Another midterm elections cycle is (mercifully) over and we can sit back and inspect the damage from the 20/20 vision of hindsight. You can pick your poison when it comes to damage – whether your party lost out, you were sick of being inundated with ads while watching Hulu, or you were having nightmares thanks to the laser-eyed demon sheep in California – but the point is, nationally, we all came out a little scarred after this midterm.
The volume of civil discourse leading up to this election on the national level was pretty quiet on the “civil” part but awfully heavy on the “discourse” part. It’s not often we see political activists stomping on the heads of opposition or obscene political sideshows like the New York gubernatorial race. These and other cases of political zaniness (witchcraft, obscenity charges, “second amendment remedies”) were attention-grabbing headlines for weeks and made it seem that the next Congress’s “politics as usual” was about to become pretty unusual.
Luckily, so much of what goes on in the national media wanted us to believe just wasn’t the case on our campus. Although the student body of Case Western Reserve University had a fairly shrewd idea of the issues leading up to this election, no one seemed caught up in the hysteria that had captured so much of the mainstream media – and for this, we’re grateful. Even though midterm elections traditionally have lower young voter turnout than presidential elections, students appeared to not only have coexisted with students of other political beliefs, they actually got along with them throughout the entire election season – something that mainstream media outlets would have us believe is impossible.
And not only did CWRU students get along, they worked together. Case Democrats, Case Republicans, and Young Americans for Liberty all put on their own events in the days leading up to the election that encouraged students to vote and learn their polling places. These three groups (along with USG) also co-sponsored several Greenies to shuttle students to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to vote early. Case Democrats and Case Republicans also co-sponsored Tuesday’s election night returns party with the political science department, proving that passionate partisan students can both win humbly and lose graciously.
However, getting along in the CWRU bubble isn’t our challenge. When students venture out into the real world, there won’t be bipartisan ride-alongs to the Board of Elections or election night parties replete with PhD.-wielding professors. It will be up to them alone to reach out to those of other political beliefs or philosophies. But judging from the overall intelligence and general calm the student body displayed during this otherwise wild and unruly midterm election, we’re reassured that CWRU students will behave civilly and respectfully towards those around them – and might just restore a little bit of sanity and faith in the election season in the process.