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US elections: Sharply-divided electorate files out

 

A sharply-split electorate in the US is heading to the polls Tuesday to choose a new Congress and to render a midterm verdict on President Donald Trump.

The results could shift the balance of power in Washington and alter the next two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are at stake, plus thirty-five of the 100 US Senate seats and thirty-six of the fifty state governorships.

Public opinion polls and analysts indicate that opposition Democrats have an advantage in the battle for control of the House of Representatives. Democrats are favored to win more House seats than they currently have and they need an overall gain of twenty-three to retake the House majority.

Meanwhile, media outlets such as NBC, Fox News and Facebook on Monday dropped an advertorial by President Trump’s campaign that critics had labeled racist, amid a bitter election fight for control of Congress.

Tuesday’s elections, widely seen as a referendum on Mr. Trump, have been portrayed by both Republicans and Democrats as critical for the direction of the country.

A surge in early voting, fueled by a focus on Mr. Trump’s pugilistic, norms-breaking presidency by supporters of both parties, could signal the highest turnout in fifty years for a midterm US election.

Also, racist automated calls targeted prominent African-American candidates in Florida and Georgia.

These elections, adjudged to be the ugliest US contests in recent times, have seen The Republican president holding barnstorming rallies nationwide, even though he is not up for re-election this year.

In the weeks leading up to the polls, Mr. Trump has escalated his rhetoric about his opponents and divisive issues such as immigration, warning voters against Democratic “socialism” and “an invasion” of criminals from the Central American migrant caravan.

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