Beyond the Bricks: Week of 11/5
by Abby Bratton | published Nov. 9th, 2018
Midterm Election Turnout and Results
The U.S. midterm elections saw a turnout of approximately 113 million voters, The Associated Press reported. This is a record-breaking number for a non-presidential election in the country; in terms of percentage of the population, it shows the highest participation rate in half a century. Turnout exceeded expectations for both major political parties, and both claimed significant victories. Republicans maintained control of the Senate while Democrats won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives.
This election was record-breaking in more ways than one. The number of women in Congress has reached a new high, and BBC News reports several “firsts” among those elected: the first Muslim congresswomen (Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar), the youngest congresswomen (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abby Finkenauer) and the first Native American congresswomen (Debra Haaland and Sharice Davids). Additionally, at least nine LGBTQ+ candidates were elected to Congress and two to governorships in Colorado and Oregon.
Although Election Day was Nov. 6, 2018, several races remain undecided as ballot counts continue. According to CNN, 10 races in the House of Representatives have yet to be called, in addition to two Senate seats and one state governorship Georgia). The Florida governorship, along with the Florida Senate seat, may face an automatic recount due to the narrow margins between the candidates’ votes. The Mississippi Senate seat will be determined in a run-off election on Nov. 27 as neither of the major party candidates secured 50 percent of the vote, and a Maine House of Representatives seat is to be decided by an “automatic run-off” process as part of the ranked-choice voting system implemented by the state earlier this year.
Twelve Killed in Gun Attack at California Bar
Twelve people were killed in a mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA. on the night of Nov. 7, 2018. Among the victims were Sgt. Ron Helus, who arrived on the site after gunshots were reported around 11:20 pm local time. Six other victims, five of whom were in their twenties or younger, were identified as of Nov. 8, according to The Associated Press. Between 10 and 12 others were wounded in the attack and many more suffered minor injuries. A college night event was underway at the time of the shooting and several hundred people were present. Earlier this year, data analysis site Niche ranked Thousand Oaks as the third safest city in the U.S. NBC quotes Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean as saying that "... it doesn't matter what community you're in, it doesn’t matter how safe your community is. It can happen anywhere."
The shooter, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot, was identified as ex-Marine Ian David Long. Authorities say that no motive for the attack has been determined. The Gun Violence Archive reports this as the 307th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2018, occurring on the 311th day of the year. They define a mass shooting as being "based only on the numeric value of four or more shot or killed, not including the shooter."
Proposition to Prevent Illegal Immigrants from Seeking Asylum
The U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have proposed an “Interim Final Rule” that will make illegal immigrants ineligible for asylum in the U.S. The joint statement released by the departments said that “Consistent with our immigration laws, the President has the broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens into the United States if he determines it to be in the national interest to do so,” as well as noting that the current U.S. political asylum system was “overwhelmed.”
The ruling comes as a migrant caravan consisting of thousands of Central Americans makes its way toward the U.S-Mexico border. 5,200 U.S. troops are being sent to the border in response. The United States is under legal obligations to hear asylum claims from immigrants who are “fleeing due to a serious fear of persecution,” according to BBC News. However, the Interim Final Rule, which President Trump is expected to sign, would bar illegal immigrants from being granted asylum.