The mid-term elections in the United States aren’t usually a series of races that get the most media attention. However, this year changed that drastically. News of the mid-term races and their candidates were everywhere, and the names of potential senators and House representatives were more well-known than ever.
When it came time to vote, college students turned out in large numbers. In fact, this was the highest voter turnout for college students that the mid-term elections than in well over the last ten years. What do the results mean for college students, though? Now that they’ve made their voices heard, what changes can they expect? What does this symbolise?
First, it’s important to understand precisely what happened during the mid-terms. The initial results were a little confusing in some places such as Florida where a close margin between candidates triggered a recount.
Many forecasted a “blue wave” for the mid-terms. In other words, an overwhelming win for Democrats in most races. In the end, the Democrats did take back the majority of the House of Representatives, and the Republicans retained control of the Senate.
Since nomination in 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has introduced some controversial ideas.
For example, her drive to encourage charter schools and private schools have meant potential increased opportunity for these schools. On the other hand, opponents of this view argue that this will lead to the privatisation of the public school system.
Most recently – and most directly affecting college students – is her proposal to change Title IX. Title IX’s primary goal is to help prevent and handle sexual assault on college campuses. With this proposal, changes such as colleges being required to allow those students accused of sexual assault to cross-examine their accusers. This proposal has faced the backlash from advocates of sexual assault victims that claim the proposal would make it harder for victims to come forward.
With the mid-term elections and the Democratic reclamation of the house, there is the hope for some that DeVos’ decisions will face more regulation. It would mean that the policies that directly affect college students would undergo more rigorous debate, leading to more legislation that comes close to compromise rather than a single decision.
Legislation for College Students
There is also the chance that legislation will be brought to the table that will directly affect college students.
One such example might be the renewal of the Higher Education Act (HEA). While the renovation of the HEA is far from guaranteed, it would possibly entail provisions such as ones that would help college be more affordable for students.
It could potentially mean that students could focus on their studies without worrying as much about the debt they will carry once they graduate. With students being able to take a night off work to study or buy an essay when they’re struggling, they can focus their energy on getting the best education possible. Issues like this being even discussed in Congress is a step towards change for college students.
The Youth Matter
All in all, this election symbolised the importance of college-aged students in the political process. In this election, college students made their voices heard. No matter what party these students voted for, they took part if could help their opinions become public policy.
It is a valuable lesson for the youth of the United States. Every age group is an essential part of the political process. From those casting a ballot for the first time or even for the youngest Congress member ever elected, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, these elections made it clear that politics aren’t limited to the older generation. The changes that will affect the United States from here on out are thanks to every generation. A more diverse group of voters has and will lead to representatives that encompass the different needs and wants of a diverse country.