10 things to know about the US midterm elections
Mid-term elections will be held in the United States on November XNUMX. Although they receive less attention than the presidential ones, they are important - their outcome can affect both local politics and the political alignment in Congress and, under certain conditions, the future of President Donald Trump and the entire country. This blog by the Voice of America journalist Tatyana Vorozhko is about who the Americans choose, what are the chances of Democrats and Republicans to get a majority in Congress, under what conditions an impeachment procedure can be initiated, who Ukrainians vote for, and other features of this election campaign.
Who do the Americans choose?
In this election, Americans will elect 435 members of the House of Representatives and 33 senators. The term of a congressman is 2 years, senators represent the interests of their voters in Washington for 6 years, therefore, every 2 years the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate are re-elected.
In addition, on the same day, citizens will participate in local elections - electing more than 6000 MPs and other elected representatives at the state level and thousands at the district level. Thirty-six states will elect governors.
Who - Democrats or Republicans - has a better chance of winning the House of Representatives?
In order to regain the House of Representatives, Democrats need to win the 23 constituencies, which now have a Republican representative in Washington. In many of them, Hillary Clinton won the last election. Sociologists estimate the Democrats' chances of regaining the House of Representatives are quite high.
And in the Senate?
In the Senate, where Republicans dominate Democrats by 2 votes, the situation is different. Only 9 Republicans are re-elected, the rest are Democrats. And 10 representatives of the Democratic Party - in the districts where Donald Trump won in the last election. However, if the Democrats manage to retain all their seats, in order to obtain a majority in the Senate, they need to win only three states where the senators are Republicans. Experts indicate that they have a chance in Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee.
The past elections have shown how difficult it is to rely on sociology. During the midterm elections, on the one hand, polls can give better results, because the principle of universal suffrage works here, and not the electoral college, as during the presidential elections, because the results of the college may not coincide with the opinion of the majority. On the other hand, the traditionally low voter turnout in the midterm elections makes its own adjustments - even if young people, say, support Democrat Beto O'Rourke in Texas, if they do not come to the elections, their enthusiasm will not affect the election results.
What questions are of interest to Americans?
The main issues that interest Americans are health care reform, immigration, education, and gun control. Here on this map you can see what topics residents of a particular state are most discussed in social media. President Trump, appointment of a Supreme Court justice, economics….
Russian intervention in the American elections or Russian aggressive politics in the world? No, this is not. Sociologist Robert Blizzard said in an interview with the Washington Post that he conducted a hundred focus groups, and none of the respondents remembered Russia. Even candidates from the Democratic Party avoid the Russian topic, preferring domestic issues while communicating with voters.
Who do Ukrainians vote for?
Ukrainians vote for both Republicans and Democrats. They have the largest political weight in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Washington, Ohio, New York and Illinois. Ukrainians defend their interests not only individually at the polling station, but also through numerous public organizations, such as the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the Ukraine-USA Foundation, the Ukrainian-American Coordination Council, the Ukrainian Federation of America and others.
Can the investigation of Robert Muller affect the election results?
Investigation into Russian interference in the election of Robert Mueller has already yielded some results. People from Donald Trump's inner circle are cooperating with the investigation - the ex-head of his election campaign Paul Manafort, the former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and the former Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
So far, neither this nor other scandals affect the support of Trump by his main electorate. In the Republican primaries - primary elections - with a few exceptions, those candidates won whose positions are closest to the president's policy and whom he publicly supported.
However, Muller has not yet completed the investigation and its results, if they are made public in the near future, may become the so-called “October surprise”, which may still affect the election results.
Under what conditions can Democrats begin the procedure of impeaching President Donald Trump?
To begin the impeachment procedure, Democrats need to get a majority, primarily in the House of Representatives, and better - in both houses. The impeachment process is very complex, but in short, the House of Representatives is the prosecutor and the Senate is the jury. So, the initiative comes precisely from the Chamber. If there is no support for this process in the Senate - subject to a republican majority - then there is no point in starting this process either. And, of course, to start the impeachment procedure, you must have serious grounds - violation of the law.
However, even with one chamber of Congress, Democrats can significantly increase pressure on the administration, initiating various investigations and hearings.
Are these election races the year of women?
Definitely. This year, a record 257 women are vying for seats in the House of Representatives and Senate. Also, a record number of women are running for governor of the state, and in some counties, women are competing among themselves.
Also, women are less supportive of Trump and his policies than men. According to a Post-ABC poll, 66% of women disapprove of Donald Trump's acting as president, compared with 54% of men. The most critical of the president are women with higher education and minorities, which in turn will affect the chances of the Republican candidates.
Is the voter's voice protected?
Hard to say. On the one hand, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that makes it possible to impose sanctions on foreigners suspected of interfering in the American elections. Government representatives said they were serious about the threat - both attacks on the election infrastructure from another country, and the spread of misinformation, particularly in social networks. On the other hand, the reluctance of Donald Trump to publicly acknowledge the attempts of Russians to influence the presidential election leads many observers to assume that this experience was not fully taken into account in preparing for the mid-term elections.
Which candidate’s victory could be historic?
Democrat Jared Polis, whose family immigrated to the United States from the territory of modern Ukraine at the beginning of the 20th century, is fighting for the post of governor in Colorado. At the age of 25, Polis has already founded three companies, selling which he became a multimillionaire. He then founded schools for immigrant and homeless children. At the age of 33, he was elected to Congress, where he entered the five richest legislators. His fortune is estimated at between $ 93 and $ 390 million. Today, at the age of 42, he is vying for the governor's office with the promise of free education and a move to fully renewable energy by 2040. If he wins, he will become the first governor of Colorado to be Jewish and openly homosexual.
If victorious, Democrat Andrew Hill will become the first African American governor of Florida, Stacey Adams the first black woman governor in principle (she is running in Georgia), Marsha Blackburn the first Senator from Tennessee, Rashida Tlaib in Michigan, and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota - the first Muslim women in the House of Representatives, and Democrat Christine Golqvist has already become the first transgender woman to be nominated for the position of governor.
The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America".
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