South Florida voters cast their ballots at a polling center in Miami, Florida on November 6, 2018. Twenty-six of the 35 Senate seats at stake are held by Democrats and nine are held by Republicans. For Gregoire and Kanter - and for voters across the country - the election represents something far greater than whatever Senate and House races appear on their ballots.
While Trump is not on the ballot, the most polarizing United States president for decades has put himself at the center of every issue. Days later, an avid Trump supporter was arrested for mailing pipe bombs to prominent critics of the president, all of whom Trump routinely derides as "evil" and "un-American".
A Democratic win in Tuesday's midterms would be debilitating for Trump and Americans, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci says. "No nation can allow its borders to be overrun". Perhaps more important, they would claim subpoena power to investigate Trump's personal and professional shortcomings. "There's electricity in the air like I haven't seen since '16", he said Monday.
"A failure to take the House would be near apocalyptic for the country", Democratic Congressman Jim Hines told Esquire. Democrats have campaigned heavily on the topic - attacking Republican attempts past year to repeal Obamacare health insurance reforms.
Both President Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned of voter fraud and illegal voting in Tuesday's elections, even though such allegations in 2016 proved to be largely phony and aimed at glossing over the fact that he lost the popular vote by more than three million votes. As editor in chief Nate Silver often puts it, would you get on a plane that had a 29% chance of crashing? When you participate in the political process, you can be a check on bad behavior. Turnout will be much higher than for the 2014 midterms and, possibly, higher than for any midterm election since 1914.
Republicans had another pickup opportunity in New Jersey, where Democratic Sen.
"For the past two years, we've watched this administration attack and undermine our democratic institutions and values", Clinton said. Panelo, the son of a Mexican immigrant, said migrants shouldn't be demonised, but he stopped short of criticising the president, and plans to vote for Republican candidates who could help push Trump's agenda.
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"The big picture is that midterm elections go against the president's party", noted John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. "But I do think that when you are in the arena, and somebody throws a punch, you better be able to take a punch and throw a punch". Any political damage inflicted on Trump's re-election efforts will also affect GOP candidates in 2020.
Early voting leading up to Tuesday's midterm election revealed a wide variety of concerns with voting and registration systems around the country - from machines that changed voter selections to registration forms tossed out because of clerical errors. "That is particularly true when a president is unpopular, as this president is".
"They've had two years to find out what it's like to have an unhinged person in the White House", said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who leads the Democratic Governors Association.
A slim Republican majority in the House would also present challenges, likely inflaming simmering intraparty disputes.
"This is our source of strength", O'Rourke said as he voted in El Paso.
Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics also had some possible good news for the GOP, noting, "There really are believable scenarios that don't require Republicans to win districts that they have written off. Republicans have to catch some breaks, but they don't have to catch breaks in ways that shock and surprise us".
Trump, though, nearly assuredly will face an avalanche of investigations into his tax returns, his payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and his relationship with Russian Federation if Democrats win back the House - which comes with the much-coveted power to subpoena and launch congressional investigations.
But even if Republicans keep the House, their margins are likely to be smaller, making it harder to pass bills.
Should they take the House, Democrats are already plotting to reopen the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation. "Anything that gets done will have to be a bipartisan basis". Majority votes in both the Senate and the House are needed to pass laws.