Outside the School #3 – the 2018 Midterm Elections

As part of this year’s Editors’ column, “Inside Out,” Reena Mathews makes her tri-weekly contribution with coverage of some of the biggest headlines.


This past Tuesday, on Nov 6, citizens across the country streamed to their local voting stations to fulfill their civic duty in the 2018 Midterms Election.

Nationally, 35 seats in the U.S. Senate and all 435 seats in the U.S. House were to be voted on.

Thirty-six states also held gubernatorial races. The prospect of some states redrawing their congressional districts in 2022 has heightened the stakes of the gubernatorial races, as the governors elected this year will hold veto power of those redrawn districts.

States’ Attorneys Generals were also being voted on; while often overlooked, the AG races have become increasingly more important in our polarized, bipartisan political landscape as AGs have become notorious for filing often bipartisan lawsuits against acting presidents.

And of course, a variety of other state and local positions and issues found their way to ballots across the country

The Blue Wave

As election season enveloped the country, rumbles of the “Blue Wave” were heard across the nation. In short, the Blue Wave referred to the predicted Democratic overtaking of Congress, as before the election Republicans held power in the White House, House of Representatives, and Senate. Often the party not holding power in the White House wins back some seats in the Midterms— especially when the president’s approval rating is below 50%. Thus, liberals were eager to vote a blue majority into the House and Senate.

So did the Blue Wave pan out?

Well, not as well as most Democrats probably hoped.

The most significant victory for Democrats occurred in the House. Before the election, Republicans held 235 seats to the Democrats’ 193. Now in the aftermath of the election, Democrats have snagged 225 seats to the Republicans’ 197.

However, in the Senate, Republicans clung on to their majority; they currently hold 51 seats to the Democrats’ 46.

On the whole, 317 districts across the country swung left, with 30 of those districts actually flipping from red to blue. Was it a staggering victory for the left? No, but the House win is significant and will impede the Trump administration in its formerly smooth-sailing work with Congress. A majority in the House gives Democrats subpoena power, though their failure to take the Senate means they still can’t block any of Trump’s nominees for Supreme Court, Cabinet, etc.


Michigan specifically had several interesting outcomes. First and foremost, Gretchen Whitmer is now our newly elected governor— and she’s a graduate of Forest Hills Central HS.

Michigan also voted in Democratic Secretary of State, Attorney General, and U.S. Senator. As for the House, the fourteen seats went 50/50 between the two parties. On the state level, Democrats retained power in the Senate and House.

The spotlight in Michigan was arguably hogged, however, by the approval of the first of three propositions. Michigan voted in favor of the proposition’s initiative to regulate recreational marijuana like alcohol; thus, recreational marijuana will be officially legal around early December and available commercially around 2020 once regulations and licenses are approved.

And, locally, the FHPS bond proposal was approved!

Other notable states: Texas, Georgia

Texas and Georgia are two of the states that have most strongly captured the nation’s attention— Texas for its U.S. Senate race and Georgia for its gubernatorial race.

Two years ago, Beto O’Rourke was a little-known congressman when he announced he’d be taking on Ted Cruz in Texas’s U.S. Senate race. This was seen as an absurd, impossible mission; Texas is a deep red state, and they have voted Republican in every U.S. Senate, presidential, and gubernatorial race since 1994. Nevertheless, Beto led a historically successful Democratic campaign. Though he lost, he defied odds in leading a very close race, only losing by about 220,000 of 8.3 million votes.

Over in Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams was also hoping for a victory over Republican Brian Kemp in another deep red state to become America’s first female African-American governor. Abrams led another historically close Democratic campaign, but when votes were tallied, she just barely lost to Kemp. However, she has still refused to concede, despite mounting pressure. This is because as Secretary of State, Kemp oversees Georgia’s elections.

He only stepped down two days before his own election, but many believed the damage had already been done by then. He disenfranchised thousands via “exact match” protocol; shut down 214 voting polls, mainly in areas with high poverty rates and large populations of people of color; days after the voter registration deadline passed, 53,000 applications were still pending, 70% of which were black Georgians; there were extremely long lines, many in areas of high minority population, because of too few voting machines provided— the list goes on. Thus, Abrams stands strong, and a governor has yet to be officially elected.

Historic firsts:

The Midterms rang in a myriad of historic victories and firsts for representation of all Americans.

For starters, there was a record number of women elected to Congress. At least 128 women will be entering Congress, smashing the former record of 112. Tennesse elected their first female senator, South Dakota and Maine elected their first female governors, and Arizona elected their first female senator. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the first Democratic Latina governor. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York became the youngest women to be elected to Congress at just 29-years-old. Just a few months older, Abby Finkenauer of Iowa was also elected to Congress. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota became the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Ayanna Pressley and Jahana Hayes became the first black congresswomen from their respective states of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar became the first Latinx women congresswomen of Texas. Chris Pappas became the first openly-gay congressman of New Hampshire.

The list of firsts goes on, but the 2018 Midterms certainly mark America’s most progressive and inclusive election to date.