These 2018 Midterms Are Tests Because They Will Be Hard

2018 midterms, Senate, House of Representatives, primaries, Democrats, Republicans
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) is a Democratic hoping to unseat a Republican Senator this year. Specifically, he’s running against Sen. Ted Cruz in the general election. Here, O’Rourke can be seen at an event held for the 2016 President’s Leadership Council hosted by Inter-American Dialogue. Image via Flickr by Inter-American Dialogue. Some Rights Reserved.

The 2018 midterm elections are already underway, so I’d thought I’d keep a record of what has happened so far. I’d been thinking about doing something like this before, but my schedule was out of whack and I already passed up a chance to do something similar for 2016. Anyhoo, let’s take a look at the midterms from state to state and see how things are shaping up.

Note: I will need some time to catch up, but there have only been primaries in 10 states held so far. This post will be updated.


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What’s at Stake

This primary will serve as a test for factions within both major political parties (Republicans and Democrats). Republicans are trying to hold onto both houses of Congress, but Democrats have a chance to take at House. Democrats will have to defend 10 Senate seats in states Donald Trump carried in 2016 and Republicans have to defend fewer seats there, but Democrats only need 23 seats in the House to regain a majority there.

Republicans

Within the GOP, candidates will also see if they can win in various states by embracing Donald Trump or distancing themselves from him. In some of the special and off-year elections held since Trump’s inauguration, a pro-Trump stance has been met with mixed results.

Democrats

Democrats are contending with a civil war between the establishment and a significant portion of its base. While an anti-Trump tilt might work for some, there are progressives in the party and outside of it who are imploring Democrats to embrace all comers who want to help the party regain over 1,000 seats the part lost since 2009. More urgently, progressives would like the party to stick more to the issues and promote a few causes, like a raising the minimum wage and Medicare-for-All. In some states, incumbent Democrats are facing primary challenges, but those will be uphill battles for newcomers.

Overall

Coming into 2018, many people expected, anticipated, or feared a blue wave as Americans grew tired of Republican policies and started to revolt against Trump. Among the issues at play were the Republican’s attempts at gutting the Affordable Care Act, tax cuts, and net neutrality. (There have been rumblings about ending foreign wars from the left and right, but protesters have not been able to make much headway with politicians.)

Unfortunately for Democrats, Republicans are having some success with spinning the tax cuts in their favor. However, Democrats would be well served to remind people that the tax cuts have a sunset clause for those who are not uber-wealthy. more importantly, Republicans want to pay for those taxes by cutting popular social programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Democrats might make some headway by doing three things:

  • Promoting net neutrality.
  • Promoting universal health care.
  • Embracing the labor movement, especially with teachers in various states marching for fairer wages.

The progressive candidates who survive the primaries will be more likely to promote these issues, but the establishment is another story. We already know the Republicans won’t support these issues.

With that understood, let’s look at the primary schedule for this year.

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List of Primaries in 2018

This is a list of partisan primaries held within the states.1

  • March 6: Texas
  • March 20: Illinois
  • May 8: Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia
  • May 15: Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania
  • May 22: Arkansas (June 19 runoff), Georgia (July 24 runoff), Kentucky
  • June 5: Alabama (July 17 runoff), California, Iowa, Mississippi (June 26 runoff), Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota
  • June 12: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina (June 26 runoff), Virginia
  • June 26: Colorado, Maryland, New York2, Oklahoma (August 28 runoff), Utah
  • August 2: Tennessee
  • August 7: Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington
  • August 11: Hawaii
  • August 14: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, Wisconsin
  • August 21: Alaska, Wyoming
  • August 28: Arizona, Florida
  • September 4: Massachusetts
  • September 6: Delaware
  • September 11: New Hampshire
  • September 12: Rhode Island
  • September 13: New York
  • November 6: Louisiana3 (December 8 runoff)

The primary season starts in early March and extends through mid-September.

Notes:

  1. Most states have state legislative elections in even-numbered years. Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia run legislative elections in odd-numbered years.
  2. New York has a split primary. All primaries for national elections will be held on June 26, while all state elections will be held on September 13.
  3. Louisiana has an all-comers election that will be held on November 6. There is no real primary, but there will be a runoff for any seat if no candidate wins at least 50% of the vote.

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2017-2018 Timeline

This post was originally going to include all of the events from 2017 and this year, but as I added more information, I realized that was a fool’s errand. This format is not fit for very long timelines.

That said, I will include summaries of key events from 2017 and 2018 that are connected to the midterms, along with results of the primaries and Election Day in November. This is how I will break things up:

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In addition to the timeline, I will include some related posts:

  • Will We See a Blue Wave in 2018?
  • Republicans Will Try to Hold onto Their Seats by Cheating
  • Midterm Wrap-up [Might be re-titled later]

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