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USA - 2018 Election

2018 ElectionThe 06 November 2018 midterm election results appeared to have met expectations, although the height of the Blue Wave was probably lower than expected by some democrats, and the expansion of the Republican majority in the Senate was higher than expected. The Democrats were on track to win at least 26 seats previously held by Republicans, with several races still undecided, which could give them as many as 230 seats in the 435-seat chamber. Among the winners were several first-time candidates, including two Native American women -- one of them openly gay -- and two Muslim women, a first in both categories. They will be among the 100 women who will be sworn in when the new Congress takes over in January, another first.

"It is a critical check on Trump," says University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato. "Big legislation with an ideological tint, left or right, won't pass for the next two years. Democrats now have the power of subpoena so Trump and his administration can expect to be investigated rather than protected by the House."

Trump issued a self-congratulatory tweet. "Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!"

The midterm elections would determine whether the House's 239 Republicans get to keep their jobs. Republicans lost control of both chambers in the 2006 congressional midterm elections. They had to weigh the merits and the costs of supporting President Donald Trump. On the face of it, House Republicans were in an enviable position because they were in the majority and had the opportunity to work with a Republican president to pass landmark legislation.

But as waves of Russia-related allegations made headlines nationwide, and as Senate and House hearings ran alongside a newly launched special counsel probe into the Trump administration's connections with Russia, the legislation languished. There is a public mood of anger about all institutions, whether it is Wall Street or political parties or Washington in general, people are not happy and they don't like establishment figures.

2018 Election

On 6 November 2018, US citizens voted to elect 35 of 100 Senators and all 435 Representatives. The legal framework for elections is multi-layered and complex. The Constitution and federal legislation provide minimum standards, with detailed implementation regulated by state law. No changes have been made to federal election law, but some legal amendments have been introduced at state level, primarily concerning procedures for voter registration, prisoner voting rights, and early voting. Elections are administered at state level with duties often delegated to some 10,500 jurisdictions across the country.

In January 2017, election infrastructure was designated as part of the nations critical infrastructure, resulting in many efforts at federal and state level to improve co-ordination and exchange information to mitigate cyber-security risks. In addition, Congress allocated USD 380 million to support states in enhancing the security of election administration technology.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) oversees a campaign finance system that imposes few actual limits on donations and does not limit expenditure. While all financial reports are timely published, spending by independent groups can be exempt from disclosure requirements. The use of online and social media is expected to be prominent, with many interlocutors expressing concern about the transparency of online advertising and potential disinformation, including from foreign sources.

In May 2017, a Presidential Commission on Election Integrity (PCEI) was established to identify vulnerabilities in voter registration and voting processes used in federal elections. After most states refused to share voter registration data with the PCEI, and after several court cases initiated against the commission, the president terminated the PCEI in March 2018.

At a campaign-style rally in Washington, Michigan, Trump turned up the heat on opposition Democrats: "A vote for a Democrat in November is a vote for open borders and crime. It's very simple," he said. Trump was trying to get his supporters excited about turning out at the polls. "You know what it is? You get complacent," he said. "We cannot be complacent. We have to go out, right?"

In a Quinnipiac University poll released last 27 December 2017, 54 percent of American voters said Trump is abusing the powers of his office. Sixty-six percent of those voters said the U.S. House should investigate the allegation that Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn. But national numbers dont matter that much to members who just want to win back their districts. House Republicans face this challenge where a lot of these districts have a lot of Trump voters not 40 or 50 percent, theyre looking at 70 percent, and so they think "as long as people like Trump, Ill be OK in my district".

Despite his poor standing in national polls, just less than 40 percent approval in most surveys, Trumps base was largely sticking with him. A December 2017 American Values Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 84 percent of Republicans continue to back the president. Among members of his own party, his standing is quite good. He enjoyed the support of 8 in 10 (Republicans) with significant numbers saying, in fact, that there is virtually nothing he could do to lose their support.

Trumps supporters are fueled by a sense of fear of economic and societal factors out of their control. These people were afraid of losing their economic and cultural place in American life and they wanted it back. Donald Trump rockets to the top of the Republican primary largely on the backs of this sort of fear.

In U.S. politics, Republicans remained confident as they looked ahead to November's midterm congressional elections. But the party that controls the White House traditionally loses seats in a new president's first midterm election. The first congressional elections after a presidential race are essentially a referendum on the president. The voters don't have any way to vote for or against the president, so they essentially, to simply things, they express their sentiment about the president in their votes for Congress.

Historically, the president's party usually loses congressional seats two years after winning the White House.The losses are usually worse if the president's public approval rating is under 50 percent. Trump's approval averaged about 41 percent in early 2018.

A large number of congressional Republicans announced their retirements this year, opening up more potential gains for Democrats. As of late April 2018, a total of 38 House Republicans had announced they were either retiring or running for another office, compared with 18 on the Democratic side. Three Senate Republicans had also announced they are retiring. Even the speaker [Paul Ryan of Wisconsin] decided not to run for re-election. Democrats are overperforming in every race and special election since Donald Trump was elected.

The US Senate has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats (including two independents). The 2018 Senate election takes place on November 6, 2018. There are 34 seats up in 2018, of which 26 are held by Democrats. That party will need to gain 2 seats to take control. But Democrats have to defend 26 seats (two of which are held by independents) next November as compared to just eight for Republicans. Of those 26 seats, 10 are in states that Trump carried in 2016 -- including five that he carried by double digits.

At the start of 2017, many Republicans believed that 60 seats -- and the filibuster-proof majority that goes with it -- was in the realm of possibility for Republicans. In Alabama, Doug Jones got 92% of all votes that went for Hillary Clinton; Roy Moore won just 49% of the votes that Donald Trump did 13 months earlier. Doug Jones' stunning victory in Alabama night a very clear signal heading into the 2018 election: No Republican Senate seat is safe.

Democrats were not favorites to win back the Senate majority. The map clearly favored Republicans. But, thanks to Trump's historic unpopularity, the passion within the Democratic base and the malaise that appeared to be creeping into their own base, by late 2017 Republicans were less confident of victory.

The magic number of 60 Senators was also the number needed to remove the President from office after he is impeached by the House. Losing control of the House of Representatives would stop the administration's legislative agenda in its tracks. Losing control of the Senate would stop its appointments in their tracks. Some analysts believed if the Democratic wave was big enough, it could also allow them to wrest control of the Senate away from Republicans, who held a narrow 51-49 seat edge.

According to the website RealClearPolitics, by April 2018 the Democrats enjoyed a generic ballot advantage of nearly 7 percentage points over the Republicans looking ahead to November. RealClearPolitics averaged several recent polls and found that 45.6 percent of those surveyed said they would support Democratic congressional candidates in November, compared with 38.9 percent who said they would vote for Republicans. Analysts saw the generic ballot as a key indicator of party strength heading into the midterms.

At least 11 open Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members (not endorsed by DSA, actual members of the group) won political races in the state and national level. Two nationally - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, and 7 State legislators such as Julia Salazar in New York (the number could increase depending on a election outcomes) in addition to DSA member Lee Carter who won his race in the Virginia house in 2017. Besides Bernie Sanders and Socialist Alternative Seattle council member Kshama Sawant, open socialists hadn't won many races since the time of Eugene Debs in the 1920s and 1930s.

DSA now had over 50,000 members, a number that could easily double by 2020, and is the largest socialist org in the USA since the 1920s and the first socialist organization with electoral weight since the time of Eugene Debs. As the Socialist Worker reports, a Harvard survey right before the election on students found that "only 26 percent of those surveyed supported Donald Trump while 39 percent supported democratic socialism". A majority of Millenials prefer socialism over capitalism in numerous polls.

Florida overwhelming voted to give voting rights back to 2.5 million ex-felons. This was a huge victory not only for basic human rights but also will make Florida much more of an in-play state for progressives. Corporate center-right Democrat Senators that the corporate leaders of the party such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said were the future, have lost their elections (Missouri, Arizona, North Dakota, Tennessee, Florida, Indiana).

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