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Local and national results of the 2022 Midterms

As results come in and vote counts are wrapping up, the outcome of the 2022 Midterm election is proving to be unexpected and historic. 

For weeks leading up to Nov. 8, Republicans touted an impending ‘red wave,’ meaning that they would win back control of Congress and deliver sweeping victories across the nation; this expectation wasn’t unfounded, as midterm elections historically retaliate against the party of the current president. While Republicans are inching towards a slim majority in the House, the overwhelming victories they expected did not materialize: Democrats kept control of the Senate, holding on to 50 seats and possibly another as Georgia’s candidates– Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker– head toward a December 6 runoff. 

These results have left the Republican party contending with the cause of the worst midterm performance by an out-of-power party in 20 years. Some analysts point to bad candidates, while others say that the party’s divided support for former President Trump caused the downfall of candidates backed by him. Democrats credit recent policy decisions by the opposing party, such as restrictions on abortion rights following the June Roe v. Wade decision, as well as a surge of young people at the polls, as an explanation for their success. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts, about 27% of people aged 18-29 cast a ballot and preferred Democrats by a 28-point margin. 

Across the country, citizens voiced their positions on key issues by casting votes on ballot measures and initiatives. In Kentucky, which holds one of the country’s most restrictive abortion bans, an anti-abortion amendment was defeated. In Michigan and California, voters approved an initiative to enshrine abortion rights into the Constitution. Maryland and Missouri became the latest states to legalize marijuana, joining nearly half the country in making the substance legal for people 21 and older. In three other states– North Dakota, Arkansas, and South Dakota– voters rejected the same initiative.

In Oakland, which uses a ranked-choice voting system, Loren Taylor has received a plurality of first-choice votes for Oakland mayor. His platform promises expanded housing and mental health programs to address homelessness, as well as a stronger partnership with local law enforcement and increased investment in violence prevention services to make Oakland safer. He also aims to build a more transparent government, help underserved communities achieve equal opportunities, and promote wellness in the community.  

Voters also had a chance to vote on 10 ballot measures proposed in the city, all of which are on track to pass. Two education measures, H and S, fund college preparation and career readiness programs and allow noncitizens who are parents or guardians to vote in school board elections, respectively. Measure U improves funding for infrastructure and affordable housing, Measure T creates a progressive tax rate, and Measure W provides $4 million in vouchers to Oakland residents to be used for contributing to local candidates. The final significant measure– Measure X– establishes term limits for council members. 

On campus, students reacted positively to the election outcome. 

Freshman Allie Smithie, who voted because she believed the outcome of the election would impact the future of democracy, participated in the election in her home state of New York using an absentee ballot; according to her,  “the process was really easy for me— it took less than five minutes to fill out the form online and when I got the ballot it had really clear instructions on how to fill it out and send it back. I also didn’t have to pay postage.” 

Speaking on the outcome of the nationwide election, Smithie said that she was relieved: “In terms of the overall outcome I’m relieved that the predicted ‘red wave’ didn’t actually take place and I’m glad that candidates who are election deniers were mostly defeated.”

Lily Ben-Eli, also a freshman, also expressed relief that the ‘red wave’ didn’t materialize: “I’m pretty happy with [the results]– the East Coast is continually Democratic and it was nice to see that consistency. I think people don’t take into account population density– like when they talk about the ‘red wave’– many areas appear red but there are actually fewer people there.”