10 things you need to know about US midterm elections - ForumDaily
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10 things to know about the US midterm elections

Midterm elections will be held in the United States on November 6th. Although they receive less attention than presidential ones, they are important—their outcome could affect local politics, the political landscape in Congress and, under certain conditions, the future of President Donald Trump and the entire country. This blog by Voice of America journalist Tatyana Vorozhko is about who the Americans are choosing, what are the chances of Democrats and Republicans getting a majority in Congress, under what conditions can impeachment proceedings be initiated, who Ukrainians are voting for and other features of this election campaign.

Фото: Depositphotos

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 constituents in Washington for 6 years, therefore, every 2 years the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate are re-elected.

Additionally, on the same day, citizens will take part in local elections to elect more than 6000 legislators and other elected representatives at the state level and thousands at the county level. Thirty-six states will elect governors.

Who - Democrats or Republicans - is more likely to win 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 prevail over 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 are in districts where Donald Trump won during the last election. However, if Democrats manage to retain all their seats, in order to gain a majority in the Senate, they will need to win only three states with Republican senators. Experts indicate they have a chance in Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee.

The past elections have shown how difficult it is to rely on sociology. During midterm elections, on the one hand, polls can give better results because the principle of universal suffrage is at work here, and not the electoral college, as during 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 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 polls, 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 discuss most on social media. President Trump, the appointment of a Supreme Court justice, the economy….


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?

Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference has already yielded some results. People from Donald Trump's inner circle are collaborating with the investigation - ex-head of his election campaign Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

So far, neither this nor other scandals have affected Trump’s support among his core electorate. In the Republican primaries - the primary elections - with few exceptions, those candidates whose positions were closest to the president's policies and whom he publicly supported won.

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 impeachment proceedings, Democrats need to gain a majority, first of all in the House of Representatives, and better yet, in both chambers. The impeachment process is very complex, but in short, the House of Representatives acts as the prosecutor and the Senate acts as the jury. So, the initiative comes from the Chamber. If there is no support for this process in the Senate - provided there is a Republican majority - then there is no point in starting this process either. And, of course, to begin impeachment proceedings, you must have serious grounds - a 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 and Senate. There are also record numbers of women running for state governor, and in some districts women are competing against each other.

Women are also less supportive of Trump and his policies than men. According to a Post-ABC poll, 66% of women disapprove of the way Donald Trump is performing as president, compared with 54% of men. Women with higher education and those belonging to minorities are most critical of the president, which, in turn, will affect the chances of 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 the state of Colorado. At the age of 25, Polis had already founded three companies, after selling which he became a multimillionaire. He then founded schools for immigrant and homeless children. At 33, he was elected to Congress, where he became one of the five richest legislators. His fortune is estimated at between $93 million and $390 million. Today, at age 42, he is running for governor on promises of free education and a transition to 2040% renewable energy by XNUMX. If he wins, he will become Colorado's first Jewish and openly gay governor.

If he wins, Democrat Andrew Hill will become the first African-American governor of Florida, Stacey Adams the first black female governor (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 Hallquist has already become the first transgender woman nominated for governor.

The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America".

ForumDaily is not responsible for the content of blogs and may not share the views of the author. If you want to become the author of the column, send your materials to [email protected].

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