U.S. President Donald Trump waves to supporters at a campaign rally on the eve of the U.S. mid-term elections at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, U.S., November 5, 2018..
(photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 in the Senate are up for grabs on Tuesday in midterm elections across the United States.
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.
Despite consistency in the polls throughout the summer and fall, neither party is taking their chances on survey data in light of shock results from the presidential election of 2016. Senior Republican and Democratic leadership, including US President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama, crisscrossed the country to stump for candidates in the final days of campaigning.
The closest Senate races to watch are in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and West Virginia – five of which feature sitting Democratic senators seeking reelection. Republicans currently control 51 seats and hope to increase that number.
Should Democrats take the House, they will be able to block party-line legislation and chair several critical committees with appropriations and subpoena power, making it difficult for the president to unilaterally decide what priorities to fund, and opening him and his aides to investigation on countless fronts. Their failure to take back the Senate will mean that Republicans maintain power over nominations to powerful positions, such as cabinet posts, ambassadorships and justiceships.
Trump is expected to shake up his administration shortly after the elections, according to American media outlets. Among the cabinet-level officials he may replace are Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, among others.
Any move to fire Sessions or his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, would light a fire of controversy in Washington over the president’s efforts to control or interfere in Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and its coordination with US persons toward that end.
Meanwhile, it is anticipated that Trump’s advisers who are working on a plan for Middle East peace will roll out their proposals in the weeks following the election, likely before the end of the year.
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