Let’s talk about the upcoming midterms
By Jessica Powell
Image retrieved from Win McNamee/Getty Images, Politico
In November 2022, the United States will face one of its most consequential elections. This election is not a presidential election, but instead the midterms. Midterm elections historically have lower turnout across the nation due to the misconstrued importance, or lack thereof, due to the commotions about presidential elections. However, midterm elections are objectively more important than presidential elections, because the people elect individuals that will directly affect them. In midterms, congressional candidates run for support in their district and state, rather than nationally. This means that the candidates on your ballot are people whose decisions will directly affect your livelihood. However, this year’s midterms have a more consequential presence looming over the voting booths. There are several issues taking prominence in the upcoming midterms, so let’s break them down.
One issue that is prominent in the upcoming midterms is the presence that President Trump still holds in the GOP. Over the last several months, states have held primaries to decide who would be the party’s nominee for the elections in the fall. These primaries have been tools for Republicans and Democrats alike to assess the power that President Trump still possesses in the party and the eyes of the public. The former President has endorsed more than 200 Republicans this year, sometimes partaking in late endorsements when a clear front runner has already been established. Nonetheless, these endorsements give some candidates the push they need to rally more support, leading to their ultimate nomination win. These assessments of Trump’s hold in the GOP correlates to his likely 2024 presidential run. If candidates he endorses continue to win nominations, and potentially elections, Trump holds a strong chance to run a successful presidential campaign.
In addition to the assessment of power Trump still possesses in the Republican party, the primaries and midterms are also an evaluation of the strength of Trump’s values. Many GOP nominees continue to push election lies as their main campaign issue. For example, Republican nominee for governor in Arizona, Kari Lake, forcefully campaigns on election denial, telling reporters there is proof of election fraud – but not being willing to showcase the proof she claims exists. Kari Lake is just one example of Trump-sympathizers running for office, as there are several other election deniers and January 6th insurrection attendees fighting for office. The primaries and midterms also highlight the loyalty citizens still hold to Trump. Of the 10 Republican individuals who voted to impeach President Trump following the January 6th insurrection, only two have won their primaries – with the others either losing or choosing not to run.
The recent primaries and upcoming midterms are also the first elections the United States has seen following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, allowing states to make their own decisions regarding abortion access. By the time elections are over in November, several states will have a baseline, or a finished, new law regarding abortions. In Kansas, voters have already faced an abortion amendment on the primary ballot. The state legislature proposed an amendment that says there is no constitutional right to an abortion in the state constitution. However, despite Kansas being a red state, Kansas voters voted no to this amendment – meaning there is a constitutional right to an abortion in Kansas. Kansas is the first state to propose an abortion related amendment to voters following the Dobbs ruling, however, they are likely not the last.
Midterms may have a historically low turnout, however, based on the issues taking precedence in these midterms, it is important voters show up and make their voices heard. Midterm elections focus on individuals that will directly affect the voter, whether this be congresspersons, state officials, or local officials. These people directly impact our lives in ways the president cannot.
Written by writer Jessica Powell