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American students to return to a different country

US internationals have mailed in their votes, and Tuesday’s election will determine which political party will be calling the shots

The fate of US policy is perhaps hinging on the absentee ballots that many Americans mailed back to the United States this week. Many US students and staff at the University of Copenhagen have already cast their votes.

In Tuesday’s midterm election, voters will determine whether the liberal Democrats or conservative Republicans will take the majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

»It’s probably the most important midterm election that we’ve had in decades,« says Sandi Michele de Oliveira, an American University of Copenhagen professor teaching Portuguese and a class on political discourse analysis of US elections.

»The Republicans have literally said that their goal is to bring down Obama. They hope to undo everything the president has done, which would be devastating for the country.«

Different America

Many view the election as a reflection of the country’s approval of President Obama, a Democrat. This, combined with the competition to claim the majority in the legislative bodies of the country has propelled many to vote, even if they must do so from abroad.

De Oliveira says that voters should keep in mind the time necessary to implement effective policies. These policies may take more time than the two years that have passed since Obama took office, she adds.

»We forget just how hard the battles were fought to make this country good,« she says. »Policies such as equal rights for equal work: all these things had to be fought for day by day, and in some cases, they took hundreds of years.«

Students prepare for change

The House of Representatives and the Senate are the two legislative units of the US government. One obligation of The House is to determine where taxes will be spent. This is a major point of contention with Republicans, who advocate lower taxes and less spending on welfare and social problems.

De Oliveira, an American living in Denmark, says that among the many things that could change if Republicans were to take the majority — as polls predict they will — students may have to say goodbye to their student aid initiative. The initiative would cut out the expensive private loan programme, allocating more money to other student grants.

»If government does not collect taxes, you have no money for public services, and things just don’t work,« de Oliveira says. »What we need is for every generation to realize how much effort it takes to keep things running smoothly.«

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