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Dems Have an Edge in this Year’s Midterm Election… If Millennials Show Up to Vote

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Dems Have an Edge in this Year’s Midterm Election… If Millennials Show Up to VotePhoto by Lauren Sega.
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The 2018 midterm election is fast-approaching, and as far as midterm elections go, it’s certainly set to be a nail-biter. People are fired up, more so than in past midterms, and they’re motivated by new factors.

While healthcare and the economy remain the top concerns for U.S. voters, many (60 percent) say a candidate’s opposition or support of Donald Trump, as well as which party controls Congress (72 percent) and who’s picked for the Supreme Court (76 percent), are priorities come election day. That’s according to a Pew Research Center survey of 1,754 adults.

Unlike past midterms, voters are now confronted with unique political conflicts that are likely to draw more people to the polls. President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is now under investigation by the FBI to determine the validity of the sexual misconduct allegations brought against him by three women. Additionally, Bill Cosby was recently sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in his home 14 years ago. With these cases, and with the 22 women who’ve accused the president himself of misconduct, the conversation around sexual assault, which reached its height with the #MeToo movement, has again been renewed.

Since his inauguration, Trump has received criticism for his stance on gun control in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, FL, his policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, and his response to (and denial of) Hurricane Maria’s devastating effects on Puerto Rico. While 60 percent of eligible voters say their vote will depend on a candidate’s support or opposition to Trump, many more are looking specifically for those who’ll push back against him (37 percent) than enable him (23 percent).

Studies show Democrats have an edge in the midterm election, but it depends greatly on voter turnout for Millennials, Gen-Xers and post-Millennials, whose midterm turnout rates have been historically disappointing when compared to those of Baby Boomers.

Despite the fact that Gen-X and later generations comprise the majority (59 percent) of eligible voters, these groups cast 21 million fewer votes than those 54 years of age and older in the 2014 midterm election. In fact, in each of the midterm elections millennials have been able to vote in, the generation’s turnout has averaged 20 percent, compared to 26 percent for Baby Boomers when they were the same age and voting in midterm elections in the 70s and 80s.

Jen Miller, executive director for the League of Women Voters, has high hopes for this particular election, though. Sept. 25, National Voter Registration Day, saw a record number of registrations. With data pulled from the following day, registration numbers saw a drastic jump (193,830 to 207,056 between November 2016 and today) for voters aged 25 to 34 in Franklin County. Registrars have 10 days from Voter Registration Day to get their numbers into the Secretary of State, so Miller anticipates an even bigger number come Saturday, Oct. 6.

Plus, she says, millennials are motivated by a number of issues that’ll push them to the polls come Nov. 6.

“Millennials care especially about social issues: immigration, racial justice, gun safety, reproductive rights, and climate change,” Miller says.

She’s right, according to an article published by the Washington Post earlier this week. While millennials as a whole care about education and student debt, millennials who vote, a different population, are more motivated by social issues — and they lean left.

Concerned with the potential overturn of Roe v Wade, racism, and income inequality, 60 percent of likely millennial voters strongly disapprove of Trump, nearly the same number holds “very unfavorable views” of the Republican party, and 66 percent of likely millennial voters intend to vote blue.

As many are predicting, Nov. 6, 2018 could very well bring a “blue wave,” but only if those who’ve registered actually show up to the polls. While the U.S. Supreme Court did uphold Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s voter purge in 2016, his office promised that voters’ registrations would not be purged before the midterm election this year. After that, those who fail to update their registration or vote for six years are at risk of being purged.

The last day to register to vote in the midterm election is Tuesday, Oct. 9.

For more information, visit vote.franklincountyohio.gov.

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