Resources from around the Coalition: 2018 Election Analysis and Public Charge


November 29, 2018

Editor’s note: The following piece was written by Makenna Whitworth, CHN’s Fall 2018 intern. Makenna is a senior majoring in political science at Brigham Young University.

By Makenna Whitworth

The 2018 election results are in and human needs advocates achieved progress on a number of issue fronts through ballot questions. We are eager to see what new leaders in Congress will do for the human needs community. In the meantime, we want to highlight some of the reports and analyses on the election that CHN members have recently released:

The National Partnership for Women & Families’ analysis of the recent election reveals that candidates whose platforms included important workplace issues of interest to women and families (i.e. equal pay, paid family and medical leave, harassment in the workplace, and pregnancy discrimination) were more likely to win. These issues were included in campaigns in all of the 42 states with competitive races and were adopted by men and women, Republican and Democrats alike. Inclusion of such women- and family-centered policies has grown dramatically – only 34 percent of platforms included at least one of these issues in 2014; this past election, that number raised to 50 percent. 

While voter participation was more than 10 percent higher this midterm election than in 2014, nearly 120 million eligible Americans did not vote this past election. Widespread voter suppression, particularly against historically marginalized groups, is a reccurring problem in the United States. A report by the Center for American Progress describes some of the voter suppression measures and other Election Day problems that potentially kept millions of eligible Americans from participating in this past election, including voter purges, strict voter ID requirements, intimidation and harassment, disenfranchisement of justice-involved individuals, and gerrymandering.

Looking ahead, the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s remarks at the Conference on Global Justice and Security suggest policy priorities for the new Congress that can raise workers’ living standards and economic security. Such priorities include enacting a $15 federal minimum wage, increasing access to health care and strengthening the Affordable Care Act, supporting paid family and medical leave, providing significant relief for student debt, improving infrastructure, reforming bankruptcy laws, and strengthening workers bargaining power. This advice for the new Congress would help decrease wage inequality and increase economic security.

Election seasons inevitably lead us to consider what democracy and civic engagement will look like in our future. According to the Children’s Defense Fund’s Parent and Child Trends survey conducted earlier this year by YouGov, the future of democracy is bright. The survey sought to learn how children and parents perceive children’s ability to shape the future of the country and whether voting makes a difference. Their results show that children are very optimistic about the future, believe in their power to make a difference, and think voting matters. Though few children have been taken to the polls, most children still plan to vote when they grow up.

BONUS: Comments for the proposed “public charge” rule – a change that would force immigrant families to choose between getting the services they need or becoming Lawful Permanent Residents – are due Dec. 10. These fact sheets by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) describe the potential impact of the rule for select states including Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and several others. Learn how your state will be impacted, use this information to form your own comments, and share with your networks. Also refer to CHN’s public charge resources to get fact sheets, sample comments, and other help so you or your organization can provide comments.  With your help, we can exceed the goal of 100,000 comments on this dangerous proposed rule.

Affordable Care Act
minimum wage