Political forum offers insight on the 2018 midterm election


Professor Dwyre hosts the Justice and Politics Forum detailing the midterm election on Wednesday evening. Photo credit: Nate Rettinger

Diana Dwyre, a political science professor at Chico State, held a forum on Wednesday to answer the many questions regarding the recent 2018 midterm election.

Professor Dwyre hosts the Justice and Politics Forum detailing the midterm election on Wednesday evening. Photo credit: Nate Rettinger

Dwyre began by addressing the assumptions that surround midterms and elections in general. Assumptions such as incumbents always winning their elections, the president’s party losing more seats in Congress and that young people don’t care about voting.

One of the theories that plagued polling leading up to Trump’s election in 2016 and the following midterms two years later was that young people don’t care about voting. Dwyre addressed the misinterpretation by stating that the turnout for the 2018 midterm elections, in regards to young people (ages 19-29), went up 10 percent; a huge change compared to past elections. Past elections saw only 21 percent of young people participating in elections.

A graph showing the increase in young people turning out to vote for midterm elections. Statistics by The Center For Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

Dwyre stated the voter turnout wasn’t just high for young people, but for the whole country. The voter turnout for the 2018 midterms was 49.2 percent, which is the highest it’s been since 1914 (50 percent). Turnout was high everywhere in the country, except for two districts.

“We aren’t really sure why,” Dwyre said. “Maybe it had something to do with the idea that midterm elections are a referendum on the president’s performance.”

Dwyre also confirmed that many Republicans did see some of their districts swing left. The Democrats saw 337 districts across the country swing to the left of the political spectrum, 174 of those being Republican districts previously, according to Dwyre.

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Professor Dwyre explains the politics behind drawing up district lines Wednesday evening at the Justice and Politics Forum. Photo credit: Nate Rettinger

Dwyre also addressed the history of incumbents winning re-election more often by stating the percentage of incumbents winning has gone down. The number is still high though, up to 97 percent in recent years.

Ben Savercool, a political science major at Chico State, thought highly of the forum and appreciated the chance to learn.

“It’s good to have someone as wise as Professor Dwyre get in your head with all her world experience,” Savercool said.

At the end of the seminar, Dwyre discussed why the forum was held.

“What I hope people got from the seminar is how many different factors can influence the outcome of our elections and that they’re not simple straightforward things to try and interpret,” Dwyre said.

Nate Rettinger can be reached at [email protected] or @NRettinger19.