Social studies teachers discuss the results of the midterms and the effect they will have

William Fisher, Online Editor-In-Chief

   This year going into the midterms, which were held on Nov. 8, a “red wave” was predicted. It was thought that the Republicans would gain more seats in the house and the senate and win multiple state races. However, in reality as of Monday, Dec. 5, according to the Associated Press, the Republicans only gained a minor majority in the House, did not get a majority in the senate, and lost two gubernatorial seats. 

   Andrew Hood, social studies teacher, describes what the midterms represent: “They’re seen as a referendum on the presidential success and failure from the first two years of his or her term, so Biden was definitely on the chopping block, but more so it impacts legislative policy, because you got one-third of the senate up for grabs and then you have the full house of representatives up for grabs, and then you have a bunch of state races, so just sheer numbers of representation  is really big.”

   First term presidents typically lose big during the midterms. Michele Bonadies, social studies teacher, explains this: “I think this election is going to have a profound impact, because it was so different than what was predicted, traditionally presidents lose quite a bit of seats during the midterms and it didn’t pan out the way they though, yes the republicans did take the house, but by a slim majority and the democrats retained the senate.”

   Thomas Kuhn, social studies teacher, expands on the results: “They didn’t lose as bad as they were expected so they’re considering that a victory, and I think with the house, they were destined to lose that anyway because of the new census, and more seats being added to traditionally Republican states, so it was inevitable they were going to lose seats anyway.”

   This election also means a lot for the rest of Biden’s term, “Regardless of the party in power, whenever you have a split congress…it never really spells success because we just don’t know how to compromise in this country,” stated Hood. 

   Third parties had almost no presence in the midterm elections this year. Kuhn explains why exactly that is and what the rise of a third party could mean for U.S. politics: “I don’t know if they had any candidates really, and traditionally third parties don’t do well anyway, but they don’t have any charismatic candidates. If you look at third parties’ success throughout American history there’s been a lot of charisma and a lot of following third party candidates, and it wasn’t really there this election. Even though I think we’re to a point where America needs a strong third party, not permanently, but maybe to force the other parties to change their stances, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon, [at least not] until some noted personality…can drive a strong third party showing.”

   In Illinois, the democratic senator Tammy Duckworth won reelection, democrat J.B. Pritzker retained the governorship, and overall democrats retained and increased their power within the state. 

   “The Democrats in Illinois are very very pleased. The democrats did so well…J.B. Pritzker won reelection, the Democrats in the Illinois general assembly are a majority in the house and the senate…our supreme court is more left leaning…[this election was] a huge victory for the Democrats in Illinois,” said Bonadies. 

  This election also will have a massive impact on the upcoming 2024 presidential election, with the Republican candidacy looking highly contested, and no decision on whether President Biden will run for reelection.

   Bonadies described the current situation regarding the republican side: “I think for sure we’ll have Mike Pence and Donald Trump. He [Trump] did announce [that he was going to run for president] already, the day after the midterms [because of] DeSantis’ crushing victory in Florida for the Republicans. So I think we’ll definitely see a battle among those three.”

   Kuhn also wanted current juniors to know that they’ll be able to vote in next year’s presidential primary as Illinois allows teens to vote at 17 if they turn 18 by the presidential election in November. 

   “So I tell all my students to start paying attention to this presidential race as it starts to take shape, because they will probably have a say, more than they would in the general election,” stated Kuhn. “We know Illinois will be democratic, but if that Republican primary is as contested as it’s going to be, Illinois will matter, and I hope kids research that, take it seriously, and get excited about the fact that their voice is going to matter in electing our next president.”