US midterms 2018: All the latest updates

US voters go to the polls on Tuesday, November 6, to take part in elections that will help define the remaining two years of President Donald Trump’s first term in office.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs in the midterms, as well as 35 seats in the Senate, and 39 governorships.

Trump’s Republican party currently has a majority in the Senate and House of Representatives, but failure to hold on to either could result in political deadlock for the US leader’s most ambitious policies.

Explaining the US midterms:

According to the latest opinion polls, the Democrats have a good shot at taking the lower house of Congress, but the Republicans are predicted to maintain control of the Senate.

Follow all the major updates, leading to the vote:

Wednesday, October 31

Who will be making history on election night?

From the first Muslim congresswomen to the first openly gay governor of a US state, we look at the candidates who are expected to- or could- make history on Tuesday.

Investors brace for split Congress

The most recent polls have the Democrats winning the House of Representatives and the Republicans holding on to the Senate. Those predictions come with a major caveat of course, as polls are frequently proven wrong.

Midterms are not usually a major market event but according to this Reuters report markets are preparing for the possibility that Donald Trump will be dealing with a deadlocked Congress, in which he will not be able to force through any major policy shift.

The result of such instability could be a drop in the valuation of some stocks.

Is Nevada heading for a female-majority legislature?

Patricia Ackerman has gone from establishing a successful business, becoming an award winning actress, working as an undercover FBI agent in Russia, to now possibly becoming a member of Nevada’s state assembly.

The Democrat is one of dozens of women standing in the state’s legislature during the upcoming midterm elections.

Around 40 percent of the state’s current legislature is female. Having a high proportion of female representatives “provides a more collaborative leadership”, according to Congressional scholar, Jordan Tama.

Native American tribe sues North Dakota over Voter ID rules

The Spirit Lake Sioux tribe is suing the state of North Dakota over its voter identification requirements, which they say disenfranchises Native Americans.

To cast a ballot, voters in North Dakota need identification with a verifiable street address, something that’s hard to come by on reservations.

The state maintains that everyone has a street address via the statewide 911 system, but the lawsuit filed by the Native American Rights Fund, the Campaign Legal Center and two law firms argues the system is “incomplete, contradictory and prone to error on reservations.”

The state’s voter ID laws were tightened just a few months after the Democratic incumbent, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, narrowly won her seat in 2012 with the help of the Native American vote.

The Republican-controlled Legislature maintains the changes were not due to Heitkamp’s win.

Tuesday, October 30

Dairy firm pulls support for Steve King over far-right support

Dairy cooperative Land O’Lakes has pulled its support for Republican Congressman Steve King in light of his inflammatory comments on race.

King has regularly drawn criticism and controversy for his views on race and immigration, which many have characterised as far-right.

As midterms marred by violence, experts point finger at Trump

Experts on the far-right say the run-up to this year’s midterms has been one of the most violent in living memory.

In just the last week, 11 Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh were killed by a white supremacist gunman, and in Kentucky, two African Americans were shot dead in a grocery store by a man who spared white customers inside.

Trump took to Twitter to blame “fake news” for “great anger” in the country. 

Trump plans to ‘terminate birthright citizenship’

US President Donald Trump has floated another measure that will target immigrants – ending birthright citizenship.

The Republican leader has long complained of immigrants using so-called anchor babies to establish roots in the US.

In an interview with “Axios on HBO”, Trump said he wanted to revoke the constitutional right to citizenship for babies born in US territory.

The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, introduced in 1868, says: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” 

Any attempt by Trump to unilaterally end the right would spark a long legal battle and most legal scholars think that he will not be able to revoke the amendment.

Rather, the announcement seems in line with Trump’s wider pre-election rhetoric against immigration, including his denunciations of a caravan of migrants and asylum seekers heading towards the Mexico-US border. 

Monday, October 22 

Anti-Muslim campaigning in the US is a ‘losing strategy’: report

A report published by the Muslim Advocates rights groups describes a swell of anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric since US President Donald Trump took power.

It documented 80 instances of “clear anti-Muslim rhetoric” employed by political candidates in 2017 and 2018, adding that 64 percent of the candidates held office before or enjoyed a presidential endorsement.

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