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The Best of the Midterms

On Nov. 6, many Americans returned to the polls for the first time since the 2016 elections. State by state, county by county, Americans lined their polling stations in hopes their voices would not only be heard but listened to. Both sides of the aisle anxiously waited to see if their party had maintained or won control of the House and Senate. The Democrats were desperate for a win to show they could still get candidates elected. At the same time, the Republicans fought to maintain their advantage in the house, showing that despite the president being completely unhinged and incompetent to lead, the GOP could still be trusted by their constituents. This election seemed to be another example of how no matter the outcry of the media, the Democratic Party seems to be having trouble taking their fight to the polls.

In the months leading up to the election, a major theme was the supposed “blue wave” of Democrats returning to the polls to make up for lost votes in 2016. Both political parties saw an increase in voter turnout, but the results for the Democratic party were a bit lackluster. Don’t get me wrong, Democrats flipping 30 seats and winning the majority (225-197) was still a decisive victory and a much needed moral boost to constituents. To see more blue would have been inspiring. It would seem that no matter the amount of bleeding-heart liberal posts seen across social media, the voters aren’t turning out in a way effective enough to remove more Republicans. The Democrats have a strong rhetoric, yet once again they failed to put their vote where their mouth was.

Passing the mark of 218 seats to gain control of the house wasn’t the only good thing to come from this election cycle. A major vote in Florida, Amendment 4, restored voting rights to convicted felons upon completion of parole. According to Ballotpedia, Florida was one of four states that required board officials to restore voting rights of the convicted after parole, not restoring the rights automatically. Because of this lack of legislation, an estimated 1.7 million Floridians were unable to vote in the past election cycles. With these new-found rights, Florida is going to be an even more powerful electorate state, as the margin of victory in the past is typically in the ballpark of 1.0-1.2 percent and his amendment is expected to restore the rights of 10 percent of the voting population.

All in all, the midterms lived up to the hype of importance. Voters took to the polls to show that despite what may be occurring in Washington or in the world of social media, parties can band together to effect change felt nationwide. Democrats regained the house, while Republicans retained the Senate by a small majority of 51-46, gaining two seats. I’m proud to say the blue wave showed in my home state of Oklahoma. For the first time since 1975, my own district, the Oklahoma 5th (Oklahoma City), elected not only a Democrat but a female Democrat to the house.

No matter the obstacles to overcome, change is on the horizon. Continue in the steadfast hope of a more united, kind America. A land where all are welcomed, a land we can once again be proud of, a land of unlimited possibility for all.

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