Donald Trump

US mid-term elections: the view from south west London

The US goes to the polls tomorrow in an election which will be seen as a key test for President Trump.

Although Trump himself will not be on the ballot paper, the election of a new Congress (all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and a third of the 100 Senate seats), in addition to numerous state governors across the country will be a key point in his Presidency.

We went to Richmond to talk to students at the American University in London about their thoughts on the elections.

They agreed, along with most of the pundits, that the Democrats will win the House but the Republicans will retain control of the Senate.

One of the highest-profile races is in Texas where former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is seeking re-election and facing a strong challenge from Democrat Beto O’Rouke.

Will Irvine, 18 from Waco, Texas, who is studying Economics at the university, discussed the race and his belief Cruz will win.

He said: “I think he’ll still win, a lot of people in Texas don’t vote so even though a lot of Texans have democratic leanings they just don’t vote. Republicans and older people, who are usually Republicans, always vote, so I think Cruz will probably stay.”

The students also expressed their worry about the direction Trump is taking their country in.

Alex Petrucci, 19, is from Rhode Island and is studying forensic science. She said: “I worry about our foreign policy right now. Our President is not the most well-versed in politics because he’s a businessman, so I worry about our foreign relations with other countries, especially our big allies. I’m also worried that he could potentially ruin some allies for us.”

Regarding his possible rival in 2020, Alex said: “I’m a huge Joe Biden fan, if he were to run for President I think, from a Democratic side, he would have a good chance of going far in the election and possibly winning it.”

The former vice president will be almost 78 by the time of the next inauguration, but Alex said: “I don’t really think it matters how old you are as long as you’re well-versed in what you know.”

Living in London, there was a common view that the students are having less exposure to the Presidential election and are able to shape their own views away from the media onslaught.

Marissa Kroeze, 18, from Los Angles and studying for an international relations major and law minor, said: “Back home the media plays a big role in what you see, we don’t get that here for sure. It kind of opens your eyes to a different perspective.”

Alexa Gonzales, 18, from Reno Nevada, and studying international relations with a minor in history, said: “You don’t see signs everywhere saying ‘go here, do this’, it’s not in your face constantly.”

On the topic of Brexit, the four were united in their opposition.

Alexa said: “I would not personally have voted for Brexit because the EU is so close, and it’s so intertwined economically with business that it just doesn’t make much sense to my mind to leave.”

Dr James D Boys, professor of international political studies at the university, said: “US mid-term elections usually receive less attention internationally than presidential elections, but can be of comparable importance for the direction of US foreign and domestic policy.

“1994 and 2010 demonstrate the historic pattern of mid-terms proving catastrophic for the sitting president (Clinton and Obama) and a similar blow out for the Republicans on Tuesday may prove highly problematic for President Trump.”

He added: “However, despite much speculation about a potentially great night ahead for the Democrats, many of the hotly-debated elections are occurring in traditional Republican strongholds, such as Texas and Kentucky, where a Democratic win would be a shock and should not, therefore, be expected.

“The mid-terms will likely tell us as much about the power of the incumbency as it will about the level of disdain for US politics in general.”

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