Opinion: Midterm election blues


Maggie Wachtel is a sophomore Public Relations major and a columnist for The Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Maggie Wachtel

This year’s midterm elections were the most expensive ever, with nearly $4 billion spent. All 435 members of the House of Representatives were up for re-election.

This election should’ve been big, but it wasn’t.

According to CNN, only one-third of registered voters turned out. That is the lowest midterm turnout since World War II, when only 33.9 percent of voters cast a ballot.

Those results are disappointing, but they shouldn’t be surprising. According to the Washington Post, voter turnout has been historically lower in recent midterm elections, specifically in 2006 and 2010.

Even though there was a lot at stake in this election, voters just didn’t seem to be interested. Gallup.com reported that only 40 percent of Americans were interested in or researched the midterm elections.

Republicans swept this election, effectively taking control of the senate and keeping control in the house. They scored key victories in North Carolina, West Virginia and Iowa, among others.

President Obama addressed the public the day after elections and stated, “To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose to not participate in the process yesterday, I hear you too.”

Only 36.4 percent of voters cast a ballot in this election. According to the Washington Post, 40.4 percent of voters cast a vote in the 2006 presidential election, compared with 41 percent in 2010.

President Obama may have been trying to convey a point to Republicans; they only swept this election because of poor voter turnout.

It would be hard for Republicans to make an argument that the nation doesn’t support President Obama’s policies when only 36.4 percent of the nation decided to vote.

Republicans’ voter demographic consists of predominantly white citizens with an average age of 50, according to MSNBC. The Republicans’ demographic also happens to be the one most likely to vote in elections.

But despite the low voter turnout, the Republican win shouldn’t come as a big surprise. The political party in office often suffers from what is known as the “six year itch”. It happened in 2006, when the Democratic party took control of the Senate and the House of Representatives during George W. Bush’s last two years in office. The same is happening with President Obama.