NU community offers different opinions on midterm outcome


Nick Swindell, deputy campus editor

The 2018 midterm elections took place Nov. 6, and for the first time since 1970, the president’s party gained seats in one chamber of congress and lost seats in the other. Northeastern students and faculty were split on what to take away from the elections, but all tended to agree that the results hold strong ramifications for the future.

In total, Democrats gained 39 seats in the House of Representatives and Republicans gained two Senate seats. Prior to the elections, some thought Congress would be hit with a “blue wave” of widespread Democratic wins.

Perception of the results has been split in the country and in the NU community. Northeastern political science professor William G. Mayer said he thinks Republicans underperformed in the midterms as a result of having elected Trump.

“My big takeaway from the election is that the Republicans payed a severe price for having nominated Donald Trump as the president,” Mayer said. “If there had been somebody else in the oval office for the past two years, they would have done a lot better in both the House and the Senate.”

Mayer also gave insight as to what the midterms suggest for the future.

“It gives Democrats a nice platform from which to investigate Trump,” Mayer said. “The Republicans still have control of the Senate, so Trump can continue to appoint judges and it probably suggests that Trump is very vulnerable in the 2020 election if the Democrats nominate somebody reasonable against them, but it’s hard to say if it will.”

Yael Sheinfeld, NU College Democrats’ director of communications and a second-year English and communications studies combined major, was optimistic about what the midterms say for the future of Democrats in Congress.

“I was very pleased with the results of the election. Democrats regained control of the House, and many young, progressive candidates were elected,” Sheinfeld said in an email to The News. “All in all, it was a successful outcome for Dems. Looking forward, the Democratic success in the midterm elections is a great indication of success in the future.”

Sander Straus, a fourth-year business administration and political science combined major, said he thought the Democratic Party failed to live up to the pre-election hype.

“I don’t think it was a blue wave, I called it a blue ripple [on my radio show]. While Democrats can claim that they won something, they didn’t really win that much,” said Straus, a member of NU College Republicans, or NUCR. “Had they taken both chambers then maybe but because they only took one and lost two or three seats in the Senate, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a wave. They also don’t have a substantial majority in the house.”

Straus said Democrats will look bad if they try to impeach Trump, and that “this is their chance to pass a lot of bills, or at least get them done in the house.”

A big focus of the election in Massachusetts was Question 3 on the ballot. The question decided whether to uphold law requiring “access to areas segregated based on gender — such as bathrooms and locker rooms — to be allowed according to an individual’s self-identified gender identity.”

Brian Chandler, a first-year undeclared major and member of NUCR, said he doesn’t think that the existing law has accomplished anything for the transgender community in Boston.

“It does not actually represent the needs of the community … it’s not bringing attention to any of the actual discrimination this community faces,” Chandler said. “People are acting like this is gonna be a save-all, but in reality it’s going to save no one from the harassment, discrimination or homicide within the community itself that’s mostly affected by these issues.”

Sheinfeld said the law protecting the rights of transgender individuals is necessary.

“I do think other states should pass legislation to protect trans rights,” Sheinfeld said. “While it is unfortunate that this sort of legislature has to be explicitly passed, it is the job of each state to protect their transgender population.”

Voters in Massachusetts ultimately voted “Yes” on the question 68 to 32, deciding to uphold the anti-discrimination law passed in 2016 and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

The 2018 midterms were widely perceived on both sides of the political spectrum to be among the most important elections in modern U.S. history.

“It’s very important for individuals to stay informed and vote. Politics are personal, especially with our current political sphere,” Sheinfeld said. “While you individually may not feel impacted by politics, many people in our community count on progressive legislation to afford them welfare, simple civil rights or protections, healthcare etc. It’s important to stay educated and continue to make your voice heard.”