'Blue Dog Democrats' hope to double size in House

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

The day of reckoning for American politics has almost arrived. In the wake of Clinton's defeat to Trump, some wondered whether he could have won in her place.

At stake are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate, 36 governor's posts and seats in state legislatures across the country.

Michael Gregoire marched along a downtown pavement in the tense days before the midterm elections, waving a hand-painted sign at passing traffic: "DEFEAT REPUBLICANS 2018".

"In a certain way I am on the ballot", Trump told supporters during a tele-town hall organised by his re-election campaign. "The press is very much considering it a referendum on me and us as a movement".

Outside Richmond, one-time tea party favorite Rep. Dave Brat faced an unusually strong challenge from Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency operative motivated to run for office after the GOP vote to gut the Affordable Care Act. "It's all fragile", he said. Pre-elections surveys point to a split verdict, with Democrats winning back the House of Representatives winning seats from more populous urban areas and Republicans managing to hang on to the Senate retaining seats from less populated hinterland, although given the shock results in 2016, no one is putting any money on the forecast.

But with turnout a key unknown factor and pollsters still unsure about the effect of Trump's maverick style on voters, both parties admit that they may be in for a surprise.

And the Democrats also are "ticked off" that Robert Mueller hasn't issued a special counsel report that would nail Trump.

Likely Senate outcome: Republicans hold on to the Senate. Like other Democrats across the country, Spanberger emphasized protecting people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage or charged more by insurers.

The political realignment, if it solidifies, could reshape USA politics for a generation. This, though, is Republicans' best chance to flip a gubernatorial seat with Mike Dunleavy. While Democrats have maintained a consistent message about healthcare, the president has muddied Republican efforts to focus on economic successes. It was a deliberate strategy to expand the playing field to about 80 districts, stretching beyond college-educated voters in the suburbs into regions where the party has seen its fortunes fade.

Facebook also blocked about 115 user accounts after United States authorities tipped it off to suspicious behaviour that may be linked to a foreign entity, the company said hours voting began.

A nationwide poll released Sunday by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal details the depth of the demographic shifts.

"They're generally lower income, younger or minority voters, and are often people with fewer resources who can't afford to go out on Tuesday to vote".

He pointed out Democrats have been enraged for years.

"How we conduct ourselves in public life is on the ballot", Obama told Democratic volunteers in suburban Virginia. But 2018 Democrat congressional candidates are projected to spend more than $2.53 billion, versus about $2.20 billion for Republican candidates.

Jobs Market Growing, US Unemployment Decreasing
That, in part, reflects that inflation was higher in those periods, but also that worker productivity was growing more rapidly. The Federal Reserve has been raising short-term rates to try to prevent the economy and inflation from expanding too fast.

"The survival of the country is going to depend on this election", he said as another man stopped for a moment to argue.

What happens on election day?

"We can even include some surprising Democratic wins".

In addition to electing their lawmakers, Americans in several states will vote on ballot measures.

Democrats need to pick up two dozen seats to claim the House majority.

Polling stations opened at 06:00 (11:00 GMT) on the East Coast, as Republicans and Democrats battle for control of the two houses of Congress. Voters are turning out to show support or opposition.

If the Democrats come up short they face another cycle shut out of power.

The Democrat is bidding to become the country's first African-American woman to win a governorship, and her race in Georgia could go to a runoff.

So the Democrats are in the tough position of having to retain all 26 seats and add two more, if they need to wrest control and counter Trump's positions in the Senate.

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

But with memories still fresh of Mr Trump's upset victory of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race much uncertainty remains. "I wouldn't say it's as important as '16, but it's right up there".

"When you vote, Illinois, you can reject that kind of politics".

Liberal activist Tom Steyer spent roughly US$120 million this midterm season.

"The House has been a rubber stamp for the Trump agenda".

Steyer insisted most Democrats agree. "It's an awakening of the Democratic Party". Now she has a shot at regaining that title - though some in her own party say they're ready for a new leader. The flood of campaign cash, a midterm record, has been overwhelmingly fuelled by energy on the left.

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