The midterm elections have come and gone, and some interesting things came to pass. The midterm elections take place every four years, exactly halfway between the presidential elections. Members of the House of Representatives, the Senate, state legislatures, and governors are among the people who are voted on during these elections. The midterms are a way for voters to express their feelings and beliefs on the status quo and are hugely important to the process of democracy.
Democratic Trifecta in New York
Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democratic nominee for senator, won with 66.5% of the vote. Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic nominee for governor, won with 59% of the vote. Democrats won 21 of the 27 New York House seats, Republicans won 6 House seats. Democrats won 40 of 63 State Senate seats in New York, Republicans won 23 seats. Democrats won 106 seats in the State Assembly, Republicans won 43 seats out of a total of 150 seats.
There are a lot of interesting takeaways from the midterm elections in New York this year. A particularly interesting one has to do with the history of the New York state senate and assembly, where Democrats have gained a “trifecta” of control. New York is run with a bicameral legislature, which is a fancy way of saying we have two Houses of Representatives in our government. The State Assembly consists of 150 members, and the State Senate consists of 63 members. When governing a state, a party is said to have a “trifecta” if it gains control of both houses of the state legislature and wins the governor’s race.
Democrats briefly held a trifecta in New York for the first time in a while in 2008, following the wave election of President Barack Obama. After the wave midterms of 2010, where Republicans gained power and seats in many statehouses as well as in the House of Representatives and Senate in Washington, D.C., the New York State Senate has been narrowly under Republican control by one vote. This has since changed in the latest midterm, with Democrats winning 40 seats compared to the Republicans 23 seats. This has resulted in a Democratic trifecta of New York.
Democrats Gain Ground Nationwide
Democrats have gained 35 seats in the House of Representatives, with 7 seats currently undecided. Republicans have conversely lost 35 seats in the House of Representatives. The current count is 230 seats for Democrats, and 198 seats for Republicans out of a total of 435 (discounting those held by territories and Washington D.C.). This is a significant win for Democrats, who previously did not control any branch of government but now have a foothold in Congress. Nancy Pelosi has replaced Paul Ryan as House Majority Leader.
There are currently 2 Senate seats where votes are still being counted. Currently, Republicans have gained a seat in the Senate, bringing their total to 51 seats out of 100. This total will likely change in the coming weeks, but it seems clear that Republicans will maintain their Senate majority.
Candidates this midterm season focused largely on the national debate over healthcare, with some spending time discussing current investigations of President Trump. This election was largely seen as a referendum on the popular support of President Trump (as many midterms are). Some conflicting analyses have emerged, with some indicating strong Democratic support and dislike of the current administration, with others indicating a Republican upswing and contentment with the status quo. Overall, it is difficult to draw conclusions until all votes are counted and races tallied.
It is vital to vote in the midterms, and any elections, as they are the voter’s chance to speak their voice, no matter the political party. Every vote counts, and participation in our democracy is the civic duty of all Americans. Midterm turnout this year reached record highs of nearly 50%, but that means that 50% of people did not end up voting this year. If you’re 18 or will turn 18 by 2020, happy voting!