Results from the US midterm elections are continuing to stream in, but if you’re battling to make sense of what it all actually means, you’re not alone.
Is Trump still president? What is the Senate? And why should South Africans care?
Here are five things you need to know.
Yes, Trump is still president
The US midterm elections take place 2 years into a president’s 4-year term. The objective is not to choose a new president, but rather to elect members of the House of Representatives and the Senate Chamber .These are the people that vote on legislation.
Republicans vs Democrats
President Donald Trump is a Republican and although he remains president, the outcome of the midterms will determine the power held by the Republicans over the Democrats.
The University of Johannesburg’s Professor Mcebisi Ndletyana says a seat majority for the Democrats will lessen the Republicans’ hold on power. This means Trump will not have an obvious majority and support for some of his more controversial policies.
Outcome reflects on Trump
Prof. Ndletyana explained that the midterm elections are a good way to measure Trump’s performance as president. Voter response will determine the number of seats that Republicans receive.
An increase in seats loosely means that voters are happy with Trump’s leadership. A decrease indicates that voters are not entirely satisfied with policies that the president and his party are advancing.
Africans have interest in US midterm elections
“A number of African countries have trade agreements with the US and, as such, should be watching the American election developments closely,” said the professor.
Losing grip on power could translate into the Republicans possibly having to revisit some of their policies, including those with a direct impact on Africa.
Intensified drive to lure voters to the polls
Trump has been hugely controversial in his policies, especially those regarding immigrants.
Prof. Ndletyana says the outcome of the midterms is a more accurate reflection of the citizens’ wishes if more people exercise their right to vote.
However, the heightened emphasis on getting people to the polls might be motivated by the public’s desire to diminish Trump’s support base and prevent him from implementing policies, which might be detrimental to relations between the US and the rest of the world.