Will elections make big difference? Northeast Nebraskans skeptical

November 16, 2018

The predicted blue wave of the 2018 mid-term election didn’t touch Nebraska’s sea of red.

Angie Strong, a 43-year-old mother from O’Neill, said she tried her best to stay up to date on news and voted in the midterm elections. The Democrat was happy about the House results but would’ve been happier if they won control of the Senate, too.

She was among several Northeast Nebraskans interviewed late last week in Norfolk about their reactions to last Tuesday’s elections in which Republicans continued to dominate Nebraska election results but Democrats grabbed control of the U.S. House of Representatives away from the Republican Party.

Even with the House win, Strong said, she fears not much will get accomplished until Donald Trump is no longer president. She isn’t optimistic about the chances for success of any kind of House investigation into the president.

“I just feel like it will fizzle,” she said. “It just won’t go anywhere because of everything it has to get through to actually do anything.”

Strong lived in California for 15 years before moving back to her home state of Nebraska. She now finds it a challenge to live in a primarily Republican state.

“I go out and vote, but I feel like it makes no difference in a red state,” Strong said.

Others interviewed expressed doubt that the nation would see significant political change as a result of the elections. Many also said they were tired of politics as a whole.

Several said they were tired of the frequent “Trump bashing” that takes place and some expressed the desire to let the president “do his work.”

One woman — an educator who teaches in O’Neill — said she tried to stay out of politics as much as possible this year. But that’s difficult when political issues like immigration hit close to home.

As her son ran up and down the toy aisle, the 29-year-old mother of two explained how an immigration raid in O’Neill on Aug. 8 this year led to the arrests of some of her students’ parents. One of the child’s parents is in jail in Grand Island and the other is under house arrest and awaiting a court hearing.

It’s hard to think about the immigration issue, she said, because she sees the human side of the arrests.

“If I lived in Mexico, I definitely would’ve tried everything to come over here and give my child a better life,” she said.

But she was excited to see more women elected into office this year and hopes that positive change is on the way.

The teacher is currently planning to vote in the 2020 presidential election. She is still a registered Republican, but she thought that will probably change, she said.

Despite the fact that 17-year-old Sidney Kucera of Madison can’t vote yet, she was encouraged by the increased voter turnout this year. She attributes the record number of voters to more representation of candidates on social media and in newspapers.

As for the next two years, Kucera hopes that a split Congress will create major change for Democrats and Republicans.

“I don’t think that either side understands that instead of fighting for a position, we need to work together,” she said. “Not just to get certain people into office.”

She is excited to vote for the first time in 2020 because she believes it is her obligation as a citizen to choose who is in office.

“A lot of people don’t care anymore because they think if you vote, nothing will change,” Kucera said. “But things will change no matter what.”

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