The midterm elections were on Tuesday, November 6 and for many, the election can redefine the political climate of the nation for the coming years.
At the end of a stressful period of ballots being sent in and counted, Republicans won a majority in the Senate with a total of fifty-one to forty-seven while Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives with a total of 229 to 198.
The election not only signaled a change in the government and its political makeup it yielded many firsts across the nation.
Colorado elected its first openly gay man, Jared Polis. Sharice Davids of Kansas and Debra Haaland of New Mexico are the first Native American congresswomen to be elected.
Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Rlaib of Michigan are the first Muslim congresswoman. Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar are Texas’ first Latina congresswomen while Angie Craig of Minnesota is the first lesbian mother in Congress.
Ayanna Pressley is Massachusetts’ first black member of the house and Marsha Blackburn is Tennessee’s first female senator. Kyrsten Sinema is Arizona’s first female senator and Jahana Hayes is the first black women from Connecticut to be sent to Congress.
Kristi Noem became South Dakota’s first female governor and Janet Mills became Maine’s first female government.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York became the youngest woman elected to Congress, at twenty-nine years old.
Students here at Seton Hall University had mixed reactions towards the midterm election’s results.
Noelle Sorich, a senior with a double major in diplomacy and modern languages with a minor in Economics commented on the election.
“I’m happy with the Senate races, but I was very angry that Keith Ellison won. I believe in the wake of the #MeToo movement, it was really a loss for the women of Minnesota,” Sorich said. “My boyfriend is stationed in Georgia, so I end up spending quite a bit of time there, so I’m still avidly engaged in the Governor race there, I’m really mad about the way that election is being handled. No one should be allowed to simultaneously be the referee and a player.”
Sorich continued to comment on how she believes the election results will affect her as a student in New Jersey.
“The choices that State Senators and the Governor makes will affect us every day as students in NJ, whether it’s new gas taxes, or the legalization of recreational marijuana,” Sorich said.
Sorich was unsurprised in the results and said they were exactly as she predicted them to be with the Democrats winning a majority in the House and the Republicans with a majority in the Senate.
Hanna Wargula, a junior with a major in Diplomacy and International Relations from New York commented on the election’s results and firsts.
“I am mostly pleased, except with my home district,” Wargula said. “The majority chose to re-elect Christ Collins, who was recently indicted for insider trading. I find this result upsetting.”
“I love the diversity that is making its way into our government. I believe that these “firsts” are going to assist in speaking on behalf of previously underrepresented populations. This will help our nation transform to be a truly democratic.”
Angelina D’Angelo, a sophomore with a major in Communication and Classical Studies shared her opinion.
“I’m content with the results and I’m anxious to see how policies will change,” D’Angelo said. “The changing in parties reflects the discontent of the country currently and the results were expected. The “Blue Wave” has been hyped for years now.”
She believes that the election affects her not only as student but as a New Jersey citizen. “It’s really important to have diversity in congress to reflect the interests of all minorities. It does restore my faith in this country a bit,” D’Angelo said.
Alyssa Futa, a sophomore with a major in Diplomacy and International Relations and Modern Languages shared her opinion on the election and its results.
Futa said she was happy with the outcomes, particularly in her home state of Hawaii.
“In my state, the results were expected, at least personally, except for our decision not to engage in a state Constitutional Convention,” Futa said. “I had seen some advertisement for the Constitutional Convention, and I had assumed that this was well-advertised back home and would influence voters to vote ‘yes’.”
Futa continued to say that she was neutral on the matter of the Convention and is neither disappointed nor relieved.
“We also voted out a notable member of our Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which was, after greater reflection, not very surprising given the investigation surrounding the former member.”
As for the parties that won the majority in Congress, Futa said, “I think that it is fair and reflective of what the people want, which is the whole goal of elections. Personally, it was not surprising, though it did come fairly close.”
“I think these are great firsts in the election,” Futa said. “I think it is a great example of how diverse our country is, and I look forward to these newly elected officials bringing a new voice to our government.”
Valerie Machalany, a senior with a major in social and behavioral sciences with a minor in psychology also commented on the firsts in the election. “I’m from New Jersey and this is my second election,” Machalany said. “I am happy with the firsts. They can bring joy and new ideas to our country because bringing “first” experiences is smart.”
Taina Vasquez, a junior with a major in criminal justice also shared her opinion on the midterms.
“I am happy that there were a lot of firsts such as the first Muslims, Native American, or the youngest woman elected to Congress. I think that as a nation we still have a lot more to accomplish and we need more people elected in office who represent the diversity that exists in America,” Vasquez said.
“The elections in New Jersey affect me because this is my home state. I am pleased that Mikie Sherrill won as my representative in Congress because she is a veteran and someone who’s values and causes I can agree with because I come from a military family,” Vasquez concluded.
Peter Eggerding, a freshman with a major in diplomacy and minors in russian and economics with an Eastern European Studies Certificate commented on the midterms—his first election.
“On a national level I feel that what happened is a good reflection of the current political climate,” Eggerding said. “The senate race was very stacked for Republicans, and Democrats made a lot of waves in the house race. I feel the 2020 election will be very telling for the future of the country and this election set the stage.”
Eggerding also commented on the firsts in the election.
“The firsts are amazing to hear about. The more diversity and vibrant opinions we can include in national discussions makes America as amazing as it is,” Eggerding said. “I am tired of hearing speeches from the same representatives that have led our country to monotony and allowed ideas to exist in the 21st century that belong in the 19th. I also love the high amount of young people who were first time voters this midterm cycle.
Rhania Kamel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.