Last week we have witnessed one of the most debated midterm elections in American history. Many Germans are wondering about the current situation in the U.S. and are eager to talk about the future of the US and transatlantic relations.
We asked students at Leipzig University about their key takeaways from the elections and what they thought of the results. Read what they had to say below:
Sean Hays, 23
MA student of Global Studies
If the midterms are to be viewed as a referendum on Trump’s performance, that the Republicans gained in the Senate (which favors rural voters) but lost in the House (which better takes into account urban voters) shows that America remains partisanly divided regarding Trump. Democrats losing the Senate is unsurprising but also emblematic of Democratic voters’ tendency to cluster in urban areas, a problem which was huge for Clinton in 2016 when she won the popular vote by 3 million but lost the electoral college. Additionally, Democratic control of the House means they can open up investigations into the Trump administration, raising the spectre of Democratic show trials against Trump as a way to play to their base – thus exacerbating the partisanship which has been a hallmark of not just Trump but contemporary American politics. Midterms confirmed most of what we knew: America is divided. We’ll see how the new landscape plays out before the 2020 election.
Fabienne Sajedi, 25
BA student of American Studies & Political Science
The Elections confirmed that the Republicans will not stay in control of the Congress. Voters elected members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the Democrats gained control of the House while Republicans kept power in the Senate. Now more women will serve in Congress, which has a positive effect on women rights and gender equality. The midterm election was in favor of women’s political empowerment and since now the majority of the districts will be represented by females.
Valeska Scardi, 24
BA student of American Studies
The overall reaction I felt here in Chicago, right after the election, was positive. Positive for me and many of my friends here was that so many seats were taken by women and or other members of minority groups, like Ayanna Pressley or Deb Haaland. Other outcomes in states like Texas, where Beto O’Rourke did not win the election, were rather disappointing.
That more women got elected feels like a big step after the whole Kavanaugh “crisis”. I personally could feel it gave women of my age a bit of release and hope after there were a couple of anxious and depressing months here in the States, in which the news just didn’t look like there was any hope for a good outcome at the election.
I believe that the outcome of the midterm election could activate a certain confidence for Americans to vote again or vote at all after seeing some different outcomes after the election in 2016, as more women and minorities got elected and the Democrats have gained the House of Representatives.
A more diverse Congress will hopefully in the future be reflected in their legislative process as well. What concerns me about next presidential elections is that promising candidates of the Democratic Party like Beto O’Rourke or Florida’s Andrew Gillum did not get into the Senate.
We are constantly confronted with news about anti-immigrant rhetoric and right-wing populism, but the midterm election have reminded people that it is worth standing up for democracy and diversity in order to go towards change. Even if it feels like a small step. It is a step.