Midterms 2018: The Fight for the Future

Election 2018.  The Midterms. The election that will replace the entirety of the House of Representatives, one third of the Senate 36 governorships and certain state legislature seats.  

This upcoming election on Nov. 6th has been deemed the most important in modern American political history by many in politics and the media.  Democrats and Republicans alike are fighting for votes in both Congressional houses unlike what we have ever seen before.

The hysteria of Donald Trump’s presidency in the election of 2016 set in motion the tide of division in the United States.  Since then, the divide between political parties has been growing rapidly. But, what exactly does all of this mean for the voters of Port Washington?

Port Washington voters will be voting in both national and state elections, rather than local elections for town and country positions which occurred in 2017.  Perhaps the most significant position that Port Washington voters have on their ballots is one of the Senator positions representing New York in Washington, D.C.  

The current Democratic candidate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has represented New York in the United States Senate for ten years, and has won both her elections in landslides.  Gillibrand won 63 percent of the vote in 2010 and 72 percent of the vote in 2012. Polling source FiveThirtyEight currently has Gillibrand at a 99.9 percent likelihood that she will maintain the seat.  

Gillibrand’s rhetoric during this campaign has had major political implications.  According to many sources, including The New York Times and CNN, Gillibrand has aspirations of moving onto the White House in a 2020 presidential run.  These aspirations seem to have possibly revealed themselves in her several visits to the important primary state of New Hampshire.  

While Senator Gillibrand will most likely remain in her current seat, the actions that she has taken thus far in her senatorial campaign could impact the possibility for her to have a seat in the Oval Office in 2020.  

Another election that is all but decided among New York voters is the race for governor.  Current democratic governor Andrew Cuomo has a 23 point lead in the polls according to FiveThirtyEight.  This can also be partially attributed to the fact that most New Yorkers have never heard of his opponent.  

Marc Molinaro, current Dutchess county executive and Cuomo’s republican opponent, is running out of money and time to change the opinions of New York voters.  He has been ineffective in getting his message out to the voters using public platforms, and has only succeeded in scheduling one debate with Governor Cuomo.

The Oct. 23rd debate presented itself to be a helpless effort on the part of Mr. Molinaro and a comedy central roast on the part of Governor Cuomo.  It fell into partisan and personal attacks, leaving many voters more confused about their positions than when they first tuned in.

In the race for New York Attorney general, either candidate, if elected, would be the first African American Attorney Generals in the history of New York.  

Letitia James, public advocate representative from New York City, and Keith Wofford, a partner at the Ropes & Grey law firm, have pledged to take on the corruption in New York’s justice system.  These ambitions mainly surrounded the sudden resignation of former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in May after he was accused of sexual assault by four different women.

A Siena College poll taken at the beginning of October shows James leading by 14 points.  Whatever the outcome, New Yorkers will be taking an undeniable historical action on Nov. 6th by electing the states first African American Attorney General.  

The election for state comptroller could be more more exciting than the average New Yorker might anticipate.  The office of the state comptroller is responsible for the financial accountability and security of the state government.  On the Democratic side, Mr. Thomas DiNapoli is running to retain his seat that he has held since 2007. Prior to his first taking office, DiNapoli was a state assemblyman from the 16th district of New York, in which Port Washington is a part of.  Thus, given his political history, DiNapoli has some edge with New York voters.

His Republican opponent, Jonathan Trichter, a former campaign advisor and public finance banker, believes he knows how to beat DiNapoli better than anyone.  In fact in 2010, Trichter almost beat DiNapoli for the position as campaign manager for Republican Harry Wilson.

This race has taken a step aside from partisan politics, with the candidates seeming to be prioritizing the financial security of New York State.  

Port Washington voters will also have to elect a congressman for the House of Representatives.  While the 3rd house district, spanning Commack to Queens, has been solidly Democratic since New York was redistricted in 2013, Republican challenger Dan Debono is up to the challenge against Democratic Congressman Thomas Suozzi.  According to FiveThirtyEight, there is a 99.6 percent likelihood that the Congressman will retain his seat.  

In their debate on Oct. 25th, Suozzi highlighted his ability to reach across the aisle and work, “behind the scenes as vice chair of the bipartisan problem-solvers caucus to meet local needs.”  

Throughout the campaign Suozzi has also tried to bring focus to his environmental plans for a “navy cleanup of the toxic underground plume in Bethpage, as part of a $30 million defense spending plan.”  

Debono, on the other hand, has touted his military and financial experience in his plans to strengthen the middle class economy of Long Island and protect the interests of veterans.  

Port voters will also have to decide on their New York state legislature representative.  In the race for the 16th State Assembly district Italian native and longtime New Yorker, Anthony D’Urso is running to retain his seat, which he first won back in 2016.  

The Democrats currently hold the assembly 103 to 41, a strong supermajority that they believe they can easily hold in 2018.  For this reason, D’Urso is expected to win handedly in a heavily democratic district comprised of Port Washington, Great Neck and Roslyn.  

Republican challenger Mr. Byron Divins Jr. has received minimal support and funding to oust the incumbent, raising only $26,000 to D’Urso’s $52,000 according to The Island Now.  

However, both candidates come from a strong background of service.  Divins Jr. served in the Navy for 20 years aboard the USS Kitty Hawk and Theodore Roosevelt.  

He said, “When I was in the Navy I didn’t stop to ask a fellow sailor his political party affiliation before asking for his help,” and he hopes to bring this same bipartisan attitude to Albany.  

Assemblyman D’Urso at 81 years old, has had a lifetime of service in a variety of aspects; from helping to hide Jews in the holocaust back in Italy when he was just a boy, to helping transport water to local villages in Kenya at the age of 75.  

However, D’Urso’s two years in Albany have given him an advantage over Divins Jr., as he has touted his accomplishments in pushing for gun control with the organization Moms Demand Action and efforts to preserve clean drinking water with a $2.5 billion dollar initiative.  

Perhaps the most significant race that Port Washington voters will have on their ballots will be for New York State Senator.  The fight for the 7th district, which stretches from Port Washington to Elmont, has become one of the most competitive out of all 63 races in 2018.  

In 2016, current incumbent and Republican candidate Elaine Phillips beat Democrat Adam Haber by just two percent margin.  However, democratic challenger and Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman, Anna Kaplan plans on winning.

This is an extremely pivotal race because the state senate has a current slim 32 to 31 Republican majority.  

“Long Island is key to securing a much-needed Democratic majority in the state Senate that will fight back against Trump’s tax plan that will cost families millions, who will pass common-sense gun legislation and root our public corruption,” said Mike Murphy, Democratic Senate Campaign Committee spokesman.  

In this election, Port Washington voters have an important decision to make, not only for the future of the 7th Senate district, but for the future of the balance of power in the State Senate for the next two years.  

The 2018 midterms are extremely significant to Port Washington voters.  While the outcomes in Port may not affect the balance of power on a national scale, they still affect the governance of people in their day to day lives.  Taxes, housing and the environment, along with many others, are all issues that the citizens of Port Washington ought to consider when casting their ballots on Tuesday.  

Nov. 6th is important for both Republicans and Democrats, Californians and New Yorkers, young voters and old; “effective participation” is integral to the preservation of our democracy.  

That being said, the implications of the Midterm Election nationwide is greater than that of the already drastic statewide effects.  This is because the election will potentially flip the majority of the House in favor of the Republicans and the results of the Senate vote are uncertain.  

In the big picture, there are currently 72 seats in the House that face intense competitions, according to Cook Political Report, a non-partisan election handicapper.  

Because there are 72 seats in the House that remain anybody’s game, along with the fact that 39 Democrats and 18 Republicans are not running for office again, the control of the House is relatively predictable.  For the past eight years now, the House of Representatives has been majority Republican, and all of that is supposed to change this election, hence the predictability. FiveThirtyEight anticipates a 7 in 8 chance that the democrats will secure control, just proving the almost certain situation in regards to the election in the House.  

Unlike the House, the conditions in the Senate are not nearly as predictable.  

One of these controversial competitions exists in Missouri between Republican State Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic Senator Claire Mccaskill.  A Fox News poll from the beginning of October found the race as a tie.  However, more recent polls from the Missouri Scout gives a four point lead to Hawley.  This is one of the most crucial races in the Senate, as we could see the Republicans claim a formerly Democratic seat.  

Another hugely important race is the one in Nevada between Republican Senator Dean Heller and Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen.  Rosen emerged as the favorite early on in the race, with multiple polls in her favor in September. However, as Election Day approaches, Heller is pulling ahead.  A poll carried out in mid-October by Ipsos had him leading by seven points—a substantial lead relative to his less-than-favorable position just a month ago.

Getting young people out to vote has been a perpetual issue for generations, yet this year seems like it may be different: with heightened excitement on both sides of the aisle, voter turnout is expected to be high, especially among young people and minority voters, who see this election as especially important.  

According to a poll from The Schreiber Times, 88 percent of students claimed to know that the midterm elections were coming up, while only 12 percent admitted to not being aware of this.  

Within Schreiber, most students are fairly or very excited about the prospect of voting and the change they can make in the nation.  Yet, for various reasons, just as with many others, many feel disenfranchised and do not plan on voting. Some feel that they are uninformed, uninterested, or simply are not confident that their vote can make a difference.  

Many suggestions were made towards fixing this issue of the uninformed public in this poll by The Schreiber Times.  

“I think it’d be a good idea to share the candidates’ stance on different issues, as well as give us a background on the candidates themselves,” said junior John Alexander.  

An anonymous student also suggested inviting candidates in for assemblies.  Either solution would be greater than leaving the students of Schreiber in the dark during this election, which seems to be the case in some instances.  

So, for those among our student community lucky enough to be 18, we implore you to hit the polls.  And for those not participating in this election, hopefully now you are well-informed and understand the severity of this midterm election and the weight of a single vote.  After all, that is what democracy was intended to preserve.