Election Day to test Democratic resistance in Trump era

Marco Green
November 6, 2018

The party hopes younger voters, suburban moderates and minorities will be drawn to the polls to react against the president's rhetoric. But this will take them only so far.

Pollsters say Democrats are in with a good chance of winning control of the House of Representatives. Aside from Congressional and Senate races, the outcome of a slew of state gubernatorial races will also signal the mood of the electorate two years into Mr Trump's presidency, and two years before he seeks re-election in 2020.

Given Trump's stunning victory in 2016, few were confident in their predictions.

But Trump, who began his 2016 presidential campaign by arguing that Mexico was sending "rapists" to the United States, faced similar criticism then and went on to win, and it's clear that he's going to run the same playbook again. Senate Republicans can continue to confirm judges at record rates.

While keeping the House remained an uphill battle for the GOP, in the closing days of the campaign, Trump and Republicans have tried to sell voters on the possibilities of another two years of GOP control.

The five are all now Republican-held, generally speaking in more conservative parts of California - one in the state's Central Valley and four either entirely or partly in Orange County.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has been tested out other explanations - pointing to historical headwinds for the party of an incumbent president and complaining about a rash of GOP retirements this year.

Republicans have privately encouraged the president to back off, to no avail.

If Democrats win enough House seats to reclaim the majority, Trump would face a shift in the balance of power in Washington. "They're only going to get better", he said of the economic numbers. Aided by Republican retirements and an unprecedented flood of donations, majority from women, they appear to be almost guaranteed to gain at least somewhere in the mid-to-high teens. Republicans are concerned about maintaining their majority in Congress over the Democrats.

In the run-up to vote Mr Trump has sent thousands of soldiers to the Mexican border, suggested that illegal immigrants who throw stones should be shot, and told Americans that the Democrats would turn the country into a crime-and-drugs black hole. On Oct. 22, Trump tweeted without evidence that "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in" with the group. In the 2010 midterms, the Democrats, with Mr Obama in office, lost 63 seats. I don't think they will, but the Democrats have to dream.

But numerous key Senate battlegrounds are conservative states, like Missouri and Montana, where Trump excelled in 2016 and remains popular. The Senate is a different matter.

Trump could also blame the Democratic House for his continued failures to live up to his many promises. And Democratic leaders have already telegraphed a wariness about that.

Even as networks refuse to run the ad, Trump still espouses the same message in it, often telling crowds at his rallies that the migrant caravan is full of risky people.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs, and the Democrats will need to take at least 23 seats from the Republicans to be in control.

These figures may paint too rosy of a picture for the Democrats, however. He has been campaigning for the Democratic Party, focusing on preserving the Affordable Care Act and warning of attempts by the Republicans to strip welfare measures to find money to offset the soaring deficit.

This time, given the increased turnout and the rise of young and first-time voters, analysts see the Democratic Party as very likely to regain control of the House, but less likely to gain control of the Senate.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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