Why you should care
Because elections have consequences, and some are more readily apparent than others.
Last night, OZY invited its readers and followers to join our private discussion group on Facebook, Take On America, to weigh in with their thoughts on the unfolding U.S. midterm election results and what those results could mean for the future of America and the world. We heard from people of all ages, backgrounds and political viewpoints. Here is a taste:
Tales of Turnout
Regardless of party affiliation or location, commenters could agree that turnout was heavy across the country, and many shared their stories of what voting looked like in their neck of the woods, from two-hour waits in Kentucky to long lines in Brooklyn, New York, and Boise, Idaho, to precincts in Michigan that ran out of “I Voted” stickers. OZY’s own Eugene S. Robinson reported from East Palo Alto, California, that there were “lines out the door like I’ve never seen in 20 years in my neighborhood. No one left, no one complained.”
Reactions to the Results
Would the blue wave materialize? Or would it be a Democratic fantasy? Those were the questions on many commenters’ lips. And for a while, things looked less than wavy for the Democrats in their bid to retake the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. As one self-identified Republican “Never Trumper” put it early on in the evening: “No blue wave tonight. Just a blue ripple.” As usual, some key races in Florida, such as the gubernatorial showdown between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, turned into nail-biters. As one longtime Florida resident warned, any late poll showing either side up by more than1 to 2 points was likely wrong given how elections typically play out in the Sunshine State.
Some of the evening’s results also led to some predictions about future policy. OZY’s Michelle Bruton forecast that with Democrat J.B. Pritzker dethroning Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner in the Illinois gubernatorial race, legalization of marijuana in the state will not be far behind.
Thoughts on Immigration, Guns and Impeachment
Commenters also weighed in on contentious issues. While immigration received a lot of attention in the days leading up to the election, some argued that it only became such an issue because the media took the bait set for them by President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign-trail rhetoric. Others pointed out that, according to polls, immigration was the second most important issue for voters after health care. Many on both sides of the aisle remained skeptical that the election would change the prospects of gun control reform in America. OZY politics editor Daniel Malloy said one indication that the political appetite for gun control could be shifting in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and subsequent March for Our Lives movement could be the performance of gun control activist and Democrat Lucy McBath, whose son Jordan Davis was killed in 2012, in Georgia’s 6th congressional district.
But perhaps unsurprisingly, the most contentious issue of the evening was whether impeachment is in the cards for President Trump in the wake of the election. Some right-leaning commenters expressed the hope that the Democratic House would indeed spend two years investigating and pursuing the president, which would harm them in the 2020 election cycle. Some left-leaning commenters, meanwhile, worried that, even if successful, impeachment would only usher in something they see as worse: a Mike Pence presidency. For the most part, though, commenters were content to punt on the question until special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has reached its conclusion.
As the night drew to a close, one commentator was left asking whether the “inconclusive nature” of the results might leave newly engaged voters disillusioned — especially those who rocked up in droves to push voter turnout to what may be record levels. There was optimism in one particularly refreshing comment, however.
”We are all here on the same team working for one common goal to make this country a better place. Congratulations to both parties. It is a great win for the Democrats to take over the house, although Republicans took over the Senate. I hope something good gets done by both Reps and Dems.” It was a far cry from what social media has become renowned for, and a mark of the civility that underscored the evening’s debate.
Now over to you. What is your take on last night’s results — and what should we expect to come next in American politics?