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The US Elections of November 6: a referendum about President Donald Trump?

Are the national congressional elections in the United States, on Tuesday November 6, a referendum about President Donald J. Trump? According to the President himself: YES.

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Friday, November 02, 2018

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Who has forgotten the result of the presidential elections of two years ago when Hillary Clinton was predicted to win by pollsters and the media till practically the last minute? But then the results, state by state trickled through and soon it became clear that was what considered highly improbable had become true.
Who has forgotten the result of the presidential elections of two years ago when Hillary Clinton was predicted to win by pollsters and the media till practically the last minute? But then the results, state by state trickled through and soon it became clear that was what considered highly improbable had become true.

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by N. Peter Kramer *

This shows once more the man’s unusual and independent way of approaching diplomatic and political rules and habits. A breath of fresh air for many Americans; a breach of fixed traditional conventions for many others. “I’m not on the ticket, but I am on the ticket, because this is also a referendum about me’, Trump oracled somewhere in Mississippi. ‘Pretend I'm on the ballot.’

US Presidents in midterm elections normally exist as background noise and give their party candidates space to pull in on-the-fence voters with arguments suited to their districts. The results of the first midterm elections of the three predecessors of Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton show different pictures. Obama and Clinton lost their Democratic majorities in both houses. In 2010 Obama lost 63 House seats and 6 Senators; Clinton in 1994 respectively 52 and 8. Conversely in 2002 the Republicans of Bush strengthened their majorities with 8 House seats and 2 Senators.

What will his (first) midterm elections bring for Trump? There is a chance that the Republicans will hold their small majority, 51-49 seats, in the Senate. Experts tell you that there are many more ‘vulnerable’ Democratic Senator seats than Republican ones for (re-)election. Yet the House is another story. The 2016 elections resulted in a Republican majority of 47 seats (241-194). Bush apart, statistically, this isn’t a safe position looking at what happened to Clinton and Obama in their first midterm election.

Who has forgotten the result of the presidential elections of two years ago when Hillary Clinton was predicted to win by pollsters and the media till practically the last minute? But then the results, state by state trickled through and soon it became clear that was what considered highly improbable had become true.

Nowadays, it often looks (and not only in the US) as if predictions are based on outmoded methods, wishful thinking or even on a combination of the two.

Let’s see what happens on Election Day November 6? What are the voters thinking about when they make their final choice? The US lowest unemployment rate (3.7%) in 49 years? The highest wages rise in the private sector (3.1%) since 2008? Will there be a Kavanaugh effect; a fear for the migrants' caravan? What is the result of the infuriated anti-Trump campaign by the Democrats and their media partners?

Let’s wait and see!

* EBR editor-in-chief reports from Washington DC about the US Elections, November 6, 2O18

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