Cramming for midterms: A look at the major issues at stake in Tuesday’s election

Immigration, News, Politics

Spangle your banner and dust off your ballot, American Election Day is upon us!

No, not that Election Day, but nonetheless a step in the democratic process as pivotal and integral to our nation’s future as any presidential election. The midterm elections, which occur on Tuesday, Nov. 4, have the potential to dramatically rearrange the balance of partisan power in Congress, swapping a Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate for an entirely GOP-run Congress.

The issues facing our nation will continue well past next Tuesday, making it vitally important to get out and vote for whomever you believe will best legislate — or refuse to legislate — the various high-priority issues described below.

And if you live in one of the 36 states or the District of Columbia with early voting options, your elections are already underway, so cast your ballot now! There’s really no excuse.

5 major issues in the 2014 midterm elections


Not a day goes by that we do not hear some reference to either the flood of aliens at the border or the need for amnesty for undocumented children fleeing violence, depending upon your take on the matter. The midterm election results could have a major impact on immigration policy moving forward, with states like Texas, Florida and Arizona naturally having a major say in the matter.

In right-leaning Texas, for instance, the midterm elections will result in a shiny new governor, and the choices are filibustering Wendy Davis or current Attorney General Greg Abbott, the GOP-backed current front-runner.

Reproductive rights

The year 2014 has seen a hotbed of debate over contraceptive and reproductive rights, with the divisive Hobby Lobby decision providing a Supreme Court ruling, if not quelling debate, on the intersection of religious freedom and the Affordable Care Act. These issues are far from settled and proponents on both sides will be fiercely pining for a seat on the floor during the next abortion, reproductive healthcare or Planned Parenthood funding debate.

Key women’s issues states include Kansas, Texas, Kentucky and North Carolina. Few forget Wendy Davis’ 21-hour filibuster to fight abortion restrictions in Texas, or the fact that Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell voted against both the Violence Against Women Act and a proposed bill on equal pay, giving his opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes a clear edge in the Bluegrass State.

Foreign policy

ISIS, Russia versus Ukraine, Central America, North Korea, West Africa: it’s an understatement to say there are some major foreign policy issues on the U.S.’s plate. There are a number of potential members of Congress, primarily in the GOP, chomping at the bit to get started on a foreign policy reboot. More specifically, North Carolina’s Senate challenger Thom Tillis has vowed to upend Democrat Kay Hagan, claiming she didn’t show up to her Armed Services Committee hearings. Possible senatorial transition in New Hampshire and Arkansas could likewise create upheaval in the current foreign policy landscape.

The economy

It’s still not great, neither side can agree on a strategy, and Americans are tired of waiting for the upswing. But hey, how ‘bout those gas prices?

Economic policy is a major hot-button issue for opponents and incumbents alike. If the midterm elections result in a completely GOP-controlled Congress, Americans can expect possible changes to minimum wage laws and the Affordable Care Act, as well as an emphasis on private sector job creation.

Moreover, economic matters are much more micro than their mega-issue counterparts, meaning the electorate will likely largely vote for candidates showing an understanding of employment, taxation and cost-of-living numbers within a specific jurisdiction or district.

For instance, Georgia reports the highest unemployment rates in the United States, making the economy a major issue for all candidates in the Peach State. Wisconsin is another struggling state, having elected Republican Scott Walker as governor under the premise he would turn around the state’s economy, a transformation which hasn’t quite happened, possibly prompting an upset by opponent Mary Burke.


Amid all the hullabaloo of global policy and economic evolution is the issue of voting itself: Who can vote, when and how?

You may recall a significant and ongoing battle in several states over voting rights, particularly with regard to voter identification laws. In general, Republicans assert that all voters should be prepared to show some form of ID before accessing the polls, while Democrats contend this is an unfair rule aimed at preventing underserved minority populations from voting.

States like Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, Kansas and others maintain strict voter ID laws that have faced judicial scrutiny for being unfairly suppressive. Wisconsin’s voter ID law, for example, was recently struck down, then upheld, by the Wisconsin courts.

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