Americans start voting in midterm verdict on Trump rule

Former President Obama greets people at a rally for Illinois Democrats on Sunday in Chicago

Political gridlock between the White House and Congress could hinder Trump's pro-business agenda and raise concerns about U.S. political instability, but investors may have already priced this in. Five of those races are considered toss-ups.

Democrats faced a far more hard challenge in the Senate, where they were nearly exclusively on defense in rural states where Trump remains popular.

Polls are now closed in 12 states, which means 41 states have completed voting.

The call came shortly after Pelosi's remarks, which were broadcast on the main cable networks.

US President Donald Trump has taken credit for the stock market's gains during his almost two years in the White House, and those claims are reasonable given the impact of tax cuts and pro-business policies on investor sentiment.

But Democrats are hoping to take control of at least the House of Representatives, giving them the opportunity to derail Trump's legislative agenda, and give them power to expand investigations into his personal and professional conduct.

Every seat in the House, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate and 36 of the 50 state governorships were up for grabs.

The volatile midterm campaign was marked by clashes over race, immigration and trade.

But Mr Trump - who declared on the eve of polling day that "everything we have achieved is at stake" - will delight in the fact the Republicans managed to keep control of the Senate.

Many Democratic candidates in tight races shied away from harsh criticism of Trump, focusing instead on bread-and-butter issues like maintaining health insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and safeguarding the Social Security retirement and Medicare healthcare programs for senior citizens.

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That was during Republican President Ronald Reagan's first term, when turnout among Democrats rose at twice the rate of increase among Republicans, according to Pew Research Center, resulting in a net gain of 26 seats for Democrats in the House.

But as the dust settles on the elections, which are viewed as a referendum on the sitting president, Mr Trump will likely be breathing a sigh of relief.

Striking a dark tone at a rally in IN on Monday evening, Mr Trump accused Democrats without offering any evidence of "openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders and overrun our country".

United States stocks opened flat on Tuesday as investors awaited the election results. So despite getting burned by polls in 2016, I think it's safe to say we will likely see a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives by tomorrow morning. "With President Trump more about the tone and the rhetoric, rather than his tax cuts, for example, which have clearly helped the economy". He'd cast ballots for President Obama twice and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but said after rising stocks and dropping unemployment, he was backing Republicans on Tuesday.

The Trump administration is expected to undergo fresh shake-ups at the Cabinet level after the midterms, but the worst chaos may be reserved for lower-level aides who stay. About 15 percent said that this was the first time they'd voted in a midterm, according to CNN, compared to about 10 percent who said they were first-time voters in the 2016 election.

The first polling stations closed at 6:00 pm Eastern time (2300 GMT) in parts of Kentucky and in, with the last to close seven hours later in Alaska, and results trickling in through the evening.

It would take a disastrous showing for Republicans to lose control of the Senate since most of the endangered lawmakers up for re-election are Democrats from conservative states like Indiana, West Virginia, Montana and North Dakota, where Trump won big two years ago and is still wildly popular. The Republican incumbent had been branded Barbara "Trumpstock" by Democrats in a race that pointed to Trump's unpopularity among college-educated women in the suburbs.

Shalala, running for elective office for the first time at age 77, won the 27th District over former television journalist Maria Elvira Salazar.

"This is the single most important off-year election of my lifetime".

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