Polls have opened in the 2018 American midterm elections, the first nationwide electoral test of Donald Trump’s presidency.
All 435 House seats are up for grabs, as well as 35 seats in the Senate. The Democratic Party are carrying a healthy polling lead as at least 33 million people cast their votes early, either early in-person or by mail, according to information published by data company, Catalist. That’s far greater than 22 million early votes cast in the 2014 election.
Trump’s name may not be on any ballots but this election could well shape the rest of his presidency. A stalwart Republican-controlled House – won in the 2010 midterms is largely blamed for the Obama administration’s lack of progress.
Members of the House decide which bills are debated – so a Democrat-controlled chamber could substantially derail President Donald Trump’s domestic agenda, stopping anything from becoming law. The majority party also control committee appointments and have the power to issue subpoenas, and steer investigations. It is likely Democrats will launch an investigation into Trump’s tax returns, accusations of sexual assault against the president and step up the efforts on alleged Russian collusion.
Trump’s approval rating is currently around the 40 per-cent mark. Voter’s have ranked healthcare as the issue of the election, with 30% saying it was their most important issue, ahead of economic policy, immigration and gun control.
To give you an idea of what is expected TPN’s main men give their predictions for tonight’s results. However, lets stress this is an election with very few certainties. Polling has been very wrong in the past, as Sam Glasper points out, and turnout might be a huge factor in so many races.
You can follow our Live Coverage of tonight’s results here.
The numbers say the Democrats should take the house. Statically there is a 7 in 8 chance that the Democrats will win a majority in the lower chamber. The median result predicted by FiveThirtyEight is Democrats 233 Republicans 202.
However, the Republicans are predicted to hold the Senate, with FiveThirtyEight predicting the GOP to have 52 seats to the Democrats 48 at the end of the night. This is due to the number and locations of the seats that the Democrats are defending.
Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief
House: Dems 233-202 GOP
The House should be a simple win for the Democratic Party and most predictions I’ve seen have it certain that they will gain seats but 23 is the magic number tonight. How large that majority is will decide how well they can hold Trump to account. It is worthwhile to remember the range of views in the Congressional Democratic Party is extremely diverse and getting a strong majority will limit the impact of Blue Dog candidates. This is especially important on issues like gun control.
The fact the Democratic Party have a 9pt lead but are only expected to have a narrow majority shows how twisted American democracy has become. Congressional districts need to be decided by independent bodies, not the state’s government.
Senate: Democrats 48-52 Republican
It’s a rough trot for the Democrats in the Senate and they need a miracle to win 51 seats. They’d need Beta O’Rourke of Texas to get them that majority. The races to look out for are Nevada, Texas, Arizona, Indiana and Montana, these are the seats the Democrats need to win a majority.
The popularity of the Democrats Blue Dog senators will see them through in the Midwest but I don’t expect a miracle in the South. This is still an optimistic prediction for the Democrats.
Predictors past performance– Iwan called the 2017 UK General Election correctly and the House and Senate for the GOP in 2016 but couldn’t foresee Trump’s victory.
Seb Chromiak- Editor
House: Democrats 226-209 Republicans
The Democrats will take the house, their 8-9pt lead in the polls should assure this. If they don’t take the House it will be due to one reason. Gerrymandering.
Senate: Democrats 50-50 Republicans
Nevada and Texas will be the shock the Democrats need to draw level in the Senate but a loss in Arizona against a strong Republican candidate will prevent the majority they need.
Predictors past performance– Seb called the 2017 and 2015 UK General Elections but was wrong on Trump and Brexit.
Sam Glasper- Foreign Affairs Columnist
House: Democrats 227-208 Republican
Senate: Democrats 50-50 Republicans
Kenny Cota- TPN Writer
House: Democrat 230-205 Republican
Senate: Republican 53 – 47 Democrat
Given the Republicans have presided over a strong economy and the absence of any new disastrous foreign wars, they would have been hoping to do a lot better than they have. Even leaving aside the fact that this is merely a continuation of the growth seen under Obama, people generally vote based on how they feel their families have been doing economically.
However, they have allowed their campaign to be dictated by President Trump who in characteristic fashion decided to focus nearly all his attention on the migrant caravan which was portrayed to be the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Fox News. The strategy of trying to inspire fear in all likelihood is not a particularly wise strategy when he should be trying to push back on the claims the Democrats are making about him rather than reinforcing them.
The Democrats won’t win by more purely because they have struggled to coalesce around a coherent message, as there has been a divide in the party about whether identity politics is worth another shot, and another divide about whether to argue for a Sanders style program. Nonetheless, they will be contented to gain control of one chamber and so frustrate any Republican legislative agenda and perhaps be in a position to initiate impeachment proceedings if there is legal and political support for it.
The main consequence will be that the political divide will be accentuated, as Republican candidates tend to fall more broadly into the right-wing populist model of Donald Trump as exemplified by candidates such as Ron DeSantis, and the Democrats are nominating more candidates who subscribe to Bernie’s wing of the party or are occasionally even more to the left such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Neither will become the norm in Congress but it will breed a group of individuals who could pressure party leaders in a certain direction and could run for the Presidency in 2020 on the Democratic side.
I somehow have a hunch that Beto O’Rourke will pull off a shock and defeat Ted Cruz, purely because I can’t imagine the amount of funding he received going to waste and think he’s run an incredible campaign which has led to him drawing closer and closer in the polls to within the margin of error. Either way it won’t be a stress-free night for Cruz even though it should have been in Texas. I also predict that Andrew Gillum will win the Florida governorship as the polls have been heading his way and DeSantis is held back by the credible allegations of racism.