The Sunflower

Blue tsunami: Midterm election precursor for upcoming change in U.S. politics

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After months of tireless campaigning and an endless stream of political ads, the 2018 midterm elections have concluded. With the “blue wave” of Democrat voters reclaiming the House of Representatives and the GOP hardening its grip on the Senate, constituents are anticipating a high level of polarity and divisiveness within the national government.

Closer to home, Kansans decided the 48th governor of Kansas will be Democrat Laura Kelly, Republican Ron Estes will serve a full term in the House of Representatives representing the fourth district of Kansas, and Democrat newcomer Sharice Davids will replace incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder to represent the Third Congressional District of Kansas.

History was made both at the state and national level. But what does this mean for us?

Kelly ran on a platform of reversing the fiscal, educational, and healthcare decisions of the Brownback administration, centering her campaign around being a “champion of kids,” over that of her opponent, Republican Kris Kobach. An upset to some, her election will not only empower the people, it will lend towards creating an educated generation of future voters, workers, and citizens with open and able minds.

Kelly’s investment in Kansas’ children is an investment in Kansas’s future, and will put the state back on track educationally and economically. However, local Democrats took a hit when incumbent Estes won reelection over Democrat opposition James Thompson.

Thompson, like Kelly, took pride in educating the nation’s youth, and his work in Washington would have exponentially surpassed Estes. Though Thompson was unable to beat Estes for a second consecutive time, Davids made history in her unseating of Yoder. As one of the the first Native American women to be elected into Congress, her election is all the more important, as she will rightly represent Kansas and convey proper educational, healthcare, and fiscal reform in the nation’s capital.

Kansas seemed to shift blue, worrying many about the potential for a bigger, much more impactful “blue wave” in 2020. As most midterm elections do, the parties strengthened their evermore dividing polarity, alluding to tension in Washington and adding pressure on the president to please the now Democrat-held House.

History was not just made at home. The first Muslim-American identifying women were elected into Congress (Democrats Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ihan Omar of Minnesota), as well as many other firsts throughout the United States which include, but not limited to, the first female senator from Tennessee (Republican Marsha Blackburn) and the first openly gay governor (Democrat Jared Polis of Colorado).

This historical midterm is a push towards a younger, more diverse Congress that more accurately represents the people of the United States. A record number of female and minority representatives are now seated in the House of Representatives or Senate, but are still an overwhelming minority as a whole. The 2018 midterm election was a precursor for a much larger change in the perception and role of American government in coming years. Though a slow moving one, it will not be a wave, but a tsunami.

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