The 2018 Midterm was serious business. Cornell has been a roaring fire of political intensity for the last two weeks. Opinion columnists (I’m sure you can guess the specific ones) have been yelling all night. More of my friends voted than I thought possible, although some Cornellians — either disillusioned with the political process (fine, but a weak excuse) or simply disinterested (c’mon) — never filled out a ballot. Although we probably won’t get a true break from electioneering until after the 2020 race, I’ll be content with clearing my inbox of daily asks for campaign donations and “shockingly new analysis” from pollsters and Nate Silver himself.
At the point of writing, the next holders of many of the 470 federal offices on the ballot this year have been decided. Beginning with Kentucky at 6 p.m., polls have closed across the country, with Democrats taking the House and Republicans consolidating their control of the Senate. Perhaps even more important than these federal elections, though, are state elections, which will have more numerous and longer-lasting implications. In the midst of our current political divisions, state governments not only provide a place for opponents of federal policies to try out their own policies, but state attorneys general have increasingly used their offices to launch legal challenges against the actions and policies of presidential administrations. It is not just in their role as laboratories of democracy, though, that the results of state elections will play an important role in future elections.