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Unpacking the 2018 Midterm Elections: What Happened and What’s Next?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Backwoods Bistro
401 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee
(corner of Gadsden St.)

Every four years, more than 60% of the eligible voting public turns out to cast a vote for president. But control of Congress often hinges on midterm elections, in which only roughly 40% of eligible Americans vote. How can we best understand the outcomes of the November 6, 2018 midterm House and Senate races? What factors generally shape national- and race-level outcomes, and which were especially important this year? Ultimately, how does low turnout affect these elections?

After discussing the consistencies and novelties of 2018 vis-à-vis past midterm elections, Assistant Professor of Political Science Douglas Ahler will turn to what comes next: What will the relationship be like between the 116th Congress and President Trump? Will government improve, or will gridlock and polarization continue to be the norm? And what, if anything, does 2018 suggest about the upcoming 2020 presidential election?

Doug Ahler's research focuses on American politics, public opinion, representation, and political psychology. 

His current research questions include: How do citizens evaluate policy representation? Why are ordinary Democrats and Republicans so polarized despite relatively low political interest? How do Americans conceive of the policymaking process? And, ultimately, how competent is the American electorate, and what are the implications for democracy?

Policy Pubs take place in the relaxed social atmosphere of Backwoods Bistro at the corner of Tennessee and Gadsden streets. Guests can enjoy food and drink from the menu while listening to and talking about the evening’s topic. Because these events are very well attended, the public is encouraged to arrive early to get a good parking spot in the restaurant’s lot or surrounding streets and a good table inside.

The series takes place on the second Tuesdays of the first three months of the fall semester: September 11, October 9, November 13.


More about Doug Ahler


Listen to the audio from this Policy Pub session: