Everything You Need to Know for the Midterm Elections

from NYTs

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12 Responses to Everything You Need to Know for the Midterm Elections

  1. Abhimanyu Sood November 2, 2018 at 7:51 pm #

    By law federal elections are held nationwide on “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November”, so the first Tuesday that falls between November 2 and 8. States, counties, and smaller political subdivisions can theoretically decide to hold elections for non-federal offices whenever they want to, but they usually make it the same day as federal elections for convenience, even when it’s an odd year and no federal election is happening. Nationally the President is elected every four years. Members of the House of Representatives are elected every 2 years. Senators are elected every 6 years, and don’t really matter for the concept of a “Midterm Election”. A “Presidential Election”, which occurs in years evenly divisible by four (2000, 2004, etc.). Voter turnout is usually higher because more people care who the President is, and whichever party wins the presidency tends to fair better in the other contests. A Midterm Election occurs between presidential elections, two years before/after them (2002, 2006, etc.). The presidency isn’t at stake, so turnout is lower. Which party fairs better is usually taken as an indicator of whether people are happy or not with the sitting President. This year’s election is considered important because it may shift control of the House of Representatives and the Senate to the Democratic Party. Voter turnout is even lower in odd-numbered years when there is no federal election (2001, 2003, etc.). These are commonly called “Off-Year Elections” .They can be important in political strategy. According to research in Virginia they elect their governor to a four-year term the year after a presidential election (2001, 2005, etc.). Between 1977 and 2013 the elected governor is always in the opposite party of the president elected the year before, likely because the party that won the presidency feels less motivated to turn out, and vice-versa.

  2. Sydney Woodcock November 2, 2018 at 8:25 pm #

    I love that the New York Times created an interactive fact sheet explaining all the different parts of the midterm elections. This creates a much easier way for people to get their questions about these elections answered. On a side note, I love that this is written in a way that people will understand, rather than being a political jargon filled essay that is hard to read. A sentence included in this article was “voters are generally eligible for those little “I Voted” stickers, which tend to be crowd pleasers. This stood out to me because I remember the first time I voted I was incredibly excited not only to make an impact in that election, but to also get that little sticker. (On a side note, I actually didn’t get one because they ran out. It was incredibly disappointing.)

    It’s also interesting to see the section of this that talks about the role social media plays in these elections. Rationally, it makes sense that it has an incredibly large role due to the fact that many people from ages younger than 18 up to people’s grandparents and great-grandparents are on some form of social media. This allows politicians to get their message out to the world for free at the mere press of a button.

    I have a good feeling about the outcome of this election. It seems that more people, especially young ones, want their voices to be heard and recognize that the only way to truly do that is by electing people who share their views. Regardless of someone’s political views, I hope that if someone has the ability to vote on November 6th, they do. I know I’ve been talking to my family and peers about doing our civic duty and voting for what we believe in a lot in the wake of recent events. I only hope that other people feel the same way.

  3. Dominique Pina November 2, 2018 at 8:34 pm #

    I find this article very interesting. As I look through all of these facts I can’t help but wonder why they are writing this article. This is a result of the lasting impacts that our last election had on our country. Many platforms are pushing for everyone to vote, because to really make change within our country we have to reform politics fro the inside and vote for people who we can trust with these matters. I personally agree with this push for voting so we as a nation can actually have a say in what is happening politically. Forums such as the New York Times and Facebook are good ways to promote these messages and relay this information, because they are popular. As kids and young adults we are never actually taught how to vote. It may seem pretty obvious but there are actually more planning and steps that go into it than it seems. So for someone like myself that was not in my home state on election day, I did not automatically know how to go about casting my vote. They should teach young adults these things in high school, so by the time we can vote, we already know what to do. Beyond the actual methods of voting, they should teach young adults the importance of voting and what it means if you don’t. These are the things that this article is doing, they are answering questions that people want to know in a very convenient way. The simpleness of the article is helpful in reaching the main audience. In this case the main audience would be young adults, since they are a big part of the population who did not vote in the last main elections. Making the article in this simple style caters to young people who are drawn easily attainable information. For example, they would rather read a 280 character tweet than read a 10 page article. This need for quick information is part of the reason people don’t want t vote in the first place, they don’t know anything about the candidates. Since they don’t want to do the excessive research, they do not have any opinion outside of what other people tell them to think. There needs to be a shift in the society to have the need for this information, because without that, their vote is only an echo of someone else’s vote. This article will not change that, but it is a step in the right direction. If this article makes someone more interesting in voting and the voting process, then it has succeeded.

  4. Shaunak Rajurkar November 2, 2018 at 8:53 pm #

    This New York Times article provides a very comprehensive analysis of the upcoming midterm elections and touches on a few topics in particular that I found very intriguing.

    A consolidation of polls at Fivethirtyeight suggests that the House of Representatives will likely be taken by the Democrats, with an 87% chance of this occuring. Conversely, the Democrats only have a 15% chance of taking control of the Senate. From August until October, however, it appeared that the Democrats had a nearly 30% chance. This disparity was seemingly caused by a number of factors, but likely centered mostly around the momentum that Justice Brett Kavanaugh had just prior to his confirmation.

    Nevada and Arizona are the 2 states with the most voting ambiguity, where both the Red and Blue candidates have an even shot of winning. All Democratic and Republican candidates from these states already have congressional experience, and this has significantly tightened the race. Both of these states symbolize a new wave of the emergence of women in congress. The New York Times article states that “[a] record 257 women are running for seats in the House and Senate, and 235 women have won primaries in the house.” The overwhelming majority of the women running are representing the Democrats – if the future of politics is more gender neutral, our legislative bodies will swing strongly to the left.

    Another interesting point in the article touched on Facebook’s role in the upcoming election. In the Presidential Election of 2016, third party advertisers and artificial “fake news accounts” were ostensibly able to influence the decision of voters, and perhaps ultimately, the outcome of the election. Since the election, Facebook has only “vaguely apologized,” and has made minimal noise about what they will do to prevent a similar occurrence. Facebook has recently cited “outside attempts to influence the election,” yet has had little to say about their actions to combat this.

    Under Trump’s executive administration, it seems that voting in solidarity along party lines is crucial for congressmen and congresswomen. A large problem arises in this situation for voters, as we elect officials based on their personal characteristics and views on policy – this is completely drowned out when our officials are forced to vote solely based on their party affiliation. It is impossible to perfectly align a spectrum with a dichotomous binary.

  5. Abigail Johnson November 7, 2018 at 5:59 pm #

    The interactive article titled “Everything You Need to Know for the Midterm Elections”, was posted by the New York Times to inform people about what this election means, in hopes to help those who simply do not understand the politics behind the election, from not going out to vote at all. It is a way to explain why every vote matters and what can happen with the different outcomes. I think this article eloquently explains what the midterm election is, and why it is so important. The simple layout of this article is eye catching to younger audiences, as they hope that this will reach the newer voters to extend knowledge of why voting is so important. I think that a lot of people who are newly of age to vote do not know what exactly they are supposed to vote for, simply because they do not understand the differences between the candidates and what is at stake. Making this article simple also shows the reader that this cohesive process is a way for everyone to be able to speak their mind, through their representatives. The control in Congress has been in the Republicans hand for quite some times, and the Democrats are just in reach.
    The article brings up what is at stake, explaining how the US House of Representatives and, depending on how many Republicans and Democrats there are, makes Congress have 2 different views in overseeing Trump and his cabinet. Another excellent point brought up is what happens if the Democrats take the house, and what happens if the Republicans keep the house. If Democrats take the house, investigations will be pursued into Trump’s records in order to search for grounds of impeachment. And if the Republicans continue to have control over Congress, no further investigations will proceed past the allegations, but possible bring tax cuts to people, as well as trying to poke holds in the Affordable Care Act. The minimum number of House Reps we need Democratic is 23, and I think that it is extremely likely that the minimum will be met in the midterm election.
    It is also important to keep in mind which states have more power over others, as certain states have a larger population then others, therefore needing more House of Representatives. There are currently 30 states that have the upper-hand in Congress, with the most competitive races, as their decisions weigh more then those states who only have a single House of Representative. It is also a wonderful topic for the article to bring up the major increase of Women running in office, as this is usually uncommon. This year a record breaking number of women ran for House of Representatives and the Senate this fall, making it a record for the nation’s history in the amount of women winning House primaries. This is one of the many competitive races that women face, but this will continue to be an uphill battle for women invested in Politics. This is because Politics has been stereotypically in a man’s power, opposed to a woman’s power. However, each year more women continue to run and fight against their male political competitors, remaining poised throughout the entire election, no matter the turnout.

  6. Hannah Roselli November 8, 2018 at 10:02 am #

    I chose to do a blog on this article, because these past midterm elections were the first time I have ever voted. I have been registered to vote since I was 18, but I had never had an interest in politics, and I never thought my vote mattered. It was a past article I saw that was saying how if I do not vote, it doubles someone else’s vote. These articles are somewhat persuasive and motivating, and they gave me the mindset that my vote does matter, and that voting and supporting your country in every way is important.

    I also enjoyed that this article was interactive. It was interesting to read the question and try to answer it myself and then being able to reveal the correct answer. I also enjoyed reading about how social media can play a huge part in elections as well. Especially since younger people are on almost every social media platform it allows the candidates to reach out to them as well. So not only is there television advertisements, but there are pop-ups on Facebook, or the candidates post to Twitter. The reach they have is amazing, and then can really target voters of all ages.

    This article provided so much useful information about congress, and about the midterm elections. It also was not bias at all which I found important because I personally do not enjoy reading things that have a bias to one side. It was nice reading an open-minded article, and seeing the different answers to the different questions with no personal opinion involved. I enjoyed that it was strictly factual. Although some of the answers were in favor to the democrats, that is just due to the facts not the author’s opinion.

  7. Alexis Pateiro November 8, 2018 at 1:47 pm #

    This article was great, I loved how it was set up and how informative it was. Voting is so important and sometimes people lose sight of that. A lot of people have the misconception that the Presidential Election is the only one that matters. It is definitely not the case and the New York Times definitely shows that by their break down of the midterm elections. These elections determine mostly the Senate and the House of Representatives who if they a majority agree on something have a bigger affect then the President. In the article it shows you how much control this election has, it breaks down the difference between if the Democrats take the House and what happens if the Republicans keep the House. If the Democrats take over the House, there will be investigations on our current President (Trump) and maybe even impeachment proceeding which is a big deal. If the Republicans keep the House, there is a chance of them cutting tax and maybe repealing the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, by comparing the possible outcomes you can see how important this election is.
    I also like that the broke this article up into sections making it easier to read. This allows people to look at the questions they may have about the Midterm Elections and see a direct answer. Another interesting part about this article is that the New York Times are not making this all about the politics they are making sure people know what to do in order to vote. It is made to inform people not to persuade them to vote for a certain party. I also like how they raise awareness about voting and tell the truth about the polls and the safety of your vote. Overall, I think that this article is very informative in all aspects of voting and not just about politics it helps people who do not know what it is have a clear understanding.

  8. Vincent A November 8, 2018 at 8:25 pm #

    This article may not say this directly, but it shows how much encouragement there is out there to vote. Considering its Midterm Elections time, there have been many articles concerning it. This article literally gives the reader every possible detail there is about this Midterm Election. It even has covers what is at stake. This is so important because so many Americans don’t really know, or care to know, what is going on or how important is. Any possible question a voter may have; this article has the answer for it. This article makes it so that there is no excuse to not vote.
    This makes it so easy for readers to understand what is going on because the questions are so relatable, the answers are easily accessible, and its overall very simple to understand for someone who isn’t into politics, or simply doesn’t find interest in any of it. But, every single individual’s vote is important so its refreshing to see this New York Times article providing important details about the Midterm Election to the public.

  9. Cassie Sibilski November 9, 2018 at 4:31 pm #

    With the midterm elections having just passed, there has obviously been a lot of political talk going on lately. This has been accompanied by the endless political commercials on tv that often basically turn into one politician speaking badly of their opponent, and vice versa. Seeing all of these commercials and advertisements has really made me realize how badly the American population needs to keep themselves informed on the political candidates before any type of election. In commercials and the media, the story they tell is constantly changing, and it’s up to the people to do some investigating into all of the information that is presented about various candidates pre elections. It’s important to do some background reading on your own in addition to just watching news updates, to make sure you always have the full story and that you are completely well informed on what’s going on. Of course, the public does not always know everything, but I think it’s important to try to know as much as we can. This brings me to the point of how important people’s votes are. You want to make sure your vote is heard, so I think whenever you have the chance you should vote in various elections. So many people end up not voting which is why it’s very important that a lot of people do. And it’s important that the ones voting are well informed. This is especially true of people in their 20s that are voting, the new voters. We are the future of America and we need to start taking control of that.

  10. Petar Micevski November 9, 2018 at 6:50 pm #

    It was amazing to see the Midterms Elections occur live. Originally, I am not a very political person and do not usually like to share my opinion. Come election time, it was interesting to see the events that we talked about in the original TID start to come true. Through the fear of polarization for the GOP, we were able to see the checks and balances through the House of Representatives. What occurred was that since the judicial branch, executive branch, and soon to be the judicial branch were Republican, the people saw that they needed to do something and decided to utilize their power to vote in order to keep the efficient gridlock in place. However, my concern about situations like this is that people are more worried about the outcome rather than the actual facts that go into the mini-election.
    Before people decide to vote, they should always look at both sides of the argument and only then formulate their opinion. What the wrong thing to do is vote Democrat simply because they are a democrat and also vote Republican solely because somebody is republican. Our generation does not have the drive that previous generations had when it comes to voting. I think that part of this reason is that growing up, our generation had it easier than the other ones because we grew up in a time where the beginning of technological innovation was huge. As we got more accustomed to our technology, life was easier, and there were no critical issues we had to face. Now, some people think that with the election of Trump, we must answer difficult questions. However, we are not educated on the matter so we hesitate to vote. Personally, I believe that voting is a very important aspect of American life and we should not let biases or previous remarks let you encourage your opinion beforehand. The best way to vote would be to investigate yourself using credible sources (both democrat and republican ones) and only then decide your personal opinion on the matter. When some people listen to the noise, their opinion becomes noise, and then we are left with extremely biased political stances; stances where one cannot see the other side. This creates a problem for me because as somebody who likes to see and discuss the other side, some people get so clouded up with biased information that you cannot have a civil discussion with them.
    The best thing to do is collect your information, face the facts, state your opinion, and change the world.

  11. Nicholas Stefanelli November 16, 2018 at 8:14 pm #

    What is a midterm? I know that the midterm election has passed but I want to comment more on the aspect of what it is and the website that linked in this post. Midterm elections affect all policies at both the state and local levels. That is because, for any new laws to be passed, it must first be passed by a simple majority of the House of Representatives which the need 218 of 435 seats. Then after that again by a simple 51 out of 100 majorities in the Senate. This is important because the party controlling both the Senate and the House will be able to set the political tone of laws for the next two years. In addition, the majority party in the Senate influences the country’s judicial system. For example, as we saw not, that far back, the U.S. president generally nominates candidates to the Supreme Court. The Senate, however, must also confirm these candidates, so if the Senate is controlled favorably by the same stance as the president then it is always going to go the president’s way. This is why this website exists though. It is one of the most informative websites I have ever seen about politics. It allows all people to become comfortable about voting. This is why there is no excuse for people to not vote. If there is a website that breaks all the information down for you to fully understand what you need to know then you should be at the polls during Election Day. Everyone’s vote is important and it allows you to express your voice and rights. I was lucky enough to vote during the 2016 elections and ever since that day no matter how small the election is I have gone and voted.

  12. Jonathan Rodrigues November 17, 2018 at 5:33 pm #

    The election has come and gone. The House belongs to the Democrats. The Republicans have bolstered their Senate majority despite losing the majority of Senate races, and have added to their gubernatorial lead. This is a tough one to wrap a bow on. I think a lot of people expected the narrative to fit under “Blue-Wave/Trump rebuke” or “Stunning Republican victory” but it’s not that simple.
    Maybe the lesson here is that it never is. It is always more complicated than the headline you read in the newspaper the next day – and even when an election is that decisive, there’s much more value to extract when you start digging below the surface – among the questions one would have to ask in order to wrap their head around the night are: what drove voters to the polls? Was it a referendum vote on Trump, were there Democrats that tapped into something deeper and churned out voters from a different kind of excitement? Does anyone enter their new positions with a “mandate?” If so, who, and what is the benchmark for that? I’d tend to think the answer is yes, but the mandates are very black-and-white: support Trump or oppose him.
    Will this impact the way Trump tries to govern? Maybe a little bit, we already saw the next day resignation/firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions; I think the consensus here was that this was inevitable but for it to happen so soon can be read as an attempt to prevent Robert Mueller from following his investigation to any perceivable end by starving it of funds (the acting AG is Matt Whitaker, who has already been quoted floating this idea as the most plausible end to the investigation.) But other than that, I don’t know. Maybe the government will be slightly more gridlocked. Maybe Trump will govern only through court appointments, Executive Orders, leaving treaties and agreements, and tweeting. But you could make a strong case that that’s been the case for the past two years.
    Is it a blue wave? This is tough because one could define a “wave” differently. In the past, a house gain of 20 or more seats has earned the moniker. Couple that with the 7+% popular vote win and it definitely looks like it fits the bill. I tend to agree. I think the slow start to the night changed the narrative – and the saving grace could have been a Beto victory – once initial expectations were tempered, there wasn’t as much excitement as there was nervous anticipation from Democrats who were waiting for a night of big victories.
    The reality of the situation though, was that the map was really tough for Democrats. Congregation into urban areas (leaving Democratic representation scarce in more rural places) and gerrymandering made the House victory tougher than it could have been. The Senate map was extraordinarily difficult in terms of winning back control, but they actually won a majority of contested seats in addition to picking up seven states in gubernatorial races.
    Interpret that as you will but it was a good if imperfect night for Democrats. Hopefully, you are satisfied with the midterms results, but not satisfied enough to not try to do better next time.

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