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US Midterm Elections, What’s the Hype?

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The USA is having its Mid-Term elections, which could potentially change the US political scenario quite drastically.
The voter turn out is expected to be low as compared to the last Presidential election. Even though President Donald Trump is not contesting the election , his ability to govern in the final two years of his first term will hinge upon the 6 November outcome.

Who is being Elected?

All 435 members of the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate and 36 out of 50 state governors, along with many state and local offices.
Even though the Republicans hold a majority in both houses of the Congress, but the Democrats expect a “blue wave”, a sweeping win that will give them the majority seats in the bi-cameral Congress.

The US Congress

With dozens of Republican lawmakers retiring this year, the minority party has a decent chance of taking over the House. Democrats need 20 or so seats to control the lower chamber.
But in the Senate, Republicans are expected to retain their majority and possibly strengthen their hold. That’s because out of the upper chamber seats up for grabs this autumn, 26 are held by Democrats (including two independents who vote with them) and just nine by Republicans.
Democrats may need to win all their and two Republican seats, making no room for any error. Ten of the Democratic seats are in states carried by Trump in 2016 – and five of those he won by double digits.

What are the issues?

Experts and critics of the President have terms it a referendum on Trump.

Immigration is an issue that still remains in the limelight, both parties want to play it to their benefit. Democrats believe the president’s hard-line rhetoric on the topic will help them entice younger voters, suburban moderates and minorities.
Democrats on the other hand need to do some soul searching, have they focused too much on immigration and ignored other issues that could have swayed voters. Does the American population hold immigration as dear as Democrats do?

The gun control movement launched in the aftermath of February’s high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, is also mobilising for the election, which is especially important for the younger demographic.

A student rally for harsher gun control laws

Meanwhile, a recent Gallup poll found the top concern for US voters is healthcare. Despite passing various measures to weaken the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have been unable to kill off Obamacare. This opposition to affordable healthcare is expected to cost Republicans some voters.

How does it Impact the Presidency?

If the Republicans lose majority in either house of the Congress, the president’s domestic policies could be in danger. The Democrats can use this majority to block executive orders issued by the President. If Democrats win the House, they get to decide which bills come to the floor and they’ll control the committee chairmanships.

Democrats can use the Congress majority in investigations of the president’s administration, including alleged Russia collusion, Trump’s business dealings and sexual assault allegations against him.
But if Republicans hold on to the Senate, they will continue to approve Trump’s cabinet nominees and appoint conservative judges to US courtrooms. As we witnessed in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, the Republican senators will help Trump even in the most controversial of nominations.

Oxford Analytica’s info-graphic

If Democrats manage to do well in the mid-terms, it could actually work in Trump’s favour.
He will be able to pin blame on them for congressional gridlock, and there’s a risk they could overplay their hand.

What about governors’ races?

Governors have considerable influence in their state politics, especially in Capitols.
Republicans currently have 33 out of 50 Governors two-thirds of 99 state legislature chambers.

But of the 36 state governorships on the ballot this year, 23 are being defended by Republican incumbents, desirable targets for Democrats. Among the prizes are the presidential swing states of Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania.

As Trump runs for re-election in 2020, governors will play a crucial role in mobilising donors, volunteers and activists. Which recent mid-terms were game-changers? In 1994 the Republican party took control of the House and Senate, setting the stage for six years of battles with Democratic President Bill Clinton.

The Democrats retook both chambers in 2006, enabling President Barack Obama to accomplish chunks of his agenda when he won office two years later.
Republicans won back the House in 2010, curtailing Obama’s ability to govern.
In 2014, Republicans regained control of the Senate, and boosted their House majority to its largest since 1929.

Source: BBC

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Balach Khan

Balach Khan is the Urdu editor at ProperGaanda and writes articles about Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues. Twitter: @alreadytakenwas

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