Students and faculty react to Midterm Election results

Three first-time voters, a campaign volunteer and a history teacher reflect on their voting experience and what might be in store after the 2018 Midterm Elections


Priyanka Shrijay and Emma Trone



Campbell Phalen

Campbell Phalen: “My brother actually works on political campaigns. He’s been a big advocate of voting throughout my entire life and he was in high school as well.
And actually on the day of voting, he texted me to make sure that I voted but I had already voted.
I had done research and I knew what I wanted to support.
I didn’t necessarily feel like there was something I wanted to go and advocate for something specifically, but I felt like it was important to go and vote no matter what.” 



Rachel Zemil

Rachel Zemil: “I would say I wasn’t surprised that Pritzker was going to win. He was already ahead in the polls, and to Illinoisians, it is clear that Rauner has not really been making an effort to fix our budget problem. Then again, voting for Illinois’ governor for me was like a choiceless choice. As of this election, we have more diversity of representation in Congress and I hope that this is a sign that people will keep fighting to be represented justly and that we will have more voices to represent minorities. I think I chose to vote because I believe in constitutional democracy even though it has clear flaws in this country. We can’t sit and complain about what’s happening around us.”


Seamus Flannery

Seamus Flannery: “I didn’t vote for a lot of things if I just didn’t know anything about them. I didn’t feel like it was a responsible thing to do to vote for somebody I didn’t know anything about. And then, for the larger positions of the stuff that I knew more about, I have some experience with my district’s state representatives so I voted for that governor and some of the positions that are more easy to research. It’s kind of what you’re supposed to do — it’s one of the problems I think with our country that not enough people vote. We have one of the lowest voter counts of the more developed westernized world. People complain that the government is out of touch with the people and that’s why. I think that if I want to have the right to complain about the government, then I should at least vote.”


Franzi Wild

Franzi Wild, a junior who volunteered for a campaign: “I cannot believe we did it! It’s the first thing that I’ve helped to do which feels like it really matters. It’s also something that will concretely help our country, and we’re now going to have one more person in Congress who cares about the environment and climate change, who cares about LGBTQ+ rights, who cares about a woman’s right to choose, who cares about protecting everyone’s healthcare. It was funny when we found out on election night, me and some of the other campaign fellows and organizers all started bawling we were so happy. That being said it was worth the sleep deprivation and missed homework because in some small capacity I can say that I did do something to help elect Sean, flip the house and fix this country. I’m also a little sad because it’s over now and I’m not going to see all of the lovely people I’ve met and grown close with these past couple months anymore. But it’s time to rest up and square up for he next one.”


Paul Horton

Paul Horton, history teacher: “There are three big takeaways. Number one, the participation of women, and the election of women to Congress in greater numbers. The diversity of the Democratic candidates is a takeaway. The fact that millennials are organizing and getting out to vote is another major difference. As I was explaining to my class, demographically, the older you are, and the more money you have, the more likely you are to vote. And most of those votes are going to Trump at this point. Whereas as more and more women are energized, as more and more millennials are energized, that in this election, a solid foundation has been created to re-invigorate our democracy. The UN accurately has described our democracy up until this election as a sick democracy, and I think the more participation that is encouraged from women and millennials, the more we are a healthy democracy.  So the democrats have to get smarter about contesting elections and getting people registered to vote, and getting them motivated to vote.  For the republicans, it will be very similar to what Obama had to do when he lost his majority.”