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The Midterms of 2018

Which party will get control?

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On November 6th, 2018, voters across the country will go to the polls to help decide which party will control Congress.

On the House side, all 435 Representatives are up for re-election, leading to a wide opening for Democrats to possibly take back the House for the first time in 8 years. In order for Democrats to take back the House, they need to win 24 seats. On average, the party out of Presidential power wins 35 House seats in their first midterms. Democrats are hoping that this trend, combined with an energized base and a series of Republican retirements, will put them over the edge and help them win back the Speaker’s gavel.

 

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Party breakdown of the House elections (Credit: CNN)

On the Senate side, the road to Democratic control is much more of an uphill battle. This is due to the fact that the Senators up for re-election this year were elected in 2012, the year of President Obama’s re-election. In 2012, with increased Democratic turnout, Senators were able to win in states that have generally trended red, including Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Indiana and Ohio.

This means that, this year, the Democrats are defending 26 Senate seats — including 10 in states won by Trump — while Republicans are defending only 8 seats.

Despite the challenges, Democrats still have a glimmer of hope for retaking the Senate, due to the surprising upset in the Alabama special election earlier this year. Now Democrats are only two seats away from taking back the Senate — if they are able to keep all their other seats. Democrats’ main hope for picking up seats are in Arizona and Nevada, two states that have become more like swing states over the past few years.

Another race that Democrats are watching with cautious optimism is the Senate race in Texas, where a young Congressman, Beto O’Rourke, is running against incumbent Senator Ted Cruz. Although a Democrat winning in Texas is highly improbable, O’Rourke has been doing surprisingly well and has out-raised Cruz in the last quarter.

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Senate Races Map (Washington Post)

These races are also important for kids in Rye, because many current seniors and juniors will be eligible to vote this year. It is important to plan ahead with registering to vote, because the process in New York must be completed at least 25 days before the election. Anyone can register to vote, as long as they are turning 18 before the end of that calendar year (although you must have turned 18 by election day to vote). Students who will be in college out of state next year can choose to register in Rye and use an absentee ballot or register in the state in which they are going to school. Students who choose to vote in another state should check the registration procedure in their respective state, and people in New York should go to this website https://www.dmv.org/ny-new-york/voter-registration.php

Junior Maggie Elsen, who turns 18  a few weeks after election day this year, said, “I’m sad I miss the cutoff for voting, but I’m still super excited to register this year.”

Voting is one of our most important civic duties. No matter who you support, it is vital that everyone, especially young people, vote in every election. There are people around the world who dream of the chance to live in a nation where everyone is allowed to cast their vote and pick their leaders. As a part of our civic duty and as an honor to all those who have stood up for freedom, we must all exercise our all-important right: voting.

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The student news site of Rye High School in Rye, New York
The Midterms of 2018