Washington, Nov 5: Come Tuesday and the US voters will pass their first major judgment on the reign of President Donald Trump, the mercurial incumbent who took office in January last year and has been in the headlines for various reasons. The key thing to watch for in this election is whether the Republican Party will be able to maintain its grip over both the houses of the Congress. The mid-terms will see 35 (out of 100) seats in the Senate and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs. The Democratic Party needs to wrest control of both the houses to restrict Trump's power of implementing his election agenda, including the erection of the controversial border wall. A majority in the Senate will also see the Democrats blocking cabinet and Supreme Court appointments.
Senate: 35 seats up for grabs
In the Senate, the Democrats have a tougher battle in hand since they are defending 26 seats in this election (including two Independents who generally vote for them) while the Republicans have only nine to defend. Impeaching will still be difficult for that requires two-third majority in the Senate and the Democrats will fall short of that even if they will all seats going to polls tomorrow. The Republicans have 51 seats in the Senate at the moment while the Democrats have 47 (plus two Independents). Even if they win the nine seats the Republicans are defending in the mid-terms, their tally will go till 56 which is short of the two-third majority.
The Senate electoral system is not too friendly for the Democrats. Each state has two senators irrespective of the population. The smaller states tend to be more rural and hence are more suitable for the Republicans traditionally. The Democrats will be looking to Nevada and Arizone with more optimism this time since the incumbent senator is not contesting and both houses were won narrowly in 2012.
House of Representatives: 435 seats up for grabs
The Democratic Party has a much better chance to make amends here. The Republicans have 240 seats in the lower house, as against the Opposition's 195 with the magic figure being 218. The Democrats will be requiring 23 seats to cross the magic mark. In the last 50 years, they have made such gains only twice - in 1974 and 2006. The Republicans have done it better one more time, the most recent being in 2010 when the Democratic Barack Obama was in office.
A big advantage for the Democrats in this election is that a record number of Republicans (39) have decided not to contest again in these mid-term elections and some of them are from swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. The Democrats will sense an opportunity here since the US elections generally see the voters not kicking out an incumbent. The absence of that many number of incumbents, many of whom were anti-Trump, could see a change in the script, at least that is what the Democratic supporters believe.