2018 is here and The Bridge has returned. This year will prove to be an undoubtedly consequential one. In early May, we will have state and federal primary elections. Each side will provide voters a chance to see which direction they will go in the face of the Trump administration. The Left will show how much, or little, self-reflection they have done since 2016. Many millennials are eager to see which type of candidates Washington will back. There is reason to believe that mundane, status quo, business as usual candidates will receive establishment funding and support over the younger, progressive, mavericks of the party. On the Right, well, they have everything to lose this election cycle. Despite touting recent legislative victories, they are still a fragmented party only held together by outdated social conservative principles. The GOP’s Senate primary in Alabama displayed the severity of the intraparty fissure between loyalties and ideology. Trump and McConnell are already competing against one another by encouraging different Republican candidates to run for U.S. Senate in key states like Ohio.
November will ultimately be a referendum on Trump’s presidency. However, it will also serve as a barometer for overall GOP approval. As reflected by the president’s unfavorable ratings, these archaic sentiments of traditionalism are proving to be politically toxic. That said, candidacies like Joe Arpaio’s in Arizona, suggest that Trump’s 2016 campaign formula of economic nationalism, bellicosity, and misogyny will make a reappearance in 2018. The stakes are high for Democrats too. Currently, Republicans enjoy a 51 to 49 advantage over Democrats and Independents in the Senate. There are 34 total seats up for grabs in the U.S. Senate, 24 are held by Democrats, 2 by Independents (who caucus with Democrats), 10 of which are in states that Trump won in 2016. Only 8 Republican Seats are up for re-election, all in predominantly conservative-leaning states. Similarly, Republicans currently have a 241 to 194 advantage in the House of Representatives. However, a startling 31 Republican Representatives will not seek reelection in 2018, making it easier for Democrats to pick up the 24 seats needed to hit the 218 majority mark. At the state level, there are 26 states where Republicans control the executive branch and both state legislatures. 36 gubernatorial elections will take place in November, and their outcomes will hold momentous consequences. The governor of each state will influence states’ congressional redistricting following the 2020 census. Out of those 36 states, Republicans currently hold 26, Democrats 9, and Independents 1.
We are confronted with plenty of issues that warrant cause for concern, and demand our generation’s attention. We are ushering in the new year with a new look. Our format will be less centralized, so our columnist can freely follow their intellectual curiosities wherever they wander. For this edition, we want to explore important ideas, analyses, predictions and goals related to 2018. While each issue will not have a ground rule like before, we will begin with another overarching guideline that serves as the standard for everything we strive to accomplish at The Bridge.
The Ground Rule for 2018: Our political climate has been polluted with hyper-partisanship, dubious journalism, and reductive, misguided media discourse. In order to promote an empowered and educated population, we must set high standards for ourselves, and our elected officials at all levels of government. This can be achieved by holding our own political parties’ equally accountable, critically question the journalist we admire the most, and challenging ourselves to recognize echo chambers and confirmation bias in the media. An active citizenry is indispensable to a functioning democracy, so let’s rise to the challenge together!
(Published February 1, 2018 - View Full Newsletter Here)