On Nov. 6, Americans will elect officials to the House of Representatives, Senate, governorships and local positions in the 2018 midterm elections. Many political figures and media outlets consider this year’s races to be critical for how the American government will look and operate in the future, this year in particular the energy is higher in comparison to other midterms.
To reverse Republican party control in the House of Representatives, Democrats need to flip 23 seats. In the Senate, they only need to win two out of 35 races. This may potentially change the political climate in Washington, especially with a Republican president in office.
The New York Times considers 70 House of Representatives seats to be “highly competitive.” This includes Illinois’ sixth Congressional district, where Wheaton College is located. This year, Democrat Sean Casten has challenged incumbent Republican Peter Roskam in one of the nation’s most disputed congressional races.
The most recent poll from the New York Times and the Siena Research Institute predicts a Casten victory, but only by two percentage points and a 4.7 margin of error. In early September, the same group using a similar sample, size predicted Roskam would win by just one point. Though the race is currently leaning Democratic, the seat is not secure for either party.
As the election approaches, Wheaton political science faculty have taken particular interest in the Roskam vs. Casten race. Dr. Amy Black noted that the race has changed from “too close to call” to “leans Democratic” in recent articles and polls. “The momentum seems to be moving in Casten’s favor,” Black said. She predicts that many late voters will choose to vote against the incumbent.
“Since voters typically know the person currently in office, those who are still ambivalent at the end are likely showing a tendency to choose the new alternative.” Dr. Bryan McGraw voiced his view that the midterm election was still too close to call: “I honestly don’t know,” he said. “I suspect it will come down to a relatively small number of votes, maybe less than 500, and it’s impossible to tell at that small of a margin.” While McGraw still sees the race as too close to call, he agrees that this race marks a change in Wheaton’s congressional district. “Regardless of who wins, it’s clear that the district is trending more centrist, which will have a constraining effect on the representative.
And which means we will probably see competitive elections here for the foreseeable future.” Some Wheaton students, like senior political science major Emma Wen, will be voting for the first time in this year’s midterm election. “I believe strongly in fulfilling one’s civic duty to vote — it is a privilege and right which should not be taken lightly,” she said. Wen Upcoming midterm election sparks conversation on campus expects this year’s election to have a significant impact on the country as a whole: “I think the ultimate outcome of these midterms will be the decisive approval or disapproval of President Trump and the Republican Party by voters.”
No matter the outcome of the 2018 midterm election, politicians and political pundits seem certain that it will have major effects on the country’s policies.