Strong economy likely to keep Democrats from winning midterms

Barack Obama condemned Donald Trump without addressing him by name and Republicans for what he described as their divisive policies

Barack Obama condemned Donald Trump without addressing him by name and Republicans for what he described as their divisive policies

Americans started voting Tuesday in critical midterm elections that mark the first major voter test of Donald Trump's controversial presidency, with control of Congress at stake. Trump, the GOP's chief messenger, warned that significant Democratic victories would trigger devastating consequences.

The entire 435-member House of Representatives and a third of the 100-seat Senate are up for grabs.

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro, Ill., Oct. 27, 2018.

Since Trump's surprise November 2016 election, his family has faced criticism that its portfolio of real estate and consumer goods businesses, which lean heavily on the Trump name, conflicts with its Washington roles.

Polls indicate that Democrats will take control of the House, but could lose seats in the Republican-controlled Senate, where they continue to play defense in several states where they have run incumbents.

Perhaps more importantly, they would also win subpoena power to investigate the president's many personal and professional mis-steps. Many other states on the East Coast will follow between 6am local time (11am GMT) and 7am local time (12pm GMT).

Should Democrats win one or both chambers of Congress, it will be exceedingly hard for Mr. Trump and the Republicans to pass major legislative priorities.

Campaigning has seen Republican Trump and Barack Obama, for the Democrats, presenting very different perspectives.

For months, Democrats have drilled their central message into the minds of voters: if Republicans strengthen their grip on Congress, they will destroy your health care, including coverage protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions. The writer, being a woman political journalist from India, now transplanted to the United States, is in a unique position to observe the three aspects that are critical to defining this presidency: chauvinism, gunslinger politics, and immigration. Blue-collar men, however, have embraced the unconventional president.

By contrast, black people, women, voters aged 18-34, urbanites, those with a high school education or less, Gary Johnson voters in 2016, nonvoters, and political independents were disproportionately likely to say they never had faith.

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Among white college-educated women, Democrats enjoy a 28-point advantage: 61% to 33%.

Handel, elected in a special election a year ago, is facing headwinds from a gubernatorial contest that is energizing Democrats in her north Atlanta district. "They're only going to get better", he said of the economic numbers.

His outspoken tweets so far today have targeted illegal voting - threatening massive penalties for anyone who attempts to fudge the system.

How close are the elections going to be?

The midterms are being watched beyond America's borders - as Trump's moves cause ripples internationally.

Sending thousands of troops to the US-Mexico border to counter a migrant "invasion", questioning the validity of birthright citizenship, and spreading stories of scandalous murders by undocumented immigrants: Trump and his Republicans are making immigration a closing argument of the campaign. The president also said soldiers would use lethal force against migrants who throw rocks, before later reversing himself.

(She is now the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and could become chairwoman after the election.) He has previously referred to her as a "low-IQ individual" and at events the weekend before the midterm election sarcastically called her "legendary" and "genius".

Anxious Republicans privately expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but feared the House was slipping away.

"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. Her aching back made her want to stay put, but the 74-year-old in IN had somewhere she needed to be - the polls.

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