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Midterm Observations and Predictions

Adam Aleksic, Editor-in-Chief

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The 2018 midterms could bear an enormous impact, no matter which way the scales tip. If the Republicans do favorably, President Trump will have a mandate to continue passing his policies and appointments without hindrance. If the Democrats win, we will end up in a political gridlock where Trump won’t have those opportunities. But what will happen? There are so many factors to consider, including America’s economic success under the Trump administration, the Kavanaugh hearings (which could backfire for either party), the future of the Supreme Court, and more.

Only a few months ago, pundits expressed with absolute confidence that the “blue wave” would cause the Democrats to take control of the Senate. Now, forecasting giant fivethirtyeight.com predicts that there’s only a 1 in 5 chance of that happening- and they’ve been known to skew liberally in the past. Moreover, of the 35 seats up for reelection, 26 are held by Democrats and there’s only one toss-up. Because of the sheer number of seats available for them, Republicans are actually more likely to make gains than the Democrats. Of course, even a 50-50 split would be a loss for the left, because Vice President Mike Pence would be able to break any ties. It doesn’t look good for the Dems.

The House of Representatives is more likely to gain a Democratic majority (there are 23 seats needed, and they’re currently projected to get 40) according to conventional sources. It’s quite common for this to happen halfway through a president’s term, but we must make sure to not underestimate the power of dissatisfied voters, as we learned from 2016. To me, it’s perfectly conceivable that, although the Dems will definitely make some gains, they might not be able to regain the House. In fact, I’m quite pessimistic about how things could turn out for them.

Locally, this could be a chance for Democrats to regain control of the New York State Senate (the Republicans have a majority due to the defection of Democrat Simcha Felder). Both of our senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, are expected to win, and Governor Cuomo will likely coast to victory. 20th congressional district representative Paul Tonko is considered a shoo-in for another term.

Particularly interesting is the race for New York’s 19th congressional district, which borders Albany. It’s one of the few true toss-ups of this election. Incumbent John Faso (R) is currently placed at 48% and challenger Antonio Delgado at 49%, but that’s well within a margin of error and there’s no way to be absolutely sure. We’ll have to keep our eyes on that; in the meanwhile the attack ads have been quite interesting to watch.

Whatever the outcome of the midterms, it will likely contribute to increased polarization and bitterness of American politics. The winning party will do everything to undermine the losers, from redistricting favorably to repealing previous policies. That’s no reason to get disillusioned, however. If you’re registered to vote, make sure to go out and do so, because your opinion matters and could have a national impact.

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