Amid scandal and strife, a divided America heads into midterm elections. As Democrats seek to regain control over the House, Republicans have the potential to control the house, senate, presidency and supreme court following the elections. All seats of the House are up for grabs, along with 35 senate seats and 36 governor positions. The election has the potential to significantly alter the current political landscape in the U.S.
Due to the divisive nature of the upcoming elections, voter turnout is expected to reach record highs, with some 34 million early votes already cast. This would be a significant departure from the 2014 elections which saw the lowest voter turnout since World War 2, which many believe resulted from dissatisfaction with both candidates.
Both parties have been campaigning hard, with Trump and former president Barack Obama releasing videos and rallying supporters to hit the polls. Former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders also released a video on social media platforms which emphasized the landmark importance of the election, and encouraged his supporters to cast their ballots.
— ATTN: (@attn) November 1, 2018
While on the campaign trail, President Trump highlighted the stark division in the elections: “The contrast in this election could not be more clear”. Rhetoric has becoming increasingly sharp, and political debates have become loaded with personal invective, particularly when it comes to social issues such as LGBTQ issues and issues related to race.
One of the starkest issues at play in Tuesday’s elections will be immigration. While caravans of migrants from central America head toward the U.S. border, president Trump has ordered a military detachment of 5000 troops to handle the situation upon their arrival, stirring strong reactions from both sides of the immigration issue. While campaigning, Trump even claimed that the democrats intended to “erase America’s borders”.
Trump also scolded the democrats for mobilizing tragedies, such as the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, for their political aims. The democrats in turn claim that Trump’s “hateful” rhetoric and policies have created an “atmosphere of violence” which provoked the attack, and others like it.
So funny to see the CNN Fake Suppression Polls and false rhetoric. Watch for real results Tuesday. We are lucky CNN’s ratings are so low. Don’t fall for the Suppression Game. Go out & VOTE. Remember, we now have perhaps the greatest Economy (JOBS) in the history of our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2018
The elections are also taking place against the background of the attempted bombing of numerous liberal figures by a disgruntled Trump supporter via pipe-bombs sent through the U.S. mail service. These issues of public violence are closely related to the issue of gun control, which some 70% of voters noted as “very important” in regards to their vote, according to the PEW research center.
In terms of foreign policy, many are worried that the trade war Trump has initiated with China will cause financial blowback for everyday Americans, while others are in favor of Trump’s hardline attitude toward America’s competitor.
However, data shows that the single most important issue for voters in the upcoming midterm election is Trump’s appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the supreme court. While democrats claim the matter is an issue of sexual violence, Republicans see it as a last ditch effort by the Democrats to retain some control over the government.
Regardless of the outcome of the elections, we can be sure that it will take a lot more than a changing of the guard to significantly alter what has become a deeply fractured society. While campaign rhetoric has intensified, it is only an honest reflection of a society at daggers drawn.