New Yorkers reflect on election results

Henry Owens and Vivien Sweet

Faculty members and a handful of seniors headed to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the midterm election, to determine New York’s (NY) Governor, Senators, and House Representatives.

“I’m really hoping that the people who stayed home during the 2016 election are realizing that this is not the time to do that,” Library Department Chair Caroline Bartels said. “People have been standing out in the rain for two hours because voting now is too important not to do that.”

The candidates for the NY State Senate were Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who was running for re-election, and Republican Chele Farley.

For the position of NY Governor, Andrew Cuomo (Democrat) ran for re-election against Marc Molinaro (Republican), Howie Hawkins (Green Party), Stephanie Miner (Independent), and Larry Sharpe (Libertarian Party).

Bartels voted for all of the Democratic candidates in order to help fix the current federal government crisis by “flipping a lot of things blue so that there can be some checks on the situation,” she said.

“On some issues I’m kind of conservative, but on other issues I’m quite liberal. However, I am quite nervous about the things that are happening to the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and women’s rights because of our current administration,” Bartels said. “By voting left, we can make sure that basic human rights are not violated to the point of no possible recovery.”

Madhav Menon (10) said he was unsurprised by the results of the NY election and doesn’t expect to see much tangible change as a result.

“A lot of states, especially those that aren’t swing states, constantly have either Democratic or Republican senators or representatives,” Menon said. “One candidate who I found very intriguing was Beto O’Rourke in Texas. His coming so close to beating Cruz in such a Republican state shows that there is some swing in states that we think of as lopsided.”

Josh Benson (12) voted to oppose fascism rather than support a specific candidate.

“It’s more that I’m voting against something than I’m voting for something,” Josh Benson (12), who voted “Democrat” down the ballot, said. “The biggest thing the Democrats have going for them is not being openly white supremacist and giving support to fascist movements.”

Aaron Shuchman (10) said he paid less attention to the NY race because it is usually very predictable. He supported candidates in states where the races were more significant, such as Martha McSally and Josh Hawley, the Republican Senate candidates in Arizona and Missouri, he said.

“The tax cuts that were passed definitely had a positive impact on the economy. There’s been more growth, more job opportunity, [and] wages are higher,” Shuchman said. “Those are all good things and I’d like to see more progress in terms of stimulating the economy.”

History teacher Dr. Laura Weinstein, who voted for candidates whose platforms closely aligned with her personal beliefs, was very excited about some of the NY candidates, especially Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Antonio Delgado, who won in the 14th and 19th districts of New York, respectively, she said.

“I really like Kirsten Gillibrand. I was inspired to see so many wonderful women running for office this year, and she is at the head of the pack,” Weinstein said.

For Weinstein, the most important political issue that affected her candidate choices was climate change, she said.  “Anyone who is a climate-change denier will never receive a vote from me. There are other issues, but people who reject such strong scientific evidence can never receive my vote,” Weinstein said.

Similarly, Nader Granmayeh (12), would have voted for Democratic candidates had he been able to vote, he said.

“Going in, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that the Democrats would win the House and the Republicans would keep the Senate. It was just a matter of the strength of their respective victories,” he said.

In general, the most important issues affecting this election were health care, immigration, and the Supreme Court, Granmayeh said. “However, for me, it’s more of a systemic issue with what Republicans believe versus what Democrats believe.”