US elections: The mid-term elections are a test of American democracy itself

As on any election day, there is a strange feeling of a calm before the storm.

Votes have been cast, yet there will be no clear picture of the results of the US midterm elections – possibly for days.

Yesterday’s vote was the first general election day since former president Donald Trump attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential race.

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The vote, for Congress, as well as the Senate, is held halfway through a president’s four-year period in office and is often seen as a litmus test for how the presidency is going.

Gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore, US President Joe Biden, US First Lady Jill Biden and US Senator Chris Van Hollen acknowledge the crowd during a rally on the eve of the US midterm elections, at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland.

Worryingly, the results of this set of mid terms are not expected to be happy reading for President Joe Biden. If polling is correct, the balance of power is likely to shift in Congress, making it more difficult for him to pass legislation that he sees as key items on his agenda, including on abortion, immigration and crime.

The election is also regarded as one of the first in the US that has run on a ticket of the future of democracy in the country amid a growing resistance from Republican candidates to admit defeat when they are beaten.

Mr Trump has suggested he is likely to run for president again in 2024, despite having been impeached twice and been the subject of a number of investigations into his business dealings and his actions both before and during his presidency.

After the 2020 presidential vote, he made claims of rigged voting machines, electoral fraud and an international communist conspiracy. Just months later, there was an attack on the Capitol building by a mob of the former president’s supporters who wanted to prevent a joint session of Congress from counting the electoral college votes to formalise the victory of Mr Biden.

Now many Republicans who claim the election was stolen from them are running on ballots across the country and Democrats are attempting to convince voters the very integrity of the elections system is at stake.

Whether they have done so or not remains to be seen – but it could prove to be a difficult struggle.

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