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

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

If Democrats win control of Congress, they could hamper Trump’s agenda and begin impeachment proceedings

Americans head to the polls on Tuesday for their first chance to pass judgment on Donald Trump’s presidency since he took the White House in 2016.

Will Republicans will be able to keep control of both chambers of Congress? Or will Democrats win one, or both, thus gaining more power to limit Trump’s policy agenda?

Here’s what you need to know:

What are the midterm elections?

The US votes for a president in a general election every four years.

Midterm elections take place halfway through a president’s term (hence the name, midterm) and are often seen as a referendum on the current administration.

They’re different from state and local elections, which happen every year.

What’s up for grabs?

  • All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives
  • One third (35) of all seats in the US Senate
  • Thirty-six state governorships, and three US territory governorships
  • Many city mayorships and local officials
  • More than 150 ballot measures. In Florida alone, voters will decide on 12 issues, which range from whether to ban vaping in indoor workplaces, torestoring the voting rights of former felons.

What’s at stake?

The Senate and the House of Representatives make up the upper and lower chambers of Congress, which is the legislative branch of the federal government, and is responsible for making laws.

Republicans currently have a majority in both chambers.

  • 51 seats or more are needed to control the Senate
  • 218 seats will secure a majority in the House

To take control of the Senate, Democrats need to keep all the seats they currently hold, and take two further seats, which is harder than it sounds. To win a majority in the House, they need a net gain of 23 seats.

Republicans also currently hold 26 of the 36 governors’ seats that are up for grabs. If the Democrats can increase the number they hold, it will offer them more opportunities to frustrate Trump’s agenda outside Washington.

Why do the midterms matter?

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