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New candidates and ideas face off in competitive state primaries

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New candidates and ideas face off in competitive state primaries

As the November midterms approach, Democrats and Republicans battle for control of Congress as well as for 38 governorships. This year marks a golden opportunity for the Democrats to seize power from the Republican Party (GOP), who have controlled the House of Representatives for the last seven years and the Senate for the last three.

Establishment Democrats hope to ride the wave of popular opposition to President Donald Trump to easy victories, but many face formidable challengers from their more progressive left. Young Democratic candidates like Ayanna Pressley, Andrew Gillum, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have found success running on new policies such as single-payer healthcare, abolishing ICE, legalizing marijuana, and the expansion of public education-often without accepting corporate donations. The Democratic establishment has considered many of these policies untenable in the past, so it is unclear how these candidates will affect the national platform.

Meanwhile, 33 senators are up for reelection this year, as well as 36 governors. It seems likely that Republicans will retain control over the gubernatorial races, but Democrats hope to chip away at this lead. Also, three states have the opportunity to elect their first black governors, in Andrew Gillum (D) from Florida, Stacey Abrams (D) from Georgia, and Ben Jealous (D) from Maryland. All three candidates face challenging general election campaigns against Republican incumbents.

In an interesting twist to Arizona and Oklahoma’s Republican primaries, voters stood with their state’s teachers’ unions by removing a half-dozen lawmakers who voted against an increase in pay for educators. A proposed bill would have raised taxes on cigarettes, fuel, lodging, and oil and gas production to pay for the educators’ raises. These elections demonstrated the power of America’s teachers union, despite the fact that America’s unions have faced constant attacks by the judiciary for years, and that Americans care more about public education than many people believe. The issue of teacher salary should continue to be featured as an important issue in those local elections.

With more and more states preparing for primary elections, the stage is set for a major shift in power. The power to decide these election lies largely with young and other first time voters. To find out more about voter registration and campaign information, follow these links:

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About the Writer
Patrick Dóñez, Staff Writer

Patrick Doñez (‘21) is a staff writer for the Webb Canyon Chronicle. He has lived in Upland, California since he was five years old. Patrick is interested...

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