can recognize that even if our past is not perfect, we can honor the constitutional ideas that have allowed us to come this far, and to keep moving toward a more perfect union,” Obama said.

College-educated voters at VCU, a key voting demographic of the Democratic Party, mirror the importance of this midterm election. Many VCU students have been active on campus with efforts for the Northam campaign and by making sure fellow students are registered to vote on time. The final battle is for students to implore each other to get out and vote on Nov. 7.

Voting is one of the core constitutional ideas that fuels every imperfect democracy. It is your right and your responsibility to get out and vote and make sure your voice is heard.

Sriteja Yedhara, Staff Columnist 

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