USA mid-term elections

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sweetie
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USA mid-term elections

Post by sweetie » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:43 am

I deliberately left this a while as I didn’t want it to spill over into a heat of the moment party political debate, or a debate on the USA President (though if it does, it does).

No, it’s merely a question of process and understanding. The USA mid-term elections were widely reported over here, but primarily on how they impacted the President.

My question though is more fundamental around what are they, how do they work, and what do they mean? To be honest, I don’t really understand exactly what they are.

Thank you.
sweetie x
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TheGoodWifeLife
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Re: USA mid-term elections

Post by TheGoodWifeLife » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:13 am

[Midterm elections in the United States are the general elections held in November every four years, near the midpoint of a president's four-year term of office. Federal offices that are up for election during the midterms are members of the United States Congress, including all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives, and 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate.

In addition, 34 of the 50 U.S. states elect their governors to four-year terms during midterm elections. On the ballot are many mayors, other local public offices, and a wide variety of citizen initiatives.]

That was my cut and paste version from Wikipedia lol. We elect some new members of Congress, which is either a democrat or republican candidate (third parties run, but the main 2 parties are always the majority of the votes, for now). Depending on whether these seats in the House or Senate are majority filled with the sitting president’s political party or the opposing one, it will affect the president’s ability to pass new legislation or make changes to our laws. Locally, midterms are very important to some because those are where our state and city elect our governors, senators (our state’s representatives in Washington), and many public offices at the local level. Those are the people elected to fix our roads, uphold our laws, fight for the things our state/city wants and needs done.
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darrone
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Re: USA mid-term elections

Post by darrone » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:40 am

My impression is that US politics is more partisan and polarised than ever before. Democrats took control of the House of Representatives by increasing their support in suburban areas. Republicans held on to the Senate by doing well in rural regions.

I think the big question for the Democrats is this: what kind of candidate will have the best chance of defeating Trump in 2020?

TheGoodWifeLife
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Re: USA mid-term elections

Post by TheGoodWifeLife » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:01 am

Our country’s media has become very polarized in that, they either portray Trump as our “savior” or “literally Hitler”. It appears to many, especially outsiders, that we are a divided nation on the verge of civil unrest. The truth is, most of us “little people” are in the middle. We’re just trying to live our best life. Many people couldn’t care less about politics. Some have strong opinions one way or the other, but I believe that most of us are much more willing to discuss, debate, and find common ground to compromise on than the loudest voices that make it onto TV and newspapers make it appear. Outside of social media (in the REAL world), I’ve never seen or heard anyone acting like the the sky is falling. I live in a diverse area and we have friends of all races, religions, sexual orientation. Every single one of them agrees the media’s gone crazy lol We’re not all at each other’s throats and rioting in the streets. That’s been the picture most often painted to the rest of the world and even within America, but it’s simply not the truth. My best advice to anyone who hears or reads something is to take it with a grain of salt. There’s almost always more to a story, it’s almost always sensationalized, and it’s likely only been told from one perspective. There are some do awful things and the “other side” will always do their best to spin it to fit their agenda rather than to tell just the truth. He/she did an evil thing.
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Kerry
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Re: USA mid-term elections

Post by Kerry » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:22 am

But Facebook is scary. If it’s a political article or cartoon, war starts in the comments below. I see a definite unnerving division even though I try my best to live a happy life outside of politics.
Key

SurrealSD
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Re: USA mid-term elections

Post by SurrealSD » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:33 am

Kerry wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:22 am
But Facebook is scary. If it’s a political article or cartoon, war starts in the comments below. I see a definite unnerving division even though I try my best to live a happy life outside of politics.
There's an entire industry devoted to creating content that will divide us and make us hate each other. When I learned that, it was easier to ignore it all.
But first, have you tried sitting down with your partner and telling them honestly how you feel?

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Re: USA mid-term elections

Post by TheGoodWifeLife » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:53 am

Kerry wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:22 am
But Facebook is scary. If it’s a political article or cartoon, war starts in the comments below. I see a definite unnerving division even though I try my best to live a happy life outside of politics.
You’re right, social media gets downright embarrassing. I think outside of TV, computers, newspapers, out in the real world interacting with other humans is much less divisive. I guess that’s what I was trying to say. We are bolder on social media. It’s like it brings out the worst traits in so many of us and it’s far too easy to forget you’re talking to another actual person with their own struggles and needs. We dehumanize those we disagree with on twitter and Facebook.

I’ve said things I regret too. I’m not proud of that though and I’ve worked hard to not repeat those mistakes. I live in a big city and the reality here is that most people are kind and decent. It’s the only the extremes that make it in the news. That’s what I’d like others to know. We’re only gloom and doom when we’re separated by computer/TV screens, but when you’re actually interacting face to face with people, 99% of them aren’t anything like the ones that we see or hear about in the media.

I’m active on Twitter, and some people are just jerks! But, I’ve also found that when I’m consistent in treating others like they’re actual people and giving them dignity and respect has led to MANY positive interactions. Because so many people believe that the “other side” is going to always be evil maniacs, they go into a conversation online ready for battle. They each want to “destroy” the other. I understand that, so anytime I’m interacting with someone for the first time so I remain polite and respectful. It throws people off!

The vast majority of conversations online with those I’ve disagreed with end relatively positively and I think THAT’S what we need to do (on both sides) if we really hope to open hearts and minds to new or different ideas. Attacking someone isn’t going to change their mind! I enjoy debating with people, it’s fun for me when we get to have a civil discourse. My goal is to plant seeds wherever I go that will remind others that not everyone who disagrees is a jerk. :)
Last edited by Clint on Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: formatting
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Phil04
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Re: USA mid-term elections

Post by Phil04 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:25 am

Sweetie,
There were a number of races that were covered in the elections. Most of the coverage you received was probably focused on two or three types of positions. Let me attempt to explain.

US House & US Senate: Similar to the British system there are two houses that are responsible for passing legislation. Here we call them the House and the Senate.

US House: This is meant to be the body that represents the people. Originally there was to by one house member for every 30,000 people in the US. This was changed to a total of 435 by the Permanent Apportionment Act in 1929. The 435 seats are currently distributed so that seat each represents as close to the same number of people as possible, with the exception that each state is guaranteed at least one seat regardless of how few people it has. This is the body that recently change party control. There is also the stipulation that all bills involving taxes are supposed to originate in the US House.

The US Senate: This is the body that is supposed to represent the State. Originally Senators were appointed by the state legislature and not directly elected by the people. This was changed by the 17th amendment in in 1913, to be two Senators from each state elected to 6 year terms. The Republicans retained control of this chamber and actually gained a seat. The Senate is also solely responsible for confirming presidential appointments.

The third position you may have heard about is governors. These are closely watched, but have less impact on national politics as they are the executive leader of each state.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Phil

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sweetie
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Re: USA mid-term elections

Post by sweetie » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:44 pm

Thanks everybody.
sweetie x
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SurrealSD
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Re: USA mid-term elections

Post by SurrealSD » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:44 pm

I think it's important for anyone who wants to understand American politics to know about election districts and the electoral college. Voting districts are geographic. The vote of someone living in a large, spread-out rural area counts for more than the vote of someone living in a city. Because of that it's entirely possible for someone to get more votes and still lose the election.
But first, have you tried sitting down with your partner and telling them honestly how you feel?

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