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Democrats’ midterm election gains may complicate Trump’s dialogue with Russia — experts

MOSCOW, November 7. /TASS/. Having won control of the House of Representatives, the Democrats will make it even harder for US President Donald Trump to reach any kind of agreement with Russia, experts of the International Valdai Discussion Club said.

“Having received the majority in the House of Representatives, the Democrats will most likely resume the Congressioanl inquiry into the alleged collusion between the Kremlin and Trump’s team back in 2016, affecting the Trump team to communicate and reach agreement with Russia even further,” said Dmitry Suslov, the deputy head of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies (CCEIS) at the Higher School of Economics. “That’s why I think that the situation in Russian-US relations will worsen even further under this scenario, and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives will make a full-fledged summit between [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Trump impossible.”

The expert said that the status quo, in which the Republicans hold the majority in the US Congress, would be the most favorable development for Moscow, because it would keep the current Russian-US confrontation within the limits of predictability.

Results forecast

The Valdai Club analysts suggested, citing pre-election surveys, that the Democratic Party will be able to win additional 23 seats in the House of Representatives, which they require for a majority. 

Maxim Suchkov, a senior research fellow at the Center for International Processes Analysis of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and an editor of the US-based Al-Monitor magazine said, “there are 17 seats which the Democrats are almost sure to win, but it is yet unclear what will happen with the remaining six.”

“The Democrats will dominate the House of Representatives, they have high chances of doing so, but they are unlikely to win the majority in the Senate,” Suchkov added.

Dmitry Suslov, in turn, suggested that the current economic growth, which followed Trump’s victory in the presidential elections, would help the Republicans to achieve good results.

Both experts agree that the Democrats are likely to benefit from “anti-Trump rhetoric,” claiming, “the current economic achievements were achieved through speculative means, and the country will fall into a recession at the end of Trump’s presidency.”

US elections

The midterm elections in the US are taking place on November 6. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 out of the 100 seats in the Senate are up for grabs. In addition, 36 states and three territories are holding gubernatorial elections. Besides, 6,073 state and local officials are also being elected.

Meanwhile, CNN said citing figures by Catalist, that the number of early voters stood at 33,166,611 people as of Tuesday morning. During the previous midterm elections in 2014, the number of early voters was about 20.6 million.

According to NBC reports, the overall voter turnout may be a record high, with about 100 million people casting their ballots.

Last Friday, US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said at a Council on Foreign Relations event that the midterm elections would be the most secure in US history.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a joint statement, saying they “have no indication of compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes.” “But Americans should be aware that foreign actors – and Russia in particular – continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord,” the statement adds.

First polling stations opened at 05:00 (13:00 Moscow time) in Vermont. The last polling stations to close will be those in Hawaii, at 18:00 local time (07:00 Wednesday Moscow time). The first preliminary results are expected from the northeastern US, at about 02:00 Moscow time on Wednesday, September 7.

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