The Trump referendum: Possible lessons from 2018 midterms

Andrew Cummings
November 6, 2018

For nearly two years, Trump's rule-breaking, sometimes chaotic administration has enjoyed a largely free hand from the twin Republican-controlled chambers, but the midterms could finally see his wings clipped.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs, as well as 35 Senate seats.

Pollster John Zogby said Democrats have a "slight edge" over Republicans in the House, but added it was possible the party could win the popular vote and still fall short of the seats required.

Donald Trump isn't on the ballot it today's election.

"Things are pretty good, yet we have all this division and we have this president who's relatively unpopular, so we have this unusual juxtaposition", said Kent State politics professor Michael Ensley, citing Trump's poor approval ratings despite a rollicking USA economy and the absence of any major foreign-policy challenges.

Bernie Sanders, the leftist populist who some feel would have had a better chance than Clinton to take on Trump in 2016, lashed out Monday at the president, calling him a "pathological liar".

There are also governor positions to be won.


In the final hours before the election, Mr Trump has criss-crossed the country, pitching for key candidates in critical states such as Florida and Missouri. "The press is very much considering it a referendum on me and us as a movement".

Should Democrats win one or both chambers of Congress, it will be exceedingly hard for Mr. Trump and the Republicans to pass major legislative priorities.

For months, Democrats have drilled their central message into the minds of voters: if Republicans strengthen their grip on Congress, they will destroy your health care, including coverage protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The political realignment, defined by race, gender and education, could re-shape United States politics for a generation.

Just five years ago, the Republican National Committee (RNC) reported that the party's very survival depends upon attracting more minorities and women.

"A good night [for the president] would be if Republicans hold the House and Senate and minimal losses in the governorships".

By contrast, black people, women, voters aged 18-34, urbanites, those with a high school education or less, Gary Johnson voters in 2016, nonvoters, and political independents were disproportionately likely to say they never had faith.


On the other side, Republicans led with voters between the ages of 50 and 64 (52% to 43%), men (50% to 43%) and whites (50% to 44%). Polling suggests the Republican coalition is increasingly older, whiter, more male and less likely to have a college degree.

Democrats hope to elect a record number of women to congress.

Presidential tides are supposed to wax and wane with traditional economic indicators such as job creation, wage rates, unemployment and consumer confidence - all of which are going gangbusters, according to numbers released last week. "This compares to the mid- to high 20s for most weeks during President Obama's previous year in office". "Americans will either want to put a check on Mr Trump or they won't", tweeted Dr Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Centre for Politics.

How close are the elections going to be? "But it'll be a start".

"Who we are is on the ballot", Mr. Obama said.

Trump echoed what he's been saying for weeks as he stumps for Republican candidates for the House, Senate and governor's mansions: Democrats will throw America in reverse. If the Democrats have to gain control, they have to win 40 seats more than what they did in the last mid-term poll in 2014.

"They'll do anything and everything they can to impeach him", she said. Both parties are working frantically as the election is being seen to be crucial to halt or support Trump's protectionist policies, considered regressive by the Democrats and valid by his supporters.


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