Half time for Trump: What will the midterms change?

Two years after Trump's election victory, today Congressional elections, which are always seen as a litmus test halfway through a presidency, are being held in the US. Commentators ask how Trump will cope if a Democrat-dominated House of Representatives makes it more difficult for him to throw his weight about.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

No clear winner is the best outcome

Both parties sharing power in the US Congress could be the best option writes The Daily Telegraph:

“The pollsters say this battle of two bases will likely see the Republicans cling on to the Senate but the Dems sweep enough districts to take the House. The result: no one wins. And that might be the best outcome of all. A Democrat House will hold the President to account but a Republican Senate will stop the House from impeaching him, an act that could throw the country into something like civil war.”

Trud (BG) /

Things will get nasty for the rest of the world

The more Trump is held back on the domestic front the more chaos he will cause in foreign affairs, Trud fears:

“If the Democrats win a majority in the House of Representatives they'll take control of finances and some of the top posts on the committees. That will seriously endanger Trump's domestic plans - from his proposed legislative changes and tax reforms to obtaining approval for the funds from the budget needed to build the notorious wall on the border with Mexico and for his budget. If the Democrats keep putting the brakes on Trump at home, we can assume that he'll focus all his attention on the rest of the world to keep his voters happy over the next two years. And it will be the rest of us who pay the price.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Real campaign starts after the midterm elections

The midterm election campaign is setting the course for the presidential election campaign in 2020, US correspondent Massimo Gaggi explains in Corriere della Sera:

“The most likely scenario, a victory for the Democrats in the House of Representatives, would pose considerable problems for Trump because he would no longer have the parliamentary majority he needs. ... Moreover, he would be exposed to a barrage of parliamentary inquiries all with the same goal: to remove him from office. But it would also allow him to turn the 2020 campaign into a trench war and blame the Democrats for the end of the economic boom. ... In the unlikely event of the Democrats winning both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate things would get even more complicated for Trump. ... The attempts to bring down the president would inevitably become the core of the 2020 election campaign.”

Finanz und Wirtschaft (CH) /

Division turning into total blockade

Regardless of the outcome of the elections, US society will remain divided, warns Finanz und Wirtschaft:

“The Republicans stand for white, rural, conservative America, the Democrats for the diverse, urban, liberal one. This division is nothing new but it has become deeper in the past decades. The media landscape, from radio and television to Internet and social media, have contributed to the process. They allow the two groups to live in parallel worlds, each with their own facts and truths. The political opponent is not just the other party but the enemy who wants to destroy personal values and beliefs. This is tragic, because on issues like expanding healthcare or restricting weapons ownership there is a broad consensus. But the current political situation is preventing a rapprochement.”

De Morgen (BE) /

New energy for democracy

America expert Frans Verhagen reflects in De Morgen on whether it is possible to overcome divisions in the US :

“The best one can say about these elections is that they have released a great deal of energy. The turnout will be higher than in 2010 and 2014, and no one can complain about that. ... Having a president and a party whose behaviour and statements mean they can't be trusted with our democracy has mobilised millions of people and made them participate in democracy. This is already an achievement, even if the only result for now is that the deep rifts have been exposed. On Wednesday the next important step for preventing destructive disappointment will begin: the development of a serious alternative, an alternative that unites instead of divides.”

Český rozhlas (CZ) /

Trump can relax

US President Trump won't be losing any sleep in the run-up to the midterm elections, the public radio broadcaster Český rozhlas surmises:

“Trump is successful, or at least that's the impression he conveys. His supporters, of course, will forgive him anything. According to a Gallup poll his approval ratings increased by a quarter recently, reaching 44 percent. That's more than Clinton or Reagan managed in their day and almost as much as Obama, and all three had a second term. In Trump's favour is the fact that economy is flourishing, growing by four percent right now. A figure countries in Western Europe wouldn't even dare dream of. This is also the reason why unemployment has plunged to a 50-year low. Trump's supporters say this is all down to the president, who has dramatically cut taxes, who is protecting the US market and who is successfully increasing the pressure on foreign partners.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Growing polarisation

Helsingin Sanomat expects the political confrontation to intensify no matter what the outcome of the elections:

“If the Republicans retain their majority in the House of Representatives we can expect Trump to toughen his line, test the limits of his power in the new, predominantly conservative Supreme Court and distance himself from the moderate voices in his administration like Defense Secretary James Mattis. If the Democrats win a majority in the House of Representatives we can expect the party to launch an investigation into Trump's assets and - if the ongoing Russia investigation allows it - an abuse of office proceedings against the president, even if the accusations are doomed to fail in the Senate.”

Večer (SI) /

Electing a rock or a hard place

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans really have anything to offer the American people, writes Večer:

“The Democrats, who first lost their majority in the House of Representatives in 2014 and certainly missed the jackpot with Hillary Clinton's candidacy in the US presidential lottery two years ago, don't know what to do with themselves. The Americans have until Tuesday to chose between two options: the patriotic but exclusionary Republican Trump or the friendly and open Democrats who lack true vision and substance. Neither option is good so voters will have to choose between bad and worse.”