Midterm Elections: How 1994 Midterms Set Off an Era of Divisive Politics
Midterm elections are often overlooked by voters because presidential candidates are not on the ballot. However, midterm elections are also viewed as a referendum vote on the first two years of a president’s term. Two years into the presidency of Bill Clinton, the Republican Party used the 1994 elections as a referendum on Clinton, as public opposition mounted against his liberal policy efforts on healthcare, gun laws and gay people serving in the military.
The conservative movement, fueled by talk radio, was harnessed by Newt Gingrich, architect of the Contract with America, a blueprint to shrink government and rein in spending. The Republicans used the Contract with America to nationalize the election, a change from the conventional focus on state and local issues. Gingrich assembled a slate of conservative Republicans who swept to victory in the 1994 elections, ending the four-decades-long Democratic majority in the House.
Educators, click below for this video’s accompanying lesson plan, and check out our Midterm Elections Collection here.
Bush v. Gore: How a Recount Dispute Affects Voting Today
The dramatic controversy surrounding the 2000 presidential election led to sweeping voting reforms, but opened the door to a new set of problems that continue to affect elections today.
Gerrymandering Tilts Political Power. Here’s How Redistricting Affects Democracy.
Both parties play the redistricting game, redrawing electoral boundaries to lock down power.
Are you a teacher? Check out our teaching resources for this video.
Poll Watchers and the Long History of Voter Intimidation
President Trump has called on supporters, including law enforcement officers, to monitor election sites. Voter intimidation tactics have a long history.
How Watergate and Citizens United Shaped Campaign Finance Law
The Watergate campaign finance scandals led to a landmark law designed to limit the influence of money in politics. Decades later, some say the scandal isn’t what’s illegal, it’s what’s legal.