2016 was pretty exhausting. Political ads, debates and family fights at the dinner table over who was voting for who. Well, phew, thank God we don't have to do that for another 4 years. Eh, not quite.
Although we will not be electing another president in 2018, this coming November, there will be midterm elections for congressional and gubernatorial seats- and it's bound to get interesting with the current climate.
I am writing this piece for Barneys, Bergdorfs & Bill$ readers, but also for myself. There are many upcoming elections- it can be hard to keep track.
Hopefully this serves as an all-encompassing, brief breakdown of what is to come.
Let's start with the two branches of Congress: the House and the Senate.
House of Representatives. There are 435 seats in the House. The length of these terms is 2 years, therefore every mid-term year and presidential election year, every single seat will be up for grabs. 218 seats are needed in order for one party's control.
The number of seats each state is entitled to (seen above) is based on that state's population. Large states such as California, have numerous seats (53). Smaller states including Vermont and Wyoming only have 1.
You may have heard of certain elections that have already taken place- these have been in rare instances where House members have resigned or, for any other reason, left their post early. The majority will be elected on November 6, 2018.
The representative you vote on is dependent upon the district in which you live. For example I live in the 12th Congressional district of New York based upon my address. Your ballot will already have the district selected.
The Senate. Every state regardless of population has 2 state senators. Some states, the senators are split between political parties whereas others there are 2 Democrats or 2 Republicans. Currently the U.S. Senate is occupied by 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats (including 2 independents) who will occupy the position for 6 years.
In 2018, 35 seats are up for election- 26 are held by Democrats. The Democrats will need to gain 2 seats to take control.
On a local level, states will have local Senates and Senators. These individuals are largely there to work on local issues for their districts.
Gubernatorial. AKA the race for Governor. Each state has one governor. The current breakdown is 33 Republicans, 16 Democrats and 1 Independent (Alaska). Terms are 4 years in each of the 50 states besides Vermont and New Hampshire where terms are 2 years.
The map above was the breakdown of governors by political party in 2016. There will be 36 gubernatorial elections in 2018, as seen in the highlighted map below.
As you can see, Nevada, Arizona, Kansas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio and Florida were all Republican in 2016 and now are considered toss-up's.
Other than the elections mentioned above, there will be races for attorney general, state comptroller, etc. Campaign sites are a great way to get a solid understanding of the issues at hand and candidate stances.
So what's going on right now?
As per a recent article in the WSJ- Democrats are banking on strong turnout this fall to reverse President Obama-era losses that left Republican governors in a near record 33 states. Republicans are defending 26 of those governorship's this fall.
The Republican Governors Association has raised $113M and Democrats with $67M. The gubernatorial elections are particularly important because of years past in Washington, lots of policy making decisions have been pushed to the state level. A large importance is a candidate for governor being endorsed by the President. In the primaries so far- President Trump's favored candidates won the nomination in Georgia, Michigan, Kansas and Florida.
In the House, Republicans are trying to prevent a blue wave. A big question for the states is how popular is President Trump in their district? The more popular- the more likely the seat will remain or flip to red. History has a tendency to repeat itself- last time a president's approval was as low as President Trump's, President George W. Bush's administration lost 30 seats. Democrats may have the wind at their back but they still need to flip 23 seats to take the House majority- and that is no simple feat.
In the Senate, the terrain is vastly different than the House as it is a very red battleground. 10 of the Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2018 represent states that President Trump won in 2018.
You can still register to vote (*note originally published in September). In most states, papers and voter information must be done 15-30 days before an election so don't wait too long. Summer is already over and November will be here before we know it. Check out the Voter Registration website to learn more and check when your states requires you to be registered here.
Also, Refinery29 put together a guide of what you need to vote and other election day information.
Finally, there's a lot of "fake news" out there. A good go-to guide is 270ToWin where I got a lot of the information in this post.
Hope this provided a brief breakdown of what to expect in the coming weeks. Always remember how lucky we are to live in a Democracy where our voices are able to be heard. Not everyone in the world has this privilege.