The Democratic victory in the U.S. House of Representatives has seen mixed reactions so far. While some people reacted to the wins with shock and sadness, others have shared wildly enthusiastic reactions to the victory. In fact, President Barack Obama's reaction to the midterm elections is one of the most glowing reactions yet and highlights something very important about the power of voting.
On Wednesday, Nov. 7, Obama issued a supportive message congratulating Democrats for their gains in the midterm elections via Twitter. In the statement, he praised female and minority candidates, veterans, and young politicians for their wins, saying, “The more Americans who vote, the more our elected leaders look like America."
“Even the young candidates across the country who fell short have infused new energy and new blood into our democratic process, and America will be better off for it for a long time to come,” he added.
Obama also specifically praised Democrats for regaining control of the House. Although they didn't see that same success translate into the Senate, he acknowledged that winning the House "is a start." With that, he said he hopes the country will “return to … honesty, decency, compromise, and standing up for one another."
Ultimately, he said, he and Michelle Obama "couldn't be prouder" of the results.
In the days leading up to the midterm elections, Obama hit the campaign trail, appearing at rallies for candidates in gubernatorial, House, and Senate campaigns to influence voter turnout. He was also vocal on social media, sharing inspirational messages encouraging voters to get out to the polls on Nov. 6. One of those posts came on Nov. 4 through the form of a throwback photo shared to his Instagram. The photo commemorated the 10-year anniversary of his election to the presidency and features himself, Michelle, and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha. He captioned the post,
As I reflect on election night ten years ago today, I can't help but think about where my political career started. I wasn’t running for office. I was running a voter-registration drive in Chicago. What I learned then — and what would become the premise of my 2008 campaign — was that you couldn't just fight for existing votes. You had to reach out to all of these people who had lost faith and lost trust, and get them off the sidelines.
The post was referencing voter turnout. Historically, midterm elections generally garner lower numbers of voter turnout. For a midterm year, the average is 40 percent. In 2014, for example, only 36.7 percent voted, per the electoral advocacy group FairVote.
To combat that problem, Obama offered up a plea:
So on Election Day this Tuesday, I’m not just asking you to vote. I'm asking you to really show up once again. Talk with your friends, convince some new voters, and get them out to vote because then something powerful happens. Change happens. Hope happens. And with each new step we take in the direction of fairness, and justice, and equality, and opportunity, hope spreads.
And it looks like some of the 1.5 million people who liked the post actually listened. This year, high numbers of Americans hit the polls. Early voting surged, for one, with an estimated 36 million people doing so. And The New York Times estimates that roughly 114 million ballots were cast this year, which is much higher than the 83 million votes cast in 2014 and 91 million ballots cast in 2010.
Add that to a sweeping victory from Democrats in the House and a few gains in the Senate, and it looks like Obama got his wish. Isn't that something.