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Skidmore College

Why the midterm elections are important

November 2, 2018
by Lisa Haney & Julia Marco

Why are the 2018 elections important? Skidmore students, staff and faculty reflect on American history and the midterm elections and offer their encouragement to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Christopher Mann

Assistant professor of political science

“Every election is important. The 2018 election will determine the governor and state legislature of New York and most other states, in addition to the U.S. House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. These state policymakers receive less media attention but their actions have a more direct impact on our lives — health care, education, criminal justice, environment, infrastructure and more. If you want to shape policies that will impact your life for the next two years and beyond, now is the time to vote.”

Mariel Martin

Associate dean for student affairs, campus life and engagement 

“While presidential elections are important, this midterm election matters even more. Every single seat in the House of Representatives, much of the Senate and many gubernatorial positions are up for grabs. This election will determine control of Congress, the group of people who have the power to influence and make critical decisions on many of the issues I care deeply about.” 

Robin Adams

Director of leadership activities

“Whether local or national races, the midterm elections have the potential to define our country. If the analogy of government is ‘it’s where the sausage gets made,’ this is the opportunity to pick the folks who are making the sausage and say, declaratively, whether we want slaughterhouse hacks or people who measure out the fennel responsibly. We can each define what that is differently, but most of us have the right to make that choice and it’s not something that should be squandered. Being a voter shouldn’t be a job that comes along every four years but rather a responsibility we should relish as citizens whenever we get the opportunity.”

Minita Sanghvi

Assistant professor of marketing

“Women and people of color were imprisoned, beaten and force-fed to give us this right to vote. Whether it's a school board election, a presidential election or a midterm, we should vote to honor those who came before us and fought to give us this right.”

Max Fleischman ’19

President of the Skidmore Student Government Association

“I was shocked and disappointed in the turn out numbers for millennials and Gen-Z in the 2016 election … then I was elected student government president and decided to use my position to get people educated and engaged. The biggest thing is explaining that you can register … but if you don’t actually show up and vote, it means diddly squat. It’s the equivalent of sharing a meme or liking something on Facebook. Interest doesn’t equal action and we can do more than that.”

Want more student perspectives? Listen to the lastest episode of This is Skidmore to hear Robin Adams interview Max Fleischman ‘19 and two other students about their campus campaign to encourage voter registration and participation.

Ron Seyb

Joseph C. Palamountain, Jr. Chair in Government

“Anyone as old as I am has heard ‘this is the most important midterm election of our time’ more than once. I thus cannot say that this is the most important one. I can, however, say with confidence that the stakes are high. But even if the stakes were not so high, I would still think that it is important both to pay attention to and to participate in the midterms. Sanguine political commentators like to say that government can be ‘a moral force.’ I would transfer that principle to voting: voting is a moral force, one that changes its performer through the performance. Politics is not just about ‘who gets what, when and how.’ It is also a source of meaning, and perhaps the most meaningful act one can perform as a citizen is to vote.”        

Gwen D'Arcangelis

Assistant professor of gender studies

“Voting is the least you can do. Vote, and then get involved—educate yourself, speak out against injustice, support impacted communities.”

Roy Rotheim

Professor of economics

"It’s the only thing we have to speak to what’s important to us. We go out, we can write, we can rally — but at the end of the day, it’s all about voting. The fact that in this country, fewer than 50 percent of the eligible voters vote is unconscionable. So what do you expect? You get somebody that you may find reprehensible. And yet, hey: Get out and vote. That’s what democracy is all about."  



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