Opinion: Enjoy your rights and make your vote count

Posted on Nov 1 2018 - 5:50am by Brandon Brown

The 2018 midterm elections will decide the fate of which party holds a majority in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Many states that were once solid Republican or Democrat are now a toss-up, meaning every vote will count.

If the Republicans want to hold their narrow majority of 51-49 over Democrats in the Senate, all of their supporters will need to turn out to keep them in power. Currently, eight states are toss-ups, which means those states can be used to keep or gain a majority for each party in the House and Senate.

To sum it up, it’s close.

The margins are extremely narrow for this election, and it will all come down to voter turnout on Election Day. Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, the importance of voting on Nov. 6 cannot be understated.

Unlike the presidential election where it comes down to the electoral college, the popular vote really does matter in the midterms.

Mississippi, for example, has both a Senate election and a special election occurring for both of its seats. The forerunners of the special election going into November are Mike Espy and Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Espy has garnered an impressive following throughout Mississippi and has the best chance of winning out of any Mississippi Democrat in decades. However, he claims the only thing holding him back from a decisive victory is his own party. He says, “if they don’t vote for me, it will be

because of their idea of what I represent as a party person.” With that said, it will certainly be a hurdle he’ll need to overcome.

Then there’s Hyde-Smith, a Democrat-turned-Republican with the backing of President Trump and her own state government. She will have to battle both Espy and Republican challenger Chris McDaniel. Although McDaniel trails significantly, it might be enough to prevent Hyde-Smith from achieving the 50 percent margin she needs to win the special election.

With this said, it’s safe to say Mississippi is an important battleground state in the midterm elections and will help shape the majority in the Senate. Other embattled states include Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana and Missouri, which are all set for contentious battles.

Unfortunately, many polls shows that even with these historic elections taking place, many registered voters still don’t seem likely to vote. In fact, poor voter turnout is particularly pronounced during midterm elections and even more so among college-aged students. Only about 13 percent of people ages 18-34 are expected to vote in the midterms.

A fallacy many voters seem to fall victim to is that the midterms aren’t important. That sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth. For example, if President Trump is elected for another term, his presidency will effectively be useless without a Republican-controlled Senate and House to follow him. So, get out there and enjoy your rights as an American citizen. Vote.

Brandon Brown is a senior psychology major from Laurel.