Voting at St Luke Lutheran Church on Nov 6th, 2018 (Michael Wenye Li / Sun Photography Editor)

November 7, 2018

EDITORIAL: The 2018 Midterms Are the First Step Toward a More Accountable America

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Tuesday’s election results were a mixed bag — that much is sure. But anyone who reads the 2018 midterms as anything other than a repudiation of President Trump’s tenure is mistaken. The American people have voted to reject the Republican party by a near-double digit margin in House races across the country. No amount of geographical quirks that plagued Democrats in the various US Senate races can obscure the message the entire American electorate has sent. Trump’s policies of division, his attempts to strip people of healthcare and dignity, and his entire administration’s culture of corruption will not stand.

The Democratic House majority must immediately re-engage in the Congressional oversight responsibilities shirked by Republicans for the past two years. The list of this administration’s failures is long, but the Democrats now have two years to examine them all. The American people deserve to know how much money Trump’s family members and administration officials have profited from their time in public “service.” They deserve to know the depths of the administration’s (and Jared Kushner’s) under-the-table dealings with Saudi Arabia. They deserve to know why four American soldiers were killed in Niger with nary an explanation. And when Robert Mueller releases his final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, the American people need to know that Congress will not sweep any damaging details under the rug. With a Democratic House of Representatives, we are hopeful that all this will come to pass.

In Florida, even though Democrat Andrew Gillum came up just short to Ron DeSantis, Proposition 4,  which restores voting rights to as many as 1.6 million people with felony convictions, passed by a wide margin. And in the Kansas gubernatorial race, Democrat Laura Kelly defeated vote-suppressor-in-chief Kris Kobach, who chaired Trump’s farcical “Voter Integrity Commission” while pushing through one of the nation’s strictest voter ID laws as Kansas Secretary of State. Both are victories for democracy.

For Cornellians, even though NY-23 Democrat Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 is headed to defeat, there is hope in tonight’s results. A Democratic House will be able to push back against Trump’s most radical policies on immigration, gender discrimination and climate change. And for at least another two years, Republicans will be stymied in their continuous attempt to repeal the lifesaving Affordable Care Act. It also appears that Democrats will finally retake the New York State Senate — putting them in position to pass the much-needed Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, shore up the fledgling Excelsior scholarship program and finally consider the legalization of marijuana. Yes, there is hope tonight.

And congratulations to Sharice Davids J.D. ’10, who, in winning Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District will be the first Native American woman to serve in Congress, the first lesbian from Kansas to serve in Congress, and a welcome addition to the burgeoning Cornellian caucus in Washington, D.C.