Although voters tend to vote along party lines the majority of the time, they do find it necessary to have some understanding of the contents of ballot measures and some issues around the nation, and how they will affect their lives.
The issue of legalizing marijuana for recreational use was on the ballot in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. The measures were approved in all three states, and were indicative of changing mores across the nation. They will now join Colorado and Washington State.
Four states approved an increase in the minimum wage; Arkansas, Alaska, Nebraska, and South Dakota. In Illinois voters cast their ballots in favor of a non-binding measure to do the same.
Washington State approved a measure requiring background checks for the purchase of guns. It includes transfer and personal sales such as loans or gifts.
In Maine the bear population has risen 30 percent from 10 years ago to approximately 30,000. A proposal on the ballot would have restricted hunters from using bait, traps, and dogs to hunt the wild animals. The long battle between hunters and animal rights activists was defeated.
GMO’s are an issue worldwide. In Colorado a measure to label raw foods which were manufactured using GMO material was defeated, while a similar proposal in Oregon has not been decided. Maui County in the State of Hawaii saw voters pass a temporary ban on cultivation of GMO crops.
A proposal to add a tax on sodas and other sugar-based drinks was defeated by the voters of San Francisco.
Exit polls revealed the concerns of voters. First was the economy, and second was immigration.
Immigration was no surprise considering the larger Republican turnout. Most opposed the President’s proposal to find a way to legalize the more than 11 million illegal men, women, and children living in our country.
President Obama told Congress that if they didn’t take action of immigration reform, he would take executive action to do so. He decided to wait until after the midterms; Republicans are now waiting to see what action he will take.
The Republicans have not offered a plan with one exception; increased border security.
By not acting before the election, some Democrats believe that they lost Hispanic votes in their districts. Some Democrats and advocates for the legalization of these immigrants are urging Mr. Obama not to back down from his plans to seek a pathway to citizenship for the millions who are seeking recognition and a legal right to be in the country.
Will a lopsided Congress take action on the many contentious issues facing our country, or will the 114th Congress remain as ineffective as the 112th and 113th?
Now that the midterms are over, campaigning for 2016 will move into full speed. Two years is a very short time to convince voters that your party and its candidate can ‘get the job done.’ For six years nothing has been proven by either party.
Assumptions are abundant about how this election will affect the 2016 election. Will it hurt Hillary Clinton? Can Republicans support one, viable candidate?
The one falsehood heard and seen frequently has been that the results indicated a Republican mandate. Nothing could be further from the truth. The facts are that the American public is disgusted with our government’s inaction, and incumbents were often the target of their ire. Secondly, a midterm in the second term of a President produces these results more often than not, and a lower voter turnout is alway indicative of a Republican victory.
By James Turnage