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The U.S. midterm elections and Japan

19 3 20

WASHINGTON – The U.S. midterm elections of Nov. 6 are attracting worldwide attention because they will constitute the first “national referendum” on the presidency of Donald Trump.

Four results are possible: (1) both the House of Representatives and the Senate remain with the Republican Party in the majority; (2) the House turns majority Democratic but the Senate remains majority Republican; (3) the Senate turns majority Democratic but the House remains majority Republican, and (4) both the House and the Senate turn majority Democratic. With less than a month to go, it appears that (2) has the highest probability and that (3) has the lowest probability.

In the House — where all 435 seats are up for election — Democrats need to flip 23 seats to gain the majority. This appears possible, although gerrymandering, voter suppression and unlimited campaign financing made possible by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision all favor Republican candidates.

In the Senate — where Republicans have a 51-49 majority — 35 seats are up for election, of which 26 have Democratic incumbents and nine have Republican incumbents. To gain a majority in the Senate, Democrats need to add a net two seats to their current 49. This is difficult, but not impossible. Some of the states where Democrats have a chance to flip seats include Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas. On the other hand, states where incumbent Democrats are vulnerable and Republicans may be able to flip seats include Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and West Virginia.

Election results

If both the House and the Senate remain majority Republican, Trump will no doubt claim that the American voters have given him a “mandate” to continue the policies he pursued during his first two years in office. His ability to do this will be enhanced with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as the new Supreme Court justice to replace Anthony........

© The Japan Times