Washington, DC – Tomorrow on Tuesday (November 6), the US holds its crucial midterm elections, when American citizens exercise their right to vote for members of both chambers of Congress, as well as for governors in 36 out of 50 states.
The elections being held a day before Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, augurs well for the Democrat Party. Political pundits say this might emerge as a defining moment going forward for the rest of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Celebrity Oprah Winfrey, who has tiptoed into the political arena over recent years, was recently campaigning in the state of Georgia for Stacey Abrams, who is running to be the first black woman to run a state if she defeats Republican Brian Kemp.
“I’m here today because of the men and because of the women who were lynched, who were humiliated, who were discriminated against, who were suppressed, who were repressed and who were oppressed for the right of equality at the polls,” Winfrey told an audience as she went down the memory lane on voting rights.
“For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn’t have the right to vote, and you are choosing not to vote – wherever you are in this state, in this country, you are dishonoring your family,” the small screen idol cautioned.
Although traditionally politically dormant, the wealthy and educated Indian American community was recently energized with dozens of candidates entering the political fray in the midterm elections. A new political action committee, the Indian American Impact Fund, appeared on the political horizon and announced support for Indian American political candidates. The Fund also hosted a summit for over 200 Indian American “candidates, elected officials, donors, and community leaders” in Washington, DC. Keynote speakers at the summit included Democrat Senators Cory Booker from New Jersey, and Kamala Harris from California, whose mother is of Indian origin.
JD Giving Raja a Run for His Seat
For the Indian American community, the most visible contest is in Illinois’ 8th Congressional District, where a confident Republican challenger Jitendra “JD” Diganvker is facing the incumbent Democrat Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. Both candidates of Indian heritage background are from Schaumburg in a congressional district where just six percent of the constituency identifies their heritage as from India. With more than 50 percent Caucasian and nearly 30 percent Hispanic voters in the constituency, the contest might see Diganvker turning the seat Red from Blue. JD, as he is popularly known, is running on a shoestring budget as opposed to millions of dollars being spent by the incumbent Raja. Interacting with constituents on the streets and in cafes, JD comes across as easily approachable and a hard-working fellow American. While Raja was elected promising to listen to his fellow-Americans, he is labeled a high-brow, call-me-not type and is out of touch with the problems of the ordinary working class.
The political Blue Wave that is moving slowly but steadily through the key states is definitely pointing to a Democrat-controlled Lower House of Congress, with most observers hinting at nearly three dozen Congress seats flipping for Democrats.
Numerically, Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate today, with 26 Democrats pitted for re-election while only just nine Republicans are facing the electoral battle. Although 10 of those 26 Democrats are in fray states where President Donald Trump won during the 2016 election, there is an underlying current of assigning more weight to the candidates themselves as opposed to it being seen as a vote of support for Trump.
In the last of the election campaigning hours, there is talk of the GOP – the Republican Party, which has become more of a Trump Party, in a long shot – losing control of the Senate (Upper House). The close-call races in Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas are either slipping away from the Republican candidates or in a dead heat with the Democrats.
In Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott is unsure against the Democrat Bill Nelson, while in Missouri, Republican challenger state Attorney General Josh Hawley looks tied against incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. In Tennessee, Republican Marsha Blackburn is in a dead heat with Democrat Phil Bredesen. In Texas, Republican Ted Cruz and one time presidential aspirant is holding a slim lead in the polls but his Democratic challenger, Representative Beto O’Rourke has become a national name and seems to have stronger chances to enter the Senate.
President Trump on Sunday (November 4 evening), before boarding Marine One for Georgia and then Tennessee, sounded optimistic as he told journalists on the South Lawn of the White House: “I think we’re going to do very well in the Senate. I think we’re going to do well in the House. The difference is I can’t campaign for all of those House members; there’s so many of them. But I can go out and help senators.”
With the final hours of the 2018 midterms elections ticking towards the countdown, IAT polling analysts showed the Lower House going Blue while chances of the Senate turning Blue from Red can not be discounted.
The final verdict: The candidate who can get the voters out to the polling booth, will win the race.