Alarmed at the direction of politics? Don’t give up. Vote.

October 29, 2018 — by Edwin Chen and Justin Guo

The 2016 presidential election showed the American people the epitome of what could happen when people don’t show up at the polls. According to CNN, voter turnout in 2016 was at a 20-year low, with only 55.4 percent of eligible voters casting votes. This is deeply troubling.

The Nov. 6 midterm elections are a pivotal moment for our nation. The last two years have been troubling times in Washington, and recent events such as the Kavanaugh hearing highlight the train wreck of the current administration.

In light of these events, it is increasingly important for Americans, including eligible 18-year-olds at this school, to take to the polls. Every single ballot counts, regardless of how insignificant it may seem.

This year, 435 House of Representatives seats are up for grabs, while 33 Senate seats are available. In the House elections, Democrats need to win 23 seats in order to flip the House. Democrats are starting with the 23 Republican-held districts that voted for Clinton, but they are utilizing other opportunities in cities populated by college graduates in opposition to President Trump in order to gain more seats.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, the odds of a Democratic takeover are looking doubtful. Twenty-six Democratic seats are up for grabs, while only nine Republican seats are being voted on. To win back a majority, Democrats would not only have to keep all the seats that they have, some of which are in regions where Trump has gained favor, but they would also have to pick up two seats. This is possible, though there is little room for error.

No matter the results, the midterm elections will have a significant impact on the foreseeable future of America.

If the Democrats are able to turn either legislative body, Trump’s agenda will be much harder to pass for the next two years.

In addition, if Democrats win the House, there will be more investigations into the misdeeds of the Trump administration and campaign. Currently, the committees, which possess subpoena powers, are controlled by the majority party, Republicans. If Democrats can flip either house, they will run those committees.

Participating in the midterm elections will also have a significant impact in your local community as well.

Prop 10 is currently one of the most controversial items being voted upon this election in California.

Prop 10 allows for local rent control ordinances and hurts both homeowners and tenants by allowing the regulation of single-family homes, which in turn drives up living costs and puts bureaucrats in charge of housing, leading to fewer available rentals and higher rents for the majority of renters.

This and dozens of other decisions are on the ballot. For eligible students and adults alike, voting in the midterm elections is a critical responsibility now more than ever.

Whether you believe in the right-leaning agenda that the Republicans are pushing or you want a change in the dynamic of policies, only you have the power to influence the future of America and the direction that we go in. Go out, vote and participate in the democracy. It is your civic duty.

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