A Brief Breakdown of the 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections

Midterm elections in the United States have been occurring for years, but this year’s recent midterm elections stand isolated. According to the New York Times, this year’s candidates are among the most diverse group to run in the United States’ history.

These 411 individuals included women, people of color, and LGBT candidates who ran for House, Senate, and governor positions. The New York Times reported that 272 of the 964 candidates running were women; 216 are black, Latino, Asian, Native American, or multiracial; and 26 identify on the LGBTQ spectrum.

Some believe the lowest statistic of white men running in the U.S.’s history at 58% is a response of protest towards the Trump Administration, ensuring their voices are heard. This immense diversity will likely impact representation in the political sphere, yet its effect on the “overall composition of the House, Senate, and governorships” will be minimal.

During a campaign stop this summer, Ayanna Pressley, candidate for Massachusetts’s representative, said, “Listen, I’m not saying vote for me because I’m a black woman, but I won’t pretend representation doesn’t matter. It matters.” With a third of the nation’s population being white men, the 69% of white men who are governors and members of Congress does not add up.

The elections resulted in Republican control over the Senate with a 53-47 advantage. However, Democrats won the House with 234-200. Additionally, the Governor results favored Republicans with a 27-23 win.

Texas had a particularly interesting race with the battle between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke for Senate. Cruz, the Republican candidate, beat O’Rourke with 51.3%. As Texas is a Red State, the close margin was a shocking result.

These midterms included not only a group of diverse contenders, but also the election of actual firsts. Many historical firsts occurred with the first Native American and Muslim congresswomen, the first lesbian mom in Congress, and the first openly gay man as governor, according to National Public Radio.

These changes were able to take place because of the significant increase in voting among Americans. A substantial emphasis was put on voting this year, especially directed towards the youth through Instagram posts and tweets from celebrities. According to estimates by the New York Times, “approximately 114 million votes were cast in U.S. House races in 2018, compared to 83 million in 2014.”

This shift in the political sphere has embodied the true ideals of democracy, allowing for a move towards everyone’s voice being heard through representation.

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