Finally, he gave everything again. US President Donald Trump ended the congressional election with three appearances in three states. In addition to wild verbal abuse of the other side, he also found apt words: "The Midterm elections were sometimes boring," he shouted in Ohio. Thanks to him, that has changed: "Now they are the hottest topic."
In fact, if Americans vote this Tuesday, they vote for much more than just congressional, senate, and governor candidates. The US midterm elections are a referendum on Trump, on his specific style of national populism – and on what kind of nation the US wants to be.
"The character of our country is up for election," says Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, who rushed himself to campaign for the democrats at the final stretch of this racially rhetorically shaken and real violence-shaken race.
The most important questions shortly before the Midterm elections.
Why is the election so important?
It is about serious questions. Is "Trumpism" just a "historical anomaly" ("Washington Post") or permanent? Is his racist election campaign paying off? Can the Democrats overcome their meaning crisis? Are their progressive stars majority to block Trump for the next two years – and then to challenge them in 2020?
But first both sides have to win countless individual races. The past has shown that most of the time the party that presides must accept losses from the midterms. The Democrats therefore hope to regain enough seats to make it difficult for Trump to govern from next year.
How can it go out?
Three scenarios are conceivable. First, the Republicans hold both chambers of Congress, then Trump would make his tough line even worse. Second, the Democrats win the House of Representatives and then put Trump's policies to a halt. Third, the Democrats win in the Senate, a rather unlikely, but not completely excluded option.
The House of Representatives has all 435 seats to choose from. So far, Republicans have the majority, but many predictions, such as the recent FiveThirtyEight demo site, suggest that Democrats might tip the balance. For the takeover of the Senate, however, their chances have worsened: There are only 35 of the 100 seats to vote.
The Republicans have in the Senate – who plays an important role in filling important positions (read more here) – currently a small majority of 51 seats and could even increase according to surveys.
When can results be expected?
On the US East Coast, polling stations have opened at 12 noon CET on Tuesday (in Vermont, some even an hour earlier). However, results are only expected from early Wednesday morning Central European Time (CET). Clarity should first exist in the House of Representatives. If the result in the Senate is tight, everything could be delayed much longer.
At the 2014 congressional elections, it was clear at about 3.15 am CET, who had the majority in the lower house, at 5.30 CET it was clear who had won the Senate. Anyway, the election is not over at this time anyway, because the US extends over several time zones: In Hawaii, the polling stations close only on Wednesday at 6 clock CET.
What else do you need to know?
In addition, the office of governor is awarded in 36 out of 50 US states. Especially exciting are two races, which are both head to head:
- Florida: Ron DeSantis faces a trump clone of African-American Democrat Andrew Gillum. Gillum's progressive program is an example of the democrats' new direction. If he prevails, he is considered a candidate for the presidential candidacy.
- Georgia: Stacey Abrams may become the first black woman to ever hold the governorship in any US state. Their victory would be a surprise and a strong sign for this population group, because the state is traditionally republican – until today.
What is the mood?
All this takes place in front of a highly polarized, angry and unsettled electorate, fueled by Trump's sharp speeches. The sound was already harsh, then came to threats of violence and a massacre.
First, the authorities thwarted a dozen parcel bomb attacks on top Democrats – including Obama – and the news channel CNN, with the alleged perpetrators also appealed to Trump's rhetoric against political opponents. Then another man – who had also quoted Trump on social networks – shot and killed eleven people on the Sabbath in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Senate and House of Representatives
The Democrats were immediately responsible for Trump, because of his angry speeches against dissenters and the media, which he regularly dubbed "enemies of the people". Trump, of course, rejected that and turned it on, blaming the media and Democrats for the blame.
What role does Trump play?
In the last few days, Trump was dashing through the country to support endangered Senate candidates. At eleven appearances in eight states, he rose to an unprecedented series of lies, half-truths and conspiracy theories to spur the base.
He demonized the Central American migrants who march in "caravans" on the US southern border, as criminals and terrorists. He ordered thousands of soldiers to the border, although the "caravans" weeks are removed. He threatened to abolish the birthplace principle of citizenship.
Whether that will be reflected in the polling stations is completely open. Especially since many – especially Republican-ruled – districts have tightened the electoral law, which make it difficult especially minorities to vote.