Every two years, American citizens have the opportunity to vote on politicians to represent their individual states through congressional elections. America’s Congress is made up of the Senate as well as the House of Representatives. Each of the 50 states have two senators, making the 100 members of the Senate. The House of Representatives is determined through population numbers. The number of Representatives is fixed at 435 members, but the individual state Representatives fluctuates every 10 years after the census. Pennsylvania currently has 18 Representatives.
In the upcoming election in early November of this year, many Democrats are pulling to take the majority seat of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Currently, the Senate has 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and two of the Independent Party who caucus with Democrats. For control, Democrats need to have 51 members in the Senate. As for the House of Representatives, there are currently 197 Democrats and 239 Republicans.
Essentially, in order for the Democrats to achieve majority in Congress, they need to ‘pick up’ quite a few seats. A ‘pick up’ is when a seat in either the House of Representatives or in the Senate changes from one party to another. In the next election, Democrats need two pickups in the Senate and 24 in the House of Representatives. In order to pick up these vital seats, Democrats are trying to acquire seats that ‘lean’ in their direction or are likely. Lean means that one party would have a slight advantage in acquiring a seat in Congress, and likely means that one party has a clear advantage. However, this does not mean that one party is guaranteed a seat. In some years, as last seen in 2010, sometimes a party an astounding amount of seats the Senate, the House of Representatives, or both. In 2010, Republicans picked up 63 seats in the House of Representatives and six seats in the Senate. This type of election is called a wave election. Democrats and Republican are also paying close attention to Congress members who are retiring. Republicans Darrell Issa and Ed Royce of California and Democrat Ruben Kihuen of Nevada, are not returning to Congress. These three seats are now open, meaning that there is not an incumbent running for re-election.
Democrats are taking advantage of the astonishing pull from citizens to actively vote– a theme inspired by the unbelievable election of Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. Since then, and a terribly low approval rating of President Trump, Democrats across the nation are working tirelessly to ensure that Congress is not controlled by Republicans. What is predicted to happen is another wave election in response to the disdain toward the Republican Party.
USA Today conducted many interviews from areas in which the Republican Party has always been successful. What they found is that there would be no surprise if the Democratic Party took a large win in Congress in the next election.
‘“The truth is, I’ve always been a Republican, but I’m starting to feel like the Republican Party does not represent me at all,” said 57-year-old Anne Rinzel, who raises crops in nearby Lomira. She’s an advocate for the Affordable Care Act, saying it’s helped pay her daughter’s medical bills.”
Since the Presidential election, constituents have been feeling like their conservative party are not working in their favor anymore. Also, there has been inspiration from young voters to support Democrats in the next election.
In Pennsylvania, Democrats are paying close attention to the Congressional Districts that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
The Primary Election will be held on May 15, and the General Election will be held on Nov. 6.
Sources: Ballotpedia; CNN; Congressional Research Service; USA Today.