What are the 2018 midterm elections and why do they matter?

Ivan Schwartz
November 6, 2018

Democrats are favored to win more House seats than they now have and they need an overall gain of 23 to retake the House majority. "And they certainly are effective based on the numbers that we're seeing".

What's likely to happen?

That's unlikely, by all accounts, because the map is so friendly for the GOP.

Current odds are at 2-9 for the Republicans to take a majority of more than 50 seats. Around 30 races considered tossups by the Cook Political Report are still "startlingly close", according to interviews carried out by the Times and Siena College.

Tomorrow, the Democrats need 25 seats to seize back power (23, plus two notionally republican seats). This would seem likely even in a neutral environment, and history shows that these "toss-up" races tend to go strongly in the direction of the party with the electoral momentum. With no meaningful changes to the way Facebook, Google, and Twitter operate, American voters are just as exposed as they were two years ago to a barrage of fake news, extreme views, and targeted ads.

White House aides have discussed floating popular legislative issues, such as infrastructure, to tempt Democrats and test the unity of the Democratic opposition.

One other overlooked number from the last NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll: Just 54 percent of Republican women who are registered voters said they were very enthusiastic about voting in this election.

The bellwether state of Florida, with hotly contested races for governor and a Senate seat, has seen record-high early voting totals ahead of Election Day.

Democrats painted sharp distinctions with Trump, insisting that only they will protect the health care gains made under Obama, that Trump has employed inhumane measures to keep migrants out, and that the divisiveness he has fostered must end.

Monday will be a barnstormer for Trump, who will make stops in OH and in before a final campaign pitch in Missouri, where he is trying to knock Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill out of office.

In the 16th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Adam Kinzinger will defeat Democrat Sara Dady, 55 percent to 45 percent. Thomas Croci, a fellow Republican, in the 3rd Senate District. Republicans, who have 51 seats, have a six in seven chance of retaining control. Meanwhile, young voters and Latinos would have to stay home.

At this time in 2014, prior to the last non-presidential year congressional elections, Republicans held a minor 43% to 41% lead.

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For other Democratic candidates, Trump links them to his favorite bogeymen across the aisle: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and California Rep. Maxine Waters.

With a Senate majority, the Democrats would be able to block cabinet and supreme court appointments.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement, was reached in late September, but still needs to be ratified by all three country's lawmakers.

The mid-terms will decide which party will control the two houses of Congress.

Linda Sarsour, a party activist and an organizer of the nationwide Women's March, which was fuelled by anger over Trump's 2016 victory, argued that Democrats must "unapologetically call out the president" while providing their own vision for the country. And it wouldn't be wrong. FiveThirtyEight has them at a 1-in-8 shot.

Ronna McDaniel, head of the Republican National Committee, said on ABC's "This Week" program that the media had chosen to focus on Trump's immigration rhetoric but the president was also emphasizing economic and job gains under his presidency. It could result in states such as Nevada or even Arizona staying under GOP control and deliver states like Florida, Indiana, Missouri and Montana.

Thurman asked Trump whether his "tough talk" on immigration caused racism. It wouldn't necessarily be a resounding affirmation of Trump - these are only red states the GOP would be winning - but it would lead to some real, justified soul-searching.

Here are four scenarios for how election night might play out and what each could mean.

Democrats need to win two seats to claim the Senate majority, although most political operatives in both parties expect Republicans to add to their majority. Maybe Democrats pull a shocker in Tennessee and/or Texas but lose supposedly easier states.

Midterms may be more predictable than most things in politics. It's really hard to rule anything out, given we're in uncharted territory here, and that all of our previous assumptions about how these things work have been called into question.

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