Edit desk: What’s at stake


Saad Mansoor

The midterms are upon us. We are only six days away.

On Nov. 6, Americans will have the chance to go out and vote for many federal, state and local races.

The Democrats have a realistic shot at taking control of the House of Representatives to send a clear message against Trump’s agenda. They only need 24 more seats from the Republicans to regain the majority.

The Republicans know how crucial it is for them to remain in full control, and the recent confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court shows how critical staying in complete power is for them.

Even though Trump is not on the ballot, a bad midterm showing will undoubtedly be portrayed as a referendum opposing the Trump presidency. It could also mean an end to talk about a border wall.

The stakes could not be higher, and it’s time for Americans to vote their conscience.

If I told you I recently moved to the U.S. from Pakistan, you’d probably wonder why I’m giving political advice. The answer is simple: Trump.

There has been a switch in political landscape all over the world since the election of Donald Trump. He is what got me interested in American politics. He is now the main talking point on most news channels, and most countries worldwide have comedians who impersonate Trump regularly.

The ‘Trump effect’ really exists and has created chaos in political institutions all over the world. I’ve been fortunate to visit America ever since I was a kid to spend a month every summer with my family. The landscape of America is much different than it was just a few years ago and I have never seen the country this divided.

The major catalyst that has led to a nation divided is the president himself. The Republican party is now entirely Trump’s party and even candidates like Ted Cruz, who Trump famously used to call “lying Ted,” asked him for help during the campaign trail. The president loves targeting and name-calling people, mostly on the left.

However, Republicans who go against him are also not spared. As long as Trump’s base keeps on supporting him, he can keep on doing what he wants. His actions have shaped how both political parties operate.

The Republican party and the right-wing media promote policies and issues that heighten racial and economic injustice. They frequently highlight controversial topics such as terrorism and immigration, which increases social division.

The left has had a problem figuring out the identity of its party after Hillary Clinton’s shocking defeat. It still hasn’t decided the direction it wants to head in, with a set of leaders ranging from highly liberal to centrist. While the Democratic party is still looking for its message, Trump is enjoying campaigning more than being president.

Increasing tension has led to Democrats talking about socioeconomic issues from a different perspective. Through this, the left gives opportunities to more people of color, women and otherwise progressive candidates. The differing viewpoints of both parties add to the divide.

David Barker, the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, said the upcoming election features “partisan polarization (and) tribalism, the likes of which we haven’t seen in 150 years.”

In recent times, there has been a massive rise in populism all over the world, which explains why Americans are so polarized across party lines. Populism that led to nationalism was one of the major reasons Trump’s ‘America first’ message resonated with people.

Shockingly, just two days ago, Brazil elected a president who openly supports dictatorship over democracy. This wave of populism is clearly visible in America if you think about policies and actions such as dropping out of the Paris Climate agreement and the pursuance of a border wall.

Recent trends show how critical these midterms are.

Voter turnout is expected to be high for both sides. Furthermore, polls show young voters are expected to turn out in record numbers. One of the primary reasons for this is an increase in political awareness all over the country.

A general increase in awareness is one of the few positive things to come out of this presidency. Increased political awareness will lead to more young people running for government positions which is vital for America’s future. Politicians that currently represent this country are just too old, and their ideas are outdated.

Will the 2018 election be a historic one? It depends on the results, however, it could be because Democrats have a chance to start progress toward impeaching Trump if they win enough seats. On the other hand, if the Republicans win big, Trump could stamp his authority even more before the crucial 2020 presidential election.

The future of America is at a crossroads, and it’s up to the people to choose what direction they want to head in.

Saad Mansoor, ’20, is an associate news editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at [email protected].

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  1. Bruce Haines ‘67 on

    The country has always been this divided & naive young people like you have always been idealistic until you mature. Your generation has been particularly brainwashed by the left & the country became more divided under Obama.

    Trump’s election only occurred because Americans were tired of being chastised by Obama & his globalist agenda. Republicans & Democrats alike rose up to send a message & Trump was the galvanizing force with this America first agenda.

    There is nothing wrong with that agenda as a country without borders & rules is no longer a viable country. The Paris Climate agreement & the Iran deal were bad deals for America. Midterms always produce opposing party gains so don’t get too excited if the Dems regain the house as they still won’t control the White House & Senate. But we will & must control our borders no matter what happens.

    • I don’t agree with you Bruce primarily because nobody asked the US to meddle with other nations in the first place. pick up any book, all of them say the same thing how your own creations are biting you back. when you have been at the forefront of politics from the end of the World War you are bound to be the bigger country and lead the way forward for all nations to follow. its not about bad or good deals, it was the right thing to do, setting precedent for all to see and follow.

      trumps election happened because of irregularities in the system due to external forces not because of the orange bigots own charisma. your views are right because they suit your own personal needs and ambitions but when you are looking from a global perspective from outside the US gov really knows how to screw up. lets hope they do it right again,

      Love your article Saad. Keep it up.

  2. Robert F Davenport Jr on

    As a class of ’68 member, then there was division in the country but different from the seeming disconnect between the two major parties that exists today. At that time Democrats, except for certain white southerners were liberal and Republicans conservative; it’s the same today except that white southerners are now Republicans and many northern snowbirds are Democrats.

    Mr. Haines credits the election of President Trump to “Americans were tired of being chastised by Obama & his globalist agenda”. I disagree, I blame the defeat of Ms. Clinton on the Democrats holy article of faith in pro choice. This did not affect Evangelicals who were mostly in the conservative camp to begin with but did affect many Catholics who are natural Democrats. Additionally, although Ms. Clinton has provided longtime service to the country, she has a negative vibe which may be somehow explained by the positive vibe of Mr. Clinton, despite his obvious flaws and missteps.

    As President, Mr. Trump is a reasonably useful product in ugly packaging.

    “Politicians that currently represent this country are just too old, and their ideas are outdated.” Join the fight against age discrimination. Congress probably compares reasonably with politicians at the time of our constitutional beginning. Our instant information society and the desire and realities in attempting to get re-elected now makes it difficult for politicians to accomplish anything. Term limits anyone?

    • Amy Charles '89 on

      Why so allergic to facts, Robert? No, abortion is not why HRC lost. Over half of all Americans, including a majority of American Catholics, support abortion rights, as has been true for decades:


      I’ll tell you who’s a big champion of the unborn today, though: Steve King of Iowa, trying desperately to hold onto his seat now that it suddenly turns out you can’t just go around spewing racism and have people think you’re adorable. Interesting strategy. “What’s the harm in palling around with neo-Nazis if I’m busy protecting 7-week fetuses?”

      I don’t know Hillary, but maybe she has a negative vibe because she’s had 50 years of battling her way past men who talk baloney about her and would much prefer to see women stick to having and rearing babies.

  3. Amy Charles '89 on

    Ugh, there goes Robert, on about other people’s bodies again. For the record, a clear majority of Americans favor abortion rights, as do a clear majority of American Catholics, and this has been true for decades.


    You want to police a uterus, get one of your own. HRC lost because she was a crap candidate who ran an unforgivably bad campaign, and it’s the Dems’ own fault for having refused for so long to bring new talent up the ranks. Same is true on the GOP side, which is why we’ve got all these one-foot-in-the-grave candidates and committee members.

    But that won’t last because it can’t, and once you get past Boomers and white male GenXers (who, sadly, thought they were going to inherit the Boomers’ world), the electorate’s far more diverse, far more liberal. That electorate makes the Boomers politically irrelevant in about 7 years or so — just a function of Boomer die-off and the size of the youngest generations.

    I’d also been noticing the drop-off in identification as evangelical Protestant, which seems to have hit a high about ten years ago. It looked to me like the young people just weren’t going for it, and that it had indeed been a very Boomer/X phenomenon…and NYT this week has an interesting set of profiles of Millennials brought up evangelical. It’s true: in general, they’re wandering away, identify more strongly with their own generation than they do with their parents’ evangelism.

    So what I see overall is that there’s a coterie of volcanically angry white men in their 40s-80s, and they really really really want a fight to defend what they figure is theirs, but I don’t think they’re going to get that fight. It’s game over surprisingly fast. I’m actually a lot more worried about the avalanche of unforced errors the Millennial/Z legislators and agency chiefs are likely to make because they haven’t had time to learn the systems before they get to be in charge of them, especially if they go the “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” route, where they learn part of a system and decide to reform it before understanding what it’s attached to. Otoh, they’re good at cramming, so maybe they’ll figure it out fast.

      • Amy Charles '89 on

        You’re actually trying to equate the death penalty, which is generally about how we deal with incredibly violent criminals, with abortion rights, which are about the rights of women to live as full citizens making decisions about their own bodies, families, and lives.

        Wow. That’s…not good arguing.

        I really hope you don’t have any daughters. If you do, you should be aware that your attitudes towards women just about guarantee that significant things have happened in their lives that they will never tell you about. They will not tell you if they have had abortions. (I think the stat is 1 in 3 women do.) This sort of thing made some news recently, in the wake of #metoo, when a whole lot of fathers found out that their daughters had been raped long ago, and that nobody had told them, because their attitudes about it were so terrible. Nobody who’s been raped needs to deal with an emotional father who’s reacting badly and victim-blaming or causing trouble. So for decades those fathers had gone along assuming that rape happened to careless women, or women who “got themselves into trouble” somehow, and believing that they were protecting their families. Instead they were just walking around in a bubble of self-delusion.

        You have this wonderful line in a very gentle, respectful approach to humanity throughout your comments, but so long as you cannot respect the humanity of half the people on the planet, and believe they ought to be forced through pregnancy and childbirth and then forced to turn their lives to childrearing, it’s bunk. You’re kidding yourself. There’s nothing gentle and respectful about that at all.

        I am grateful that my daughter and her friends take for granted that these decisions are their own to make and find them worth defending.

        • current student on

          Is “safe and rare” not a saying now? Is the goal to be “safe and common?”

          Weird how you would think more abortions = better.

          And by that logic, about 50% of households own guns. From my experience, Amy seems to be pretty anti-gun. Does that mean we should protect our 2nd amendment? Geez, Amy must be about as disconnected as RBG.

        • Robert F Davenport Jr on

          “You’re actually trying to equate the death penalty, which is generally about how we deal with incredibly violent criminals, with abortion rights, which are about the rights of women to live as full citizens making decisions about their own bodies, families, and lives.

          Wow. That’s…not good arguing.”

          Really I was arguing from the point of view that a majority of people may not be right but the death penalty and abortion both end life. The arguments for both the death penalty and abortion rights are similar in that the ending of life is a desired outcome for some. Natural abortions are not a choice.

          From a non-religious (civil) point of view I can accept safe and rare as a personal decision ( https://study.com/academy/lesson/st-gianna-beretta-molla-biography-miracles-quotes.html). I can sympathize with the plight of those women who are pregnant but do not want to continue to a birth. True, it is their decision to do so but I disagree greatly that it is a right. The right to abortion seems to me like a rationalization to the gravity of the decision to end life. That is not the only rationalization used to promote abortion rights (some of which you mention). The goal seems to be to make the decision a no-brainer for abortion.

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