Conner Harris ‘19, Photo Editor
As the results begin to cement into place, the midterm election is bringing one theme again to the spotlight: America is heavily polarized.
This past midterm produced the highest voter turnout of any midterm in our country’s history. An estimated 113 million citizens came out to vote, which makes it the first time a midterm had more than 100 million votes cast. These numbers mark a 48 percent turnout rate compared to the 39 percent from the 2014 midterm. An increase in turnout like this speaks to the strong opinions held by an increasing amount of Americans.
With the past two years in politics, many expected a strong blue surge to occur in Congress, but the country did not quite get that. While the election of more the Democrats into Congress did end the complete control the Republicans had, they only took back the House. The Republicans maintained the majority in the Senate, which signals for another two year period of gridlock in Congress.
Despite this news, this year’s election was also one of many firsts. New York elected the youngest woman ever to Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, at 29 years old. Also, Michigan and Minnesota elected to Congress the first Muslim women, Rashida Talib and Ilhan Omar respectively. Lastly, Debra Haaland from New Mexico and Sharice Davids from Kansas became the first Native American women to be elected to Congress. Overall, this was certainly a breakout election for women.
As for the Mitten State, voters elected Democrat Gretchen Whitmer for governor, both ending the Republican control of the executive, and also maintaining the back and forth trend between the two major parties that Michigan has had the last half century.
Michigan also made news by becoming the 10th state to pass into law legal use of recreational marijuana. Voters also passed two more proposals that essentially will end gerrymandering and make it unavoidable to register to vote. The third proposal also allows for “no reason” absentee voting which should also help to increase voter turnout. Government teacher Mr. Toni Simovski said, regarding Proposal Three, “I think the ‘no reason’ proposal is great. It may improve voter turnout because it gives people a way to skip the long line.”
On Nov. 6, in Michigan and the country, the results act as evidence to the strong polarized Congress the country now has. However, this election also offers hope that in future elections more citizens will exercise their right to vote so that more voices are heard.
Photo courtesy of Twitter