2014 election results in Republican majorities


Chicago Tribune

(Source: Web, Chicago Tribune)

Anusha Thotakura, Staff Writer

The 2014 elections were held all across the nation for local, state, and national offices on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

In Illinois’s gubernatorial election, Republican Bruce Rauner won 50.77% of the vote while Democrat incumbent Pat Quinn received 45.87% and Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm received 3.37%.

Social studies teacher Jacqueline Dickens feels that these results were expected.

“I am not surprised by the results for several reasons,” Dickens said. “The Republicans tend to have a slight edge over the Democrats in midterm elections.  Voter turnout for midterm elections tends to skew towards older voters who are much more likely to vote for a Republican candidate.”

While close races across the country were expected to bring more voters to the polls, the national voter turnout rate declined to an estimated 36.6% of eligible voters participating in the elections this year according to the Associated Press.

Dickens feels that the reason for low turnout rates during midterm elections is because of public misconception.

“Voter turnout for midterms has historically been much lower than voter turnout for presidential elections,” Dickens said. “There tends to be a general misconception that the Presidential election is more important than midterm elections because the President is the leader of the United States. However, I would argue that the midterm elections are possibly even more important.  Because less people vote in the midterm election, your vote in a midterm election is worth more than in a presidential election.  Also, your local representatives have power to greatly influence your local community in ways that the President cannot.”

Sophomore Emma Liu attributes the low turnout rates to political apathy among the younger generations.

“Our nation needs to understand that millennials are not inclined to vote, and that’s a huge problem,” Liu said. “Stop saying you hate politics and you’d rather not vote for ‘the lesser of two evils’ – that’s essentially exacerbating evil itself.”

These elections saw an increase in women elected to Congress. The number of female Senators and Representatives now totals 100. Liu feels that this year marks a political milestone for women.

“The presence of more women in Congress is a great sign of our nation’s progress,” Liu said. “I think the increase is wonderful – and frankly, it was necessary and eventually going to happen. I’m glad it’s happening now.”

The results of the Senatorial election give Republicans 52 seats, Democrats with 44 seats, and two independent seats with two races yet to be decided. These results shift the Senate majority towards the Republicans and have given both houses of Congress a Republican majority.

While many Americans are anxious about the potential tension between Democratic president Barack Obama and a Congress with Republican majority, Senior Aaron Petykowski believes that this conflict will not have much impact.

“I actually do not think that the dynamic will change very much,” Petykowski said. “I feel like Congress and President Obama have conflicted a lot in the past, so seeing a Republican majority means more of the same for me.”