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Viewpoint: Democrats Should Feel Less Gloomy as 2018 Midterms Approach

Recent victories in Virginia and across the country have Democrats stirring with anticipation for 2018 midterms.

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Once bitter despair has turned to cautious optimism in the Democratic Party. The election of Donald Trump and a Republican-led Congress have made life quite difficult for the political left. But there is hope. The recent victories in Virginia and across the country have the party stirring with anticipation for 2018. While these wins were certainly important, they do not guarantee us anything come midterm season. The election of Ralph Northam over Ed Gillepse means nothing for states also hoping to flip their governor seat from blue to red. But these victories both small and large mark a change in time. It proves that success in 2018 is possible. It’s easy to feel discouraged by the everyday monstrosity that’s become reality in the United States. However, there is no time to wallow in misery. There is even still a precise danger in being overly confident based on more or less random results from scattered elections in 2017.

Without strong efforts from the core of the Democratic party voting base, the momentum we’re currently building will come to a screeching halt all but ensuring the reality of more years with a Republican-led Congress. This therefore stands as a plea to all who are able to get involved in the upcoming midterm elections. It is unclear if President Trump will last for his entire term, but his childish attitude to the presidency has doomed us for far beyond the time he can claim the Oval Office as his own. There is no end to rock bottom as we see American leadership plummet internationally with each and every embarrassment the president bestows upon us. But he is not the only current disgraceful leader currently in our government.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) is facing two challengers that could certainly put his job in jeopardy. Randy Bryce, a union ironworker, is one of the candidates vying for Ryan’s spot. Bryce recently received the endorsement of Bernie Sanders. He’s certainly popular on social media, but is facing a strong opponent in the primary. Cathy Myers is a school board member in the district that’s won a number of local elections to hold this spot. Regardless of who wins this primary, there’s no doubt that ousting Paul Ryan would be enormous for the country. Of course, it’s quite unlikely that such a powerful figure could be replaced. But this race is one to devote some time too.

The Speaker certainly is not the only well-known Republican that could lose his seat. In Nevada, Dean Heller has faced significant backlash. Illinois congressmen Randy Hultgren and Peter Roskam are also facing threats back home for their cowardly response to their party’s constant lack of regard for democracy.

These are only a few of the races across the nation that will matter in 2018. But the wins this month prove that nothing is impossible. Through the power of people coming together and fighting for decency, we can begin to restore the country we once knew.

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Lauren Grimaldi is a senior political science student at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Roosevelt Torch, the school's student run newspaper. When she graduates in May, she hopes to find work in policy reform, political campaigns, or writing. Follow her on Twitter @laurengrimaldi_ to learn more about her obsession with politics and baseball.

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