After the midterm elections Springfield College students and faculty react to the results

By The Springfield Student Staff

On Tuesday November 7, voting occured nationwide for the 2018 midterm elections. In Massachusetts, Republican candidate Charlie Baker was re-elected as governor. Democrat Elizabeth Warren received an overwhelming majority of votes to remain the state’s representative in the Senate.

On a larger scale, the Democratic party took the House and Republicans kept the Senate. A record number of women were voted into Congress and the House of Representatives saw an increase in diversity of appointees.

The Springfield College community weighed in on these changes:

Jessica Sylvester –  Senior, Education major  

“I’m pretty happy about it. I think – at least the Democrats won something and it’s not all Republican controlled. With all the things that have been going on it’s about time [the Democrats now] have a little bit of a part in it. It could have been better but I’m not upset with it.”

“I’m super excited. I know the whole Brett Kavanaugh thing went on… I’m really happy that a lot of women got into [Congress] and they are hopefully going to do some great things. I think it’s a turning point.”

“I’m very happy with it. Because I think with all the older people that were in it I thought it was kind of stuck in their ways – kind of ‘what used to be and what has been.’ I think with the younger crowd now it’s going to be more relevant to us now, since we’re the future and we’re coming up. We’re going to be graduating and buying houses soon – we have so much going for us [with the House]. Having younger people in there is going to set us up for good things.”

Samuel Stoddard –  Instructor of Social Sciences at Springfield College

“By historical standards, this was a strong showing for Democrats and one that reinforced several aspects of conventional political wisdom that had been questioned following Trump’s victory in 2016. Democrats retook the House, gaining around 30 seats, and will have a comfortable though not overwhelming majority in that chamber through 2020.”

“When Democrats assess what worked in this election, they will recognize that their success in the House was driven by their ability to select candidates that fit the districts in which they were running. In most cases, that meant nominating moderate candidates who can appeal to independent and less politically-engaged voters. Thus we witnessed the reassertion of the median voter, a political science theory that suggests that candidates increase their chances at victory by appealing to the middle, as opposed to focusing on their ideological bases.”

“Moderate voters this time around preferred Democrats, and the continued power swing voters is further demonstrated by the fact that moderate Democratic candidates fueled their party’s resurgence in the House this year, winning in suburban swing districts and replacing the most moderate members of the Republican House Caucus. Thus, we can safely say that the conventional wisdom of targeting swing voters remains intact, and overall, Democrats had a strong midterm victory by historical standards.”

“Democrats hoped not just for a victory, but for an overwhelming statement from the American people, one that made clear their wholesale rejection of Trump’s penchant for dragging all Americans into the muck and mire in which he thrives. That did not happen. If anything, this midterm defeat only served to normalize the Trump presidency; his loss was in line with historical context, thus placing him alongside his predecessors, as opposed casting him as uniquely dangerous and unfit, uniquely worthy of rejection.”  

“Over the next two years, no significant legislation will be passed, but Trump’s goals are personal, not policy-based. He will eagerly embrace House Democrats as a foil, painting them as obstructionists and reactionaries. Worse still, he will focus his attention on goading House Democrats into increasingly radical solutions to his misbehavior. He will use every tweet to enrage them in the hope of a sparking righteous tirades. He will magnify every episode of corruption exposed, a constant trolling of impeachment bait. In short, if you thought the past two years were ugly, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Democrats must remember what has gotten them this far down the road to regaining power: serious candidates who prize moderation over vitriol. That is still who most Americans want to vote for.”

Darlean Seabrooks Morning barista at Starbucks in Learning Commons

“[It is significant] that the Democrats took back the House because the Republicans need to have checks and balances. For the Republicans to hold the senate, I think they are not going to change, they’re going to be the same people,” Seabrooks said. “But if they want to work for the people, then Trump has to work with the Democrats to get something done,” she said. “It’s the only way we can move forward.”

“That was a blue wave. That was history. Over 100 women are [in Congress] and I’m glad, because it shows that woman can do anything if [they] put their mind to it,” reflected Seabrooks. “It’s not just putting a man in that position — women, they’re stepping up.”

“They are going to have good ideas, different ideas,” she said. “There are a lot of older people [in the House of Representatives] who are set in their own ways and don’t want to change,” stated Seabrooks. “But younger people have great ideas, and if the older [generation does not compromise], they are going to [eventually] get voted out.”

Kyle Belanger: Instructor of Communications, polling place volunteer, South Hadley School Committee member

“I think the results suggest much more of a balance. As we have in the last several years with our rhetoric, lost the desire to see checks and balances as a necessary positive,

I see the democratic control of the House as an important check on the power of the executive branch – a check that we just haven’t had yet. And we’re already seeing a bit of it today. There’s already been some really contentious press conferences between the executive branch and the media and this, I think, indicates that there will be some pushback on the check that will kick in after the inaugurations in the new year. I see that as really a restoration of the checks and hope will lead to more balance.”

“It’s inarguable that in 250 years of the American experiment, European men have been well-represented in all three branches of our government. And because of the establishment that has celebrated white men and their ability to succeed in elections, we have yet to truly experience the beauty of the diversity of the true American experience. Adding, as we did last night, a historic night where we saw over 100 women elected to Congress for the first time ever, and a number of openly LGBTQ candidates as well, some of those women, some of those men – I think that we have thousands of years worth of makeup to do. It’s funny, respect isn’t like pie. There’s not – “if I get more respect there’s not less to go around.” And now we’re seeing that finally we’re welcoming more people to the table. If there are people who are afraid – ‘Oh my gosh, they’re coming for my privilege,’ – it doesn’t work that way. It’s okay to be okay inviting more people to the conversation, and last night was a gigantic victory in that regard.”

Jason Robinson: Senior, Nutrition major

“I don’t think it will necessarily divide the nation, as it is very common for a president to lose seats of their party in the House at the first midterm election. It could be divisive if the Democrats in the House try going after Kavanaugh or Trump for possible impeachment, and we would have a repeat of what happened back in September in splitting the country even more, which didn’t work out well for those who voted no on Kavanaugh in this election. There will always be some division based on the ideas of the parties, but as long as people in the the media and government positions don’t point fingers at one another and play childish games, I would hope it could be better than it’s been.”

“I believe that the only way that having more women in Congress would be a negative is if people viewed them as intellectually inferior to men, but any rational person knows this is not the case. I believe that whoever is most fit for a job or position should be the one to get it. Also, I read that more women were running in congressional elections this election cycle, so that could be a factor in the increased number as well.”

“I think that whoever is most qualified should get the job, regardless of skin color, religion, gender, or ethnicity. When people only look at it based on these identifying factors as being the only reason someone should obtain a role, I feel it causes more of a divide and increase racial/ethnic tension, as skin color and religion should not influence qualification.”

 

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