Mar 14, 2019

The 2018 midterm elections has been viewed both in America and the international community as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency (Remnick et al, BBC). This is evident in a number of factors. The most important factor is the voter turn-out, which was at a record-setting 50.3%, compared to 36.7% in the 2014 midterms (United States Elections Project). According to the head of the United States Elections Project, Michael McDonald, “‘2018 appears to be an election where we’re going to have higher than typical midterm turnout…Why? Its name is Donald Trump’” (Siddiqui). Consequently, most candidates chose to run on pro or anti Trump platforms. The division Trump has caused in elections is reflective of a larger trend: that “party polarization has rarely been more extreme” (Rosenbluth et al.).

However, this was not what happened in the 2018 midterm elections. For example, in West Virginia, though they had the second highest approval rating for Trump in the US in November 2018, West Virginia had re-elected Democrat Joe Manchin into office. Like most Democratic candidates, Manchin chose to run on a conservative platform. However, this trend is not consistent across the 2018 elections. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat who ran on a conservative platform, had high approval ratings for Donald Trump, had lost his midterm race, while Joe Manchin, another Democrat running on a conservative platform, had won his race in a state where there was a 27+ net approval rating for Donald Trump. This phenomenon drove me to my research question, are Californians willing to choose party affiliation over political ideology?

One Reply to “Introduction”

  1. Serina K. says:

    I love your topic! It’s really super interesting. I look forward to seeing your research : )

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