Featured Image: Democrats and Republicans face off in the 2022 midterm elections. Mel Lhuillier|Marlin Chronicle
Over the last decade, Congress has seemed more like a battlefield, a place where many people are scared to share their opinions.
Since 2015, the Democrats and Republicans have moved farther and farther away from moderacy, despite 37% of people labeling themselves as moderate according to a poll conducted by Gallup in early 2022.
Why are candidates becoming more divisive and what can we do as voters to get the divisiveness out of Congress? What does it mean to be a divisive politician?
Divisive politicians are those who make us feel that we are unable to share our true feelings, make you feel bad for what you believe, or just say that the other side is wrong and that you can’t associate with them. In essence, they are anyone who wants to further the divide between the left and right.
Due to the United States’ two-party system, candidates have progressively been leaving the center since the founding of the Republican party in the 1860’s. Since Donald J. Trump announced he would be running for president in 2015, candidates have been running strictly on attacking the other candidate(s). This includes the last two presidential elections but was seen mostly in the 2020 election between the current president, Joe Biden, and Trump.
I see this trend as stemming from the fact that most people believed Trump to be a very divisive candidate, so to see him win the presidency in 2016 led to a number of candidates trying to repeat his strategy, which included many attacks on his opponents. Attacking one’s opponents has proved successful for political leaders such as Elaine Luria, Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
However, most of these candidates who run on attacking their opponent, for example Terry McAulliffe, a former Virginia governor, end their campaign crashing and burning, especially in Virginia.
Within the Commonwealth, we see that more and more of the debated issues are what people actually care about and changes they wish to see in the state. People are becoming less concerned about who our leaders are and instead what they will do.
This year the election will come down to three key issues: economics, education and abortion.
Looking at ratings from FiveThirtyEight, Republicans have a 70% chance of winning the House of Representatives. This is because Republicans support parents having a say and voice in their children’s education. They also have a concern for the state of the economy due to the failures of the Biden administration.
Democrats are still capable of holding the House; however, the only issue they are running on is abortion, which many districts don’t feel strongly about. The ones that do are already safe for the Democrats.
The Senate Elections will be a much closer call than those for the House.
Two races will be kept under close eye, with famous figures running for the Republicans in both: in Pennsylvania with Dr. Mehmet Oz, television personality, and in Georgia with Hershel Walker, NFL running back. Both are facing Democrat-held seats which is usually an uphill battle and this trend continues for both Walker and Oz. They are already well known figures, but are outsiders when it comes to politics, which might work in their favor, a trend we see more and more from Republicans.
How will it play out in November?
The most likely scenario, based on recent polls, is that Republicans win the House by around 7-10 representatives and Democrats hold the Senate with either 50 or 51 senators. However, things can change very quickly and usually the most change happens in October.
What does it all mean?
We won’t know anything until Election Day. That’s why it’s so important to go out and vote, and when you vote, bring three friends to vote as well. If you can’t go home to vote, request a mail-in ballot at your respective state’s elections site. In the end, no matter where you sit on the political spectrum, you need to vote. That is the only way to get the country back on track: make your voice heard and vote.
By: John M. Post