- Good Sherine
- BBC – Washington
Millions of Americans will vote in Tuesday’s midterm elections, at a time when the balance of power in Congress is at stake.
The entire US House of Representatives, about a third of the Senate and key state governors are contested.
President Joe Biden, a Democrat, and former President Donald Trump, a Republican, made their closing arguments at competitive rallies.
Biden’s ability to pass laws will falter if Republicans take control of the House of Representatives, as expected.
The Democrats currently control the White House, and by a very small margin, both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Midterm elections are often seen as a referendum on the president’s leadership.
Despite delivering on promises of lowering drug prices, expanding the use of clean energy, and revamping US infrastructure, Biden has seen his popularity plummet after the worst inflation in four decades, an illegal crossing of the US-Mexico border, and voter fears about crime.
Tuesday’s political hit by Democrats could encourage uncertainty within the party over whether Biden, who turns 80 this month, should run for re-election in 2024.
Biden went to Maryland on Monday night to campaign for Wes Moore, who is expected to make history as the third black state governor ever elected in the United States.
“Today we face an inflection point,” Biden told a crowd at a historically black college outside Washington.
“We know within ourselves that our democracy is in danger, and we know this is the moment to defend it,” he added.
According to a tally by the BBC’s US partner, CBS News, more than half of the Republican midterm candidates have cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 White House election, echoing Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of widespread fraud.
Trump spent Election Day eve at a recent rally in Ohio, alongside Republican Senate candidate JD Vance.
The former president said he would make a “very big announcement” at his Florida home on November 15.
“If you support the decline and fall of America, you should, of course, vote for the crazy, radical left,” he told the crowd.
“If you want to stop the destruction of our country, tomorrow you must vote Republican in a giant red wave.”
Trump’s party needs only five seats to tip the balance of power in the House of Representatives and one seat to take over the evenly divided Senate.
Nonpartisan election watchers expect Republicans to win roughly 15 to 25 seats in the 435-seat House of Representatives.
But the battle for the upper house of Congress could go either way, according to most political forecasts, and is expected to come down to the heated races in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona.
The Republicans, if they win the House of Representatives, have vowed to close the Democratic-led investigation into last year’s riots at the Capitol and begin investigations into the Biden administration.
And Kevin McCarthy, who is likely to become the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, which would put him in second place after the presidency, refused to rule out the activation of the president’s impeachment proceedings.
Biden’s power to appoint judges or administrative positions over the next two years will be severely diminished if Republicans win the Senate.
More than 43.5 million votes have already been cast in the early voting process, according to US election law.
But it may be days or weeks before the midterm election results are clear and whether the contest results are close, as some states allow mail-in ballots to be mailed on Election Day itself, and there can be a recount.