2018 United States Midterm Elections
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The 2018 United States Midterm Elections are the general elections held near the mid-point of President Donald Trump's first terms as President of the United States. These elections include state, federal and local elections.
In 2018, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives are up for for election, while 35 of the 100 seats of the United States Senate will be contested. Leading up to the election, many believed that an enormous number of democratic voters, known colloquially as the "blue wave," would take both the House and the Senate. However, as the election grew closer, some tempered those expectations, predicting that democrats would take the republican-controlled House, while the republicans would continue to hold the senate.
Texas Senatorial Election
On March 31st, 2017, United States Representative for Texas's 16th District Beto O'Rourke announced his candidacy for the United States Senate seat held by Republican Senator Ted Cruz. The following March, O'Rourke won the Democratic Party primary with 61.8 of the primary vote.
DNA Test Confrontation
On April 4th, 2018, YouTuber Tammy Talpas published a video in which she confronts Ted Cruz at a campaign stop in Austin, Texas. In the video (shown below), Talpas reads a pre-written statement to Cruz. She says, "I purchase my individual policy on the Health Insurance Exchange. If you force me into a high-risk pool, you will either bankrupt me or kill me. I take your threats of medical aggression personally and seriously; and I can assure you, I’m not the only Texan who d… who does. My question is: Will you pledge to submit to a DNA test, to prove that you’re human?"
May Beto Can't Debate Ted Cruz Because
Maybe Beto Can't Debate Ted Cruz Because refers to a series of parodies made of a tweet by the Texas GOP Twitter account which suggested that Beto O'Rourke could not debate the senator because he had a gig with his old band, attaching a promotional photo of the politician from when he played with the group. The tweet was mocked by many for backfiring and making O'Rourke appear very cool, and was turned into a snowclone in some parodies.
On August 28th, 2018, the Texas GOP Twitter account, @TexasGOP, tweeted an image of Beto O'Rourke and his bandmates in Foss, which played in the 90s. The tweet was meant to show O'Rourke as unprofessional.
After the tweet was posted, it was mocked by many Twitter users for inadvertently making O'Rourke look cool. User @Neighbormania sarcastically tweeted "Definitely don't want to vote for this cool guy who did fun stuff and had friends," gaining over 380 retweets and 10,000 likes (shown below, left). User iCyclone said that he was glad to see an elected official who's "lived life" as opposed to "walking corpses in suits" (shown below, right).
Ted Cruz Looking at Beto O'Rourke
On September 25th, 2018, Cruz was photographed on an airplane looking at a picture of Beto O'Rourke on his phone. The pictures were tweeted by user @KFILE that morning (shown below).
Twitter users joked that Cruz was jealous of O'Rourke in the picture, adding captions sarcastically calling Cruz relatable and making various other jokes. For example, journalist Elizabeth Bruenig paired the photos with "Hello Darkness My Old Friend", gaining over 55 retweets and 650 likes (shown below, left).
Lyin' Ted / Beautiful Ted
During the 2016 Republican Primary, Donald Trump nicknamed Cruz "Lyin' Ted," implied his wife was ugly, and accused Cruz' father of having a role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. During his 2018 midterm bid for reelection, Trump spoke at a rally on Cruz's behalf in Houston, Texas. Prior to the rally, a reporter asked Trump if he still considered Cruz "Lyin' Ted," to which Trump responded that he now calls Cruz "Texas Ted" and "Beautiful Ted."
"To me, he's not 'Lyin' Ted' anymore--he's 'Beautiful Ted,'" Pres. Trump tells
jonkarl</a> about Ted Cruz ahead of Houston, Texas rally. "I call him 'Texas Ted.'" <a href="https://t.co/NkJuIoyFEp">https://t.co/NkJuIoyFEp</a> <a href="https://t.co/8ZqutXriQd">pic.twitter.com/8ZqutXriQd</a></p>— ABC News (ABC) October 22, 2018
The "Beautiful Ted" line was very quickly parodied on social media. People posted humorous images meant to represent "Beautiful Ted." For example, a photoshop of Ted Cruz made to look like the joker through a kawaii filter tweeted by @cal_beu gained over 90 retweets and 630 likes (shown below, left). User @HireMelmFunny tweeted a parody of the A Star Is Born exploitable, gaining over 480 retweets and 2,000 likes (shown below, right).
Jake Gyllenhaal’s Beto O'Rourke T-Shirt
On November 4th, actor Jake Gyllenhaal posted a photograph on Facebook  of himself in a Beto O'Rourke for Senate t-shirt with a caption that encouraged people to vote Democratic candidates. The post received more than 20,000 reactions, 1,200 comments and 5,900 shares in two days (shown below).
Conservative fans of Gyllenhaal reacted negatively to the post, creating an outrage against his political beliefs. Much of this backlash began when the rightwing media company The Blaze tweeted the photograph with the caption "You don't live in Texas, Jake" (shown below, left). Following the post, other retweeted the The Blaze and added their own commentary on why they no longer cared for Gyllenhaal (examples below, center and right).
On Election Day, Republican Senate Ted Cruz held his senate seat, defeating opponent Beto O'Rourke with 50.9% of the vote to 48.3%.
On November 6th, recording artist Beyoncé posted a photograph on Instagram  of herself in a Beto O'Rourke hat. She captioned the post, "I’m feeling grateful for everyone before me who fought so hard to give us all the right to have a voice. We can’t voice our frustrations and complain about what’s wrong without voting and exercising our power to make it right. We need you. We all need each other, because when we are truly united we are unstoppable. Sending you all love and positivity on this happy voting day! Every vote counts Every race matters Everywhere." The post received more than 2.8 million views and 1 million likes in 24 hours (shown below).
Some disapproved of Beyoncé's post, believing that if she wanted to influence voters by showing support, she should have done so much earlier. Twitter user @tigergood_s tweeted, "Personally, I blame Beyoncé. Sis didn’t reveal her endorsement of Beto until the day of the election. Like sis… REALLY SIS" (shown below, left). Twitter user @ayandoesthings tweeted, "That hat should of came a week ago @Beyonce . I know it’s not your fault but this is like your hbo documentary all over again equally poignant & meaningless" (shown below, center).
Others disagreed that people should be blaming Beyoncé for anything, let alone the O'Rourke loss. Twitter user @pettyblackgirI tweeted, "it’s not Beyoncé’s fault Beto lost, we know who she voted for. if you wanna blame someone, blame white people who continue to vote for republicans bc they don’t care about the lives they’re putting at stake by voting for bigots." The tweet received more than 620 retweets and 2,800 likes in 24 hours (shown below, right).
Georgia Voting Purge
In early October 2018, investigative journalist Greg Palast warned Georgian voters to check if they were still registered. Last year. Last year, Republican gubernatorial candidate and current Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp incorrectly canceled some 340,000 voter registrations, falsely asserting they had moved out of the state, according to a recent investigation by Palast. Later on, Greg Palast created a website for those to make sure they were registered. In later October, leaked audio was found with Brian Kemp expressing concern over people exercising their right to vote:
White Supremacist Robocalls
In late October and early November, robocalls were sent out by a white supremacist group targeting specific non-white candidates, including Florida's Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum and Georgia gubernatorial candidate .
On November 6th, voters from numerous states reported a variety of issues with voting, including "broken machines, rejected ballots and untrained poll workers improperly challenging Americans’ right to vote." In Georgia and New York, voters reported issues with machines, which led to longer wait times, while voting-rights organizations fielded more than 10,000 calls by 11:30 a.m.
On November 6th, Twitter compiled a Moments page, documenting the many celebrities that voted and posted about it on Twitter. Former United States First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted, "#ElectionDay is here! It’s time to vote--get to the polls and make sure every single person you talk to today is doing the same. Find your polling place right now at http://whenweallvote.org . Because #WhenWeAllVote, we all do better." The tweet received more than 8,800 retweets and 25,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, left).
Media personality and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey tweeted, "I woke up feeling compelled to pray for our country. No matter your spiritual practice, I pray that we ALL remain safe and free from harm. Pray then #GoVOTE!" The tweet received more than 7,100 retweets and 48,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, center).
Get Out-director Jordan Peele tweeted, "Time to get out and vote." The tweet received more than 3,600 retweets and 26,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, right).
In the Senate, Republicans held the chamber of Congress, picking up several Senate seats in contentious states, including Missouri and North Dakota, reaching the necessary 51 seat majority. However, the Democratic party retook the House of Representatives, ending the night with 220 seats.
As a result of the win, the Democrats gained more investigative power, allowing them to subpoena the president and his staff. However, by keeping the Senate, Republicans will be able to continue to confirm judges unabated.
Some races, however, were too close to call by the end of the night. With 100% of the reporting in, the Florida Senate race between Rick Scott® and incumbent Bill Nelson (D) will be decided in a recount because the results were within a 0.5% margin. Additionally, the contentious Georgia Governor's race between Brian Kemp and Stacy Abrams will likely go into a run-off election, asking voters to return to the polls in December 2018. Abrams states that she is determined to make sure every vote is counted, and her campaign manager confirmed that "there are tens of thousands of absentee ballots around the state, many of them we believe are Abrams voters."
The 2018 Midterms saw a record-breaking number of women being elected to the House. According to CNN, "98 women would win House races, with 33 women newly elected to the House and 65 female incumbents. That bests the previous record of 85 representatives." In total, more than 100 women would be serving in the House in next year.
Additionally, Democrat Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Tlaib is also the first Palestinian woman elected to Congress.
Congress member-elect Ilhan Omar’s first words upon taking the stage: asalamu alaikum. The next words: al hamdulillah. “My grandfather taught me that when you see injustice, you fight back. You do not give in to sorrow, you do not give in to sadness. You organize.” pic.twitter.com/vyuYOKeC0r
— Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam) November 7, 2018
Throughout the country, more historic victories were cemented. Colorado elected the country's first openly gay governor Democrat Jared Polis. In his victory speech, he said, "I want to thank … my personal support network -- first and foremost, of course, my amazing partner, and the first 'first man' in the history of Colorado, Marlon Reis." The Texas electorate sent their first to Latinas to Congress, Former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar and State Senator Sylvia Garcia. Finally, Massachusetts elected it's first black woman representative, Ayanna Pressley from the states 7th district,
#NoMenMidterms and #LetWomenDecide are hashtags associated with a hoax campaign orchestrated by 4chan users encouraging liberal men to abstain from voting in the 2018 midterm elections.
On July 17th, 2018, a thread was submitted to 4chan's /pol/ board about a hoax campaign to spread photoshopped images encouraging "liberal men" to abstain from voting in the upcoming midterm elections (shown below).
Register to Vote Roll
Register to Vote Roll is a bait and switch prank in which a social media post advertises a viral or sensational news story, essentially clickbait, but the included link leads to a voter registration form.
Me Voting in 2016 vs. Me Voting in 2018
Me Voting in 2016 vs. Me Voting in 2018 refers to a series of tweets which spread prior to the 2018 United States midterm elections in which users post two pictures representing how they felt in the 2016 United States Presidential Election versus how they feel voting in the 2018 United States midterm elections. The pictures were generally two images of the same character with the latter showing a more haggard version.
Democrat/Republican Agenda Photoshops
On November 6th, Twitter user @JordanUhl tweeted two blank screens from a screenshot of CNN with the titles "Democrat Agenda" and "Republican Agenda." They captioned the tweet, "Let's have some fun. Send me your best ones." The tweet received more than 70 retweets and 450 likes in 24 hours (shown below).
Over the next few hours, people used the screens to create mock "agendas" for each party, exaggerating their understanding of each party and presenting those feelings visually (example below).
That day, Twitter published a Moments page about the photoshops.
 Wikipedia – United States elections, 2018
 Vanity Fair – Get Over Your Election-Needle P.T.S.D.: The Blue Wave Is Real, and It’s a Monster
 FiveThirtyEight – 2018 House Forecast | FiveThirtyEight
 Wikipedia – Beto O'Rourke
 Facebook – JakeGyllenhaal's Post
 Twitter – @theblaze's Post
 Twitter – @JordanUhl's Tweet
 Twitter – Photoshop fun with the Republican and Democrat agendas
 Twitter – Celebrities head to the polls to vote in the midterm elections
 Twitter – @Michelle Obama
 Twitter – @Oprah's Tweet
 Twitter – @JordanPeele's Tweet
 The Washington Post – Broken machines, rejected ballots and long lines: voting problems emerge as Americans go to the polls.
 Associated Press – Cruz fends off O’Rourke in Texas Senate race
 HuffPost – Florida Senate Race Headed Toward Recount
 HuffPost – Georgia Governor’s Election Is Too Close To Call
 CNN – Record number of women elected to the House
 HuffPost – Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar Win, Become First Muslim Women Elected To Congress
 Jezebel – A Lot of History Got Made Last Night
 Instagram – @beyonce's Post
 Twitter – @tigergood_s's Tweet
 Twitter – @ayandoesthings's Tweet
 Twitter – "@pettyblackgirI's Tweet"":https://twitter.com/pettyblackgirI/status/1060018191206772737
 THE PEOPLE'S STATION V103 -VOTER PURGE: Your Name Might Be On This Investigative Reporter's List of Georgia Voters Who've Been Removed From Registration
 Truthout – Georgia’s Kemp Purged 340,134 Voters, Falsely Asserting They Had Moved
 Rolling Stone – Number of Georgia Voters Purged by Brian Kemp Continues to Climb
 Greg Palast – GEORGIA VOTER PURGE LIST 2018
 Rolling Stone – Exclusive: In Leaked Audio, Brian Kemp Expresses Concern Over Georgians Exercising Their Right to Vote
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