Day X: U.S. midterm elections 2018

 Day X: U.S. midterm elections 2018

Americans go to the polls today to elect 35 senators and all 435 members of the House of Representatives, as well as 36 state governors.There are also a number of state-wide and local offices being elected on the same day.

It is a crucial election for U.S. President Donald Trump, as his Republican Party currently controls both houses of Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate). All 50 states and Washington DC will go to the polls across six different time zones on election day.

The midterms is the name given to the combination of elections for the US Congress, governorships and other state-wide races that take place every two years.

The Republican Party currently controls the the House of Representatives with a 43-seat majority, but it is widely expected that the Democrats will gain control in the upcoming election. The current House has 236 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with six vacant seats. 

The Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats to win a majority, which is no small accomplishment, but the president's low approval ratings have given the party reason to hope, the Telegraph reported.

The US Senate includes 100 Senators, two from each state, and Republicans currently hold a razor thin majority with 51 seats against 47 Democrats and two independent senators.

A clear picture can be expected by 8am tomorrow (Wednesday 7th November) GMT.

In a pre-election Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 3 in 10 voters said their vote in this year’s congressional race is intended as a show of support for Trump; nearly 4 in 10 said it’s a vote of opposition to the president.

Director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the elections may end with the balancing of forces in the U.S. Congress. "If, as the majority says, the elections will end up with the Democrats taking the majority in the House, and the Republicans will retain the majority in the Senate, then it will have almost no effect on the overall balance of power in Washington. At the same time, a scenario is possible when Republicans to keep the majority in Congress - and this, of course, will be Donald Trump's triumph and, as a result, a dramatic increase in his authority and influence, because the party of the current president almost never wins these elections. There were two such cases - in 1934 due to the enormous success of Roosevelt's anti-crisis rate and in 2002, when the nation rallied after the September 11 attacks," he said.

The political analyst also noted that Donald Trump will strengthen his domestic political position with any election results, except for the Democratic victory in the Senate. "It would be a serious political defeat for Trump, after which we should expect the beginning of the impeachment procedure. The attempt to impeach Trump, I think, will not be successful, but still the process will be very difficult for the President," Sergey Markov predicts.

The senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, speaking about how the election result can affect U.S. policy toward Russia, he stressed that, in general, no U-turn should be expected in this issue. "As you know, the Democrats formed the opinion that if it was not for Russia's intervention, they would have won the presidential election, and the Republicans seek to refute these accusations, but want Moscow to be in complete solidarity with Washington on international issues. So in any case, the policy will be hostile. People will change, but the direction of pressure on Russia will remain the same," he concluded.