by Johnny Brownlee II
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Every since the results of the 2016 elections was announced we’ve been hearing about the importance of the upcoming 2018 election. While every election is important the elections of 2018 will be critically important because the winners will have an opportunity to rewrite the present and future for decades to come. The rules of law, the way that we have been taught to interpret them, and the very moral fiber of this country is up for grabs in these upcoming elections. Critical decisions will be made on the national, state and local levels.
Here’s what at stake. 2018 will mark the halfway point of Donald Trump’s term in office. The midterm elections have the potential to reshape the Congress that he has to work with. All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the US Senate will be contested. Of those 33 seats to be contested 23 are currently held by Democrats, 8 by Republicans and 2 by Independents that regularly caucus or support Democrats. Democrats need to win and hold on to what they have plus win 3 additional seats to have majority control of the Senate; meaning they can pretty much hold off anything that the president may want to do. Republicans need to keep what they have and gain 8 seats for a filibuster proof majority; meaning that they could push through anything they wanted or the president wanted and the Democrats would be powerless to stop it.
On the state level, 36 states and 3 territories will be having elections to elect governors, this includes Florida. In addition to those 39 governorships, all 120 seats in the Florida House of Representative (Florida’s lower house) will be up for election. Republicans need 1 seat to gain a veto proof majority since 80 members are required to override gubernatorial vetoes. Meaning that they can hammer through anything they want and make any law they wish and the governor would be powerless to stop them.
Another reason why the state elections will have a huge impact in 2018, is because the state elections will impact redistricting which will follow the 2020 US Census. Many states give the job of drawing new state legislative and congressional boundaries to governors and state legislatures. So how your state, city, and county traditionally vote; red or blue, lies in the balance. This will literally affect elections and legislation to come for decades.
A number of other elected positions will also be up for grabs on the state level. Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, Commissioner of Agriculture, half of the state senators (only even numbered districts), Justices for the Supreme Court of Florida, Judges for the District Court of Appeals, State Attorney and Public Defender for the 20th Judicial Circuit which serves Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry Counties will all be up for election. Florida will also be voting on the very important issue of felon disenfranchisement; currently people with a felony on their records are barred from ever voting again even after they have served their time. We have the potential to restore voting rights to 2 million Floridians in 2018. The entire direction of the state has the potential to change.
Let us not also forget that a number of local positions will be contested. So your city and county elected officials will be running for office. County commissioners, school board members, circuit judges and county court judges all will be up for election.
Basically, every aspect of life is on the ballot in 2018, it’s an election that can easily affect how we live, and what the political map looks like for a generation. Any complaints we have about people that don’t do their job, that obstruct progress or want to take us back to olden times; this is the time to address it and get them out of office.
Currently, one party has the executive branch (The Presidency), both houses of the legislative branch (US Senate and The House of Rep.), 34 of the 50 governors mansions are held by Republicans (15 Dem, 1 independent) and 32 state legislature are Republican controlled. 2018 will be critical in determining whether majorities will be strengthened or balanced, and checks on power will be restored. The results of these elections will certainly determine budgets, health care, immigration, environment, voter suppression, civil, education, military and international issues for years to come. It is imperative that everyone registered to vote gets out and votes in every election. Any one not registered to vote or that will be turning legal age to vote, we need to get them registered and make sure they vote. Side note: voter rolls are where juries are selected from, so the next time you see a controversial case and say “I wish I would have been selected to be on the jury”; you have to be registered to vote to be on one and you have to take jury duty seriously. You can’t be looking for a way of out of Jury duty, it’s your other civic responsibility, and your presence on a jury could save a life or get justice. It is imperative we understand what we are voting on, and what each candidate is proposing.
Voting is not enough nor is it the only thing we can do, put your money where your mouth is and support a candidate. Give a $1, $5, $10, or whatever you can. This is one of the most important elections in recent history. What do you have to lose? What’s at stake? The answer is everything!
To learn more about upcoming elections in Broward county visit Broward Supervisor of Elections.[ 2018 election] Retrieved August 29, 2017 from http://www.insidefortsmith.com/crowded-field-lining-up-for-2018-oklahoma-governors-race/