Thursday, November 8, 2018

Consider This

 ...a weekly opinion post discussing various topics of interest. Whether it's a personal interest, anecdote, or a commentary on another op-ed published by other media sites, I intend "Consider This" to be another opinion to be considered. 

            In less than two decades, our country has seen a major attack on the mainland by external, terrorist agents. Conflicts, natural disasters, recessions, recovery, and elections. We have seen this happen on our televisions, heard it on the radio, and shared it on our computers and smart phones. The country elected its first African American President, and nearly half the country call Barack Obama the best President in their lifetimes (according to a Pew Research report earlier this year).
            While voter turnout has not been higher than half of the eligible voters in the country, at least since the early 1900s, even during a presidential election year, the 2018 midterm elections are the first which have approached that level or participation since the 1966 midterms - 49 percent of the population then, and again this year. Over 100 million voters turned out to cast ballots, many braving the elements in order to perform that civic duty. Outside of a presidential election year, this is the highest number of participants, ever, and even matches some of the presidential campaign years.
            With this election, a message was sent. More women ran for - and were voted into - offices at all levels, especially at the state and national levels. Exit polls show a 44 percent approval rating for the current administration, with 55 percent firmly disapproving of the job President Trump is doing. And the results of the election reflect that disapproval of not only the Executive Branch, but the Republican Party is also put on notice. The Democrats took over the House of Representatives, claiming 29 seats in Congress, putting them back in the majority by 24 members over the GOP. The Senate remains in the hands of the Republicans, however, as they gain 2 seats in the other branch of the Legislature.
            At the state level, the Democrats gained 7 governors' seats, and the Republicans lost 6 so far - there are still some states which are going through counts and recounts to confirm the winner. Narrowing down to the local level here, the one election which might still be in contention is between incumbent State Senator Tomlinson and Tina Davis. Only 100 votes separate the two, and while many - including Tomlinson - are declaring the win, a final tally is still in the works at the county seat, along with absentee and provisional ballots which have yet to be tallied.
Consider This:

            After the 2016 election, the GOP had control of all three branches of the federal government, and the Democratic Party spent the next two years trying to get the power back. #TurnItBlue was the popular hashtag on social media, and with the results after this week's election, the tide is turning. The country is still divided, still dealing with the violence and disputes across the aisle and across the nation, but this turn out, and the results, mean the People are waking up. Change is gradual when it comes to politics and the government, and it will always fluctuate with the ebb and flow of the People and the popular trends of the time.
            Overall, there is a gradual, progressive attitude permeating the People, and is the foundation of the #TurnItBlue movement taking root. Just as the Tea Party Movement pushed for a return to the foundations the country was created with, the progressive ideals brought to light with the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016, and the apparent mobilization of the next generation of citizens - Millennials, Gen X/Y, and whatever other monikers they go by - is certainly a contributor to the voter turn-out this year. If this trend is any indication, the next two years - as well as the next presidential election - are going to be very interesting.

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