What’s at Stake:
The President may be the undisputed Commander-In-Chief, but as history has already shown when it comes to the creation of federal law if the House and the Senate cannot cooperate then legislature stalls and dies. Currently in his sixth year, President Obama’s upcoming goals will be directly affected by who gains control of the House (currently under Republican reign) and the Senate (currently held by the Democrats.)
If Republicans gain control of both branches there are a number of legislative issues that will be at risk including; immigration reform, an increase to minimum wage, gay marriage, the legalization of marijuana and more.
In The Senate:
Republicans need just six seats in order to regain control and win the majority. There are 36 Senate seats that are up for grabs and Democrats are trying to hold onto 21 of them, yet the Democrats are in real danger of losing the majority that they have enjoyed for over 8 years. A shift in balance will make it even harder for Obama to enact specific legislature and may threaten the status of existing ones like Obama Care, which many Republicans are anxious to dismantle.
In The House:
History has proven to be favorable when it comes to incumbent (those who have already been elected and are simply trying to keep their place) candidates during U.S. House of Representative elections. This could prove beneficial for Republicans who currently hold control of the House. If they do indeed retain control, this could prove damaging to Obama as the House has combated the majority of his initiatives and have even lodged their own lawsuit against the President who they assert “exceeded his constitutional authority in delaying the implementation of the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act.”
The Gubernatorial Race:
There are currently 36 states and 3 U.S. territories with Governor seats up for grab. Pay close attention to states Florida and Maryland where issues like marijuana and education have become hotly contested.
Non-Presidential election years are notorious for having lower turnouts, especially amongst those who are seemingly affected the most; unfortunately, calling for a change only works when voters actually demand, which can only be done by casting a ballot.
According to NPR political editor Charlie Mahtesian, “Low turnout in midterm elections also means the composition of the electorate looks different. In a midterm like this one, demographically the electorate tends to be older and whiter.”
In short, those who choose not to participate are potentially risking leaving decisions that will affect women and minorities the hardest, to officials who may not accurately reflect them or their actual interests.
New voting laws could also play a part in discouraging some voters, as states including Texas, North Carolina, and Ohio who have implemented key changes including; shortening the length of early voting and making college IDs ineligible for use as identification to vote, which may disproportionately affect minority as well as college voters.
Preparing for 2016:
In two years the country will elect a new President, for additional information on if you are eligible to vote visit CanIVote.org