By Matthew O’Hara
The midterm elections raged on for weeks after the November 6th election due to voter fraud controversies in North Carolina, machine failure in Florida, and extended deadlines to accommodate a runoff election in Mississippi.
Overall, the midterm elections presented wins and losses for the Republican and Democratic parties. While the Republican party remained in control of the Senate with a 53 to 47 seat majority, they lost their majority in the House of Representatives. The Democrats now hold the majority of House seats with 234, while the Republicans have 198. In both House and Senate races, there were many toss up seats that could have been won by either party. Winning these seats was crucial to each party, as it could give either party the upper hand. In most of these races, the winner was decided by only a small margin. For the Senate, these toss up seats were in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota, and Tennessee. For the House, the toss up seats were in Florida, California, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. When the contested elections for the Senate concluded, the Republican party won the majority of the contested states 6-4 over the Democratic party. This minority in the contested states made the Democrats unable to regain the majority in the Senate, and thus remain the Senate minority. The contested elections for the House of Representatives were a very different story. The Democratic party gained 20 of the contested seats, with just seven going to the Republican party and one vote undecided. These wins allowed the Democratic party to regain control of the House of Representatives.
While this election is now coming to a close, it did not go as smoothly as most Americans had hoped. This election was racked with mechanical failures, voter fraud, and controversy throughout the country. In the state of Florida, multiple mechanical failures in the voting machines led to many votes going uncounted, forcing several counties in the state to conduct a recount lasting for weeks. There were also cases of suspected voter fraud in North Carolina, after the 9th district seat for the House of Representatives was called into question. An extremely high number of absentee ballots were never returned, and reports that people claiming to be state officials went door to door collecting absentee ballots from citizens are under investigation. The confusion and controversy in this year’s midterm elections was wide and varied. One example was when Florida Senate candidate Bill Nelson refused to concede to his opponent Rick Scott after Scott was shown to have slightly more votes than Nelson. Also, in the controversial Mississippi Senate election, when both candidates were unable to receive enough votes to declare an outright winner, they were forced to participate in a runoff election. This runoff election became even more heated with the release of a controversial comment by Republican candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith, who eventually won the seat by a comfortable margin.
With each party controlling one of the two legislative offices, I fear that we will see a period of conflict and stagnation in the government. If each party only works to shut down the other, then legislation will stall and the country will suffer with useless stalemates. The conflict between parties is one of the issues that plagues America today. Elected officials are tasked with representing the people that elected them, not just their party and everything it stands for. This singular loyalty to party over people has led some politicians to outright reject many ideas that are not in line with their party narrative. This practice has led to a deep division in America. What America needs right now is for both parties to set aside their differences and become a bipartisan Senate and House of Representatives that works for the American people. If each party tries to respectfully communicate with their counterpart instead of fighting them on every issue, America will be productive. If both parties cannot put their wants aside for the betterment of America, the country will continue to be divided and conflicted. As Lincoln famously said, “A house divided against itself, cannot stand.”