The Democrats in the age of Trump

Susan Walsh  APPresident Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Estero Fla. Oct. 31 2018

Susan Walsh APPresident Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Estero Fla. Oct. 31 2018

Firstly, in a broad sense, many see the midterms as a referendum on the performance of the sitting president, so poor performance for the Republicans could be an ominous sign of what's to come in 2020.

Republicans are counting on Trump's frenetic campaign pace in the final days to help them retain or even expand their narrow Senate majority.

All 435 seats in the US House are up for re-election.

In the House, the Fox News Power Rankings reflect 29 "toss-up" races.

Some $5.2 billion is expected to be spent on the 2018 midterm election.

At present the Republicans have a 80.9 percent chance of controlling the Senate and the Democrats only have 19.1 percent.

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.

In suburban areas where key House races will be decided, voters skewed significantly toward Democrats by a almost 10-point margin. Trump, the GOP's chief messenger, warned that significant Democratic victories would trigger devastating consequences. "It could happen", he said, adding "don't worry about it". "Even though I'm not on the ballot, in a certain way I am on the ballot", Trump said at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday night.

Democrats could also recapture governor's offices in several battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and OH, a potential help for the party in those states in the 2020 presidential race.

Republicans have played up the robust economy, but also used scare tactics and accused the Democratic Party of wanting to turn America into a socialist disaster rife with criminal illegal immigrants. Other committees are plotting aggressive oversight of Trump's administration and his web of business interests.

The final polls varied, but they were generally good for Democrats.

An 86% chance is not a sure thing, but it's a strong indicator of the most likely outcome. First among them would be a potentially bitter leadership fight in the House to replace retiring Speaker Paul Ryan.

Republicans will do their best to exacerbate those divisions.

"Clearly there's an terrible lot on the line in terms of the legislative agenda", said Republican consultant Josh Holmes. Democrats would need a swing of at least 23 votes to gain control of the House.

Some in the White House think losing to Democrats might actually be preferable.

Democrats are acutely aware of the risks they are facing this time around.

"I feel confident we will win", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday, decked out in a bright blue dress at her party's headquarters in Washington, D.C. But Karl Rove, former top adviser to President George W. Bush, has a different prediction about how Republicans will react if they lose the House.

"The peril is subpoenas, investigations, legal bills and headaches", he said. Trump's response to the court decision was to call Kemp's campaign "extraordinary" and attack his Democrat opponent Stacy Abrams.

Editor's note: Men like Trump is a series of dispatches that tell of how a reckless president is steering the White House, and the manner in which his actions are fundamentally altering the office he holds.

The two years since Donald Trump's shock election victory have been tumultuous, as the gap between two swaths of U.S. society (liberals and conservatives) has widened. Young people, who historically sit out of midterm elections, and women are both expected to be pivotal forces Tuesday.

"Democrats have to win back the House and stop Trump".

Outside Richmond, one-time tea party favorite Rep. Dave Brat faced an unusually strong challenge from Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency operative motivated to run for office after the GOP vote to gut the Affordable Care Act.

Turnout for mid-term elections is traditionally lower than in presidential years, but the results could have dramatic implications for the United States, and in particular for Trump's legislative agenda. Republicans were quick to point out that the party in power typically suffers defeats in midterms.

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