Resources for Teachers and Students
FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 05, 2018
Nationwide decision day: Congressional, state and local elections are Tuesday
Find news about a race in your state or area and tell why it matters.
Share a quote from a politics editorial or column. Explain why you pick it.
What would a state or local ballot proposal change if approved Tuesday?
Voters on Tuesday deliver a verdict on the first half of President Trump's term. Republicans brace for losses of seats in the U.S. House and state capitals, but hope to hold or gain senators in states where Trump is popular. Republicans now have a 23-seat majority in the House of Representatives, and campaign strategists in both parties generally believe Democrats are on track to pick up about 35 seats. The majority party chairs committees, determines what bills get voted on and who controls hearings to receive testimony about potential legislation.
It's called a midterm election because it comes in the middle of a four-year presidential term and is considered a test of voters' satisfaction with the agenda of whoever is in office, as well as that person's party. A sizable loss of Republican seats in Congress would be seen as a rejection of this president's policies and combative tone. "The character of our country is on the ballot Tuesday," past President Barack Obama told an Atlanta rally Sunday. Two journalists, Matt Viser and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post, write: "Tuesday will demonstrate whether Trump can mobilize his army of backers . . . to vote for other Republicans when his name is not atop the ballot."
It’s possible – and likely, in the view of numerous political specialists – that the House flips from a Republican majority now to a Democratic one for the next two years. For that reason and others, interest is higher than usual in a non-presidential election. Far more people than usual took advantage of early voting options via absentee ballots or where in-person voting is allowed before Tuesday. History already is made as more than 250 women run for U.S. House and Senate seats -- the most ever. Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis and Rashida Tlaib of Detroit are poised to be the first Muslim women elected to Congress. (Tlaib is unopposed and Omar is overwhelmingly ahead in polls.)
The registration rate among citizens aged 18 to 28 is up this year, and a recent Harvard University study predicts that 40 percent of eligible voters in that age group are expected to cast ballots. That would be the highest turnout by young voters in 19 years. "The bravery and activism of the Parkland [Florida] kids ignited their peers across the country," says Republican pollster Christine Mattews, "and these newly minted 18-year-old voters are motivated." In North Carolina, voters under 25 represented around 30 percent of new registrations in the first two months of 2018. In March and April, the age group's share of new signups was near 40 percent in that state.
Republican congressman says: "The nation is in political turmoil. The economy is roaring, but the mood is so sour. It's a very sad time in this country." – Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, running for re-election
Scholar says: "Young people have a pretty bad reputation when it comes to turning out reliably in high numbers, especially in the midterms." -- Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
Nonpartisan organizer says: "We're not solving the gender discrepancy in government this election cycle. There are going to be some great wins and are going to be some devastating losses." -- Erin Loos Cutraro, founder of She Should Run, a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C.
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