Midterms are done and over with, and not the ones your professors are assigning. It’s election week, which means Trinity’s campus is torn apart. Whether you’re celebrating a win, mourning a loss, or couldn’t care less (start caring), there’s no denying this Midterm season stood out from previous years. Vox estimates that the voter turnout for this year’s midterms shattered previous midterm records, with early estimates coming in at about 114 million voters (compared to 81 million in the 2014 midterms). Along with it came several significant changes to both local and national governments.
Much to the dismay of Texan Democrats, Beto O’Rourke lost to incumbent Ted Cruz. While many hopeful progressives may be disappointed with the loss, the race represents a shift from previous years, bringing a larger democratic voter base with more young people and people of color voting than ever before. That, surely, is worth celebrating. Texan Republicans will be happy to celebrate the return of Ted Cruz, as well as nearby congressional wins such as Chip Roy and Will Hurd. On the broader scale, we’ve seen some national shifts in Congress. Republicans held onto majority power in the Senate with 51 to 44 seats while Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, leading with 222 to 196 seats at press time. This shift to a democratic House majority indicates a national desire to provide more checks and balances on the Trump administration.
Apart from the Democratic shift, this midterm election came with several “firsts,” which are exciting no matter what side you’re on. According to NPR, record numbers of Native Americans, Muslims and women, particularly women of color, ran for office this year. Here were some noteworthy wins: Jared Polis, Colorado democrat, became the first openly gay man elected governor; Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas and Debra Haaland of New Mexico became the first Native American congresswomen; Democrats Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan were elected as the first Muslim congresswomen; several states saw their first female governors and senators, both Republican and Democrat. These noteworthy wins will go down in history.
On the local scale, San Antonio saw some significant changes in city legislation. Proposition A failed, while propositions B and C passed. Proposition B passed in a landslide, which is set to cap tenure and compensation for future city managers. Proposition C also passed, but at a much slimmer margin, giving the firefighters union the sole authority to decide when contract negotiations become binding arbitration. Proposition A, the only one that failed, was aimed to expand the referendum process. The next year will be interesting to watch how these propositions affect our city.
No matter what your thoughts are on this week’s election, we hope that you take them and make something productive of them. Civic duty doesn’t stop after Nov. 6. There is still plenty of ways to use your passion productively and remain an active, outspoken citizen who fights for their city, state and country. We hope that you remember that your voice still matters, and the last thing you should do is become complacent or demoralized.