by Kellie Johnson ’22
On Tuesday, November 13, the political science department joined with the Board of Programmers (BOP) to hold an event in which people could discuss the results of the 2018 midterm elections over everyone’s favorite comfort food—pizza. This was the second Pizza and Politics event held on campus, and it occurred in the Fiondella Great Room in Ruane.
By the start of the event, almost all of the seats were filled. The chair of the political science department, Dr. Bill Hudson, and political science professor, Dr. Adam Myers led this talk, along with three students, Madison Clark ’19, David Quattrochio ’19 and Rachel Minassian ’19, whom are heavily involved with politics on campus.
The midterm elections themselves happen every two years. It is within them that new representatives are elected to the House of Representatives, and one third of the Senate is elected as well. This event pointed out how this election was especially significant because it had the largest pool of candidates to vote for and a huge spike in youth voter turnout.
It has been an ongoing problem in society to encourage voters from ages 18 to 25 to vote. It was exciting to see such a large turnout for a political event on campus because this further proves the point that the youth is finally using their voice.
One of the seniors on the panel discussed how the election contributed to diversity and a more progressive society. For example, the first Muslim woman was elected to Congress, along with the first ever Native American woman in the House, and the first ever openly gay governor. The election also had a record number of women winning seats. She pointed out that this was very impressive for today’s society.
Myers displayed the results of each election: House, Senate, and Governor.
Overall, the Democrats were greatly succeessful in this election. The exact number of seats taken has not been determined yet, since recounts are still happening in some states.
Dr. Myers brought to our attention an interesting statistic in the elections for the House, in which he noted that some of the wealthiest districts in our country took Democratic seats, calling stereotypes into question.
He called these results a “top and bottom coalition,” due to the fact that the Democratic Party is thought of to be the party which in the past has represented the interests of minority groups, as well as lower class. Yet, when the wealthy voted blue, it put things into perspective.
Another student talked about the politics specific to Rhode Island; there is no doubt that Rhode Island is a Democratic state.
The event held discussion over whether or not Rhode Island will move towards a progressive local government or a more moderate and centrist one.
The prediction was that due to the most recent election, Rhode Island will probably be more moderate in its legislation over the next couple of years.
The Pizza and Politics event left its audience wondering what will happen next. Dr. Hudson discussed different outcomes, and he said that a gridlock is likely to occur in the next year due to the constant dispute of both parties.
Although both parties will likely never completely agree, Dr. Hudson predicted that they will reach resolution over the issue of healthcare.
He also talked about the next six or seven weeks; due to the Republicans losing their power, there is talk of a government shutdown at the beginning of the year due to the potential threat of Congress failing to pass seven appropriations bills by the end of the calendar year. Dr. Hudson said that this is an unlikely occurrence, but that even the president says that a government shutdown could be a good thing.
Finally, Dr. Hudson left an open-ended question causing the audience to think about their own personal opinion. He left us wondering: will Congress include Trump’s famous idea of “the wall” in their budget?
Hopefully, the Pizza and Politics event will continue to occur on campus due to the insightful questions and multiple perspectives that allowedstudents to form their own political opinions.
Each professor and student at the event did an amazing job sharing their ideas without any bias so that everyone in the audience could hear their claims and interpret them individually.