Before you start to freak out, no, you didn’t miss any debates between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump where they interrupt each other 30 times each. That’s a different election, and thankfully, not happening for another two years.
For those of you who just gave a sigh of relief, this election that just passed was the midterm election on Nov. 8.
The midterm elections are not as anticipating and thrilling as the presidential elections but they still serve a great deal of purpose and importance.
For starters, midterm elections are called such because they happen in the middle of a president’s four-year term.
So what exactly does this mean for Americans? Gary Nordlinger, a professor of politics at George Washington University, states, “whoever controls the House or the Senate controls the agenda.”
The House of Representatives and the Senate, referring to Congress’s two chambers, are vital to law-making.
The House of Representatives is made up of 435 voting representatives from different districts, rather than states as a whole, and are elected every two years.
The White House defines the House as having “several powers assigned exclusively to it, including the power to initiate revenue bills, impeach federal officials and elect the President in the case of an Electoral College tie.”
If it helps to get a perspective on who people are voting for during the midterms, some notable representatives are the Democrat Rep. for New York’s 14th Congressional District, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Republican Rep. of Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, Marjorie Taylor Greene.
The upper level of Congress, the Senate, is comprised of 100 senators, two for each state, who serve six-year terms each. The Senate details its responsibilities as “[taking] action on bills, resolutions, amendments, motions, nominations and treaties by voting. Senators vote in a variety of ways, including roll call votes, voice votes and unanimous consent.”
New Jersey’s two current senators are Democrats Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.
Now that we have established what exactly the midterm election is and what positions we voted on, let’s get into what this means for New Jersey.
It’s important that we as young adults who recently got the right to vote utilize our freedom and make a change with our ballot, no matter what side we’re on.
According to the United States Census Bureau, over 60% of registered voters participated in the 2020 Presidential election, the highest voter turnout in 30 years. As for the latest midterm election in 2018, voter turnout was the highest in four decades at 53%.
The Census Bureau further established the increase in voters in young adults stating the “voter turnout went from 20 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2018, the largest percentage point increase for any age group — a 79 percent jump.”
Why such a drastic jump? It could allude to many things such as the tense political climate, political commentary pushed on social media and the spark for activism among younger generations.
And where are we now? Young voter turnout was a hot topic pre-election day as we were considered crucial to the success of the Democratic party.
It is still too early to tell the actual impact that young voters made on Tuesday but the Republican Party was certainly not as successful as expected.
What some people may not realize is that the midterm elections hold a lot of power in America and is something that everyone should participate in.
Even though the midterms don’t make as many notable headlines and media coverage, George Washington University Professor Nordlinger states that it’s important to vote during the midterms because “the overwhelming majority of legislation in the country is passed at the state level, not the federal level.”
While there were no current Senators running in New Jersey, there were 12 different representatives putting up a fight to win their districts. The New Jersey House of Representative candidates are debating on important topics such as abortion rights, the economy, education and costly living in the state. And other states, like Pennsylvania, have similar issues on the ballot statewide.
To those who exercised their right to vote before or on Nov. 8, The Montclarion applauds you. If you did not participate in this election, we encourage you to be ready for the 2024 election and vote. Without your vote, the future of America will not be represented in legislation and we could all be affected by whoever is elected.
If you care about people’s livelihood as well as your own, register to vote today. You can register to vote online at the Official Site of The State of New Jersey.