CSUF professors talk predictions for midterm elections at panel

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Scott Spitzer, Cal State Fullerton associate professor of political science at Tuesday’s midterm panel.
(Riley McDougall/ Daily Titan)

The biggest question concerning the midterm elections is whether Democrats’ anger at the current administration will measure up to the passionate support of President Donald Trump’s base, said Scott Spitzer, Cal State Fullerton associate professor of political science at Tuesday’s midterm panel.

The midterm election panel called, “Critical Choices, Potential Changes, and Enormous Consequences” covered the current political climate, midterm voter turnout predictions and the possibility that the 2018 midterms will be the next Year of the Woman.

Spitzer said that historically, turnout at midterm elections is “always lower” than presidential elections. However, he said that the “intensity” of support for the president will ultimately drive loyal Trump supporters to vote.

“We can talk about issues,” Spitzer said. “But that’s not really as potent a driver of this election than people’s feelings about the president.”

Men are divided in views of Trump’s job performance, as 46 percent approve of the president’s performance and 47 percent disapprove. Women are much less divided, with 63 percent of women disapproving of the president’s performance and 30 percent stating that they approve, according to the 2018 national survey by the Pew Research Center.

Spitzer said that younger voters, racial-minority voters and lower-income voters are less likely to participate in midterm elections, which are groups that typically vote for Democratic candidates.

However, Faith Colburn, advocacy coordinator for Associated Students’ Lobby Corps Commission, said she thinks students will show up to vote this year.

“We’re registering students to vote and getting their take on issues and things like that. I think people are excited,” Colburn said.  

Natalie Fousekis is a professor of history at CSUF who specializes in grassroots politics and the history of women in politics. She said there is current talk of 2018 being the next Year of the Woman.

The original Year of the Woman happened in 1992 when there was a “record-breaking number” of women running for Congress, which led to more women going to the polls, Fousekis said.

In 1992, 11 women won major party nominations and ran in Senate races while 106 women contended for House seats in the general election nationally, according to the Office of the Historian.

Currently, women hold 23 percent of the 100 seats in the Senate and 19.3 percent of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

“(With) the women’s marches that started the day after he got elected, the #MeToo movement which was launched a year ago today, and the Kavanaugh hearings from two weeks ago (all play a role) for women’s participation in the political process,” Fousekis said.

She said that if the women who organized marches and movements go to the polls, women could play a significant role in whether the Democrats retake the house or not.

The panel also talked about the chance of a “blue wave” in the midterm elections.

Stephen J. Stambough, a professor of political science, said that Democrats get excited during the presidential years but not during the midterm years.

“The blue wave may come in, (but) it may crash because there were certain areas in the state, particularly in Orange County, where the Democrats didn’t invest in (their) party building,” Stambough said.

Stambough said that while some districts may get the Democratic vote, “the 39th looks like it’s going to be a coin toss.”

Colburn said the job of student leaders is to educate students about issues surrounding the election and “to empower them to make their own decisions” based on the information they have been provided.

“You can do something with that passion, you can do something with those ideas that you have and a great way to do that is to vote and make your voice heard,” Colburn said.

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