Midterm elections are just 18 days away and it is no exaggeration to say the future of our republic and our democracy is at stake. Here is a Canadian journalist's analysis of our upcoming midterms. I figure a Canadian would be more objective than an American, eh?

2018 US midterms: What's at stake for Trump, Democrats and GOP in November's elections?
Andrew Russell, Global News, Sep 16 2018

The 2018 US congressional midterm elections are about one thing: the Presidency of Donald Trump. While Trump himself won't be on the ballot, Americans will look back on the last two years under the Republican president and decide how the next two years will be shaped. Will the grasp of the GOP – currently in control of both the House and the Senate – remain or will a "blue wave" of Democrats shut down Trump's agenda for his remaining time in office?

Scheduled to take place on November 6, the midterm elections are part of a system of checks on the US political system and presidency. House members serve two-year terms meaning the contests happen along with presidential elections and in "off years" without a presidential race, like 2018. The staggering of the elections means that either a presidential or a midterm election is held every two years.

Americans will vote on all 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, just 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be in play this year as Senators serve six-year terms. At the state level, 39 governorships will be up for grabs and voters will also decide a number of ballot measures on issues including abortion, voter ID laws, Medicaid health insurance and marijuana.

Currently, Republicans control Congress, with Democrats trying to win back the House and possibly the Senate. The Democrats have 193 seats to Republicans' 236 with six vacancies. The Dems will need a net gain of roughly 25 seats to win a 218-member majority in the 435-seat chamber.

Winning the Senate will be a much more difficult task for Democrats. The GOP hold 51 of the 100 seats, but the Senate races will be especially tough for the Dems who are defending 26 of the 35 seats being contested.

A win for Republicans could mean further dismantling Obamacare and appointing more conservative judges to courtrooms. If Democrats win control of either chamber, Trump's legislative agenda would be mostly dead on arrival, meaning no border wall, no cuts to welfare and social security and no further tax cuts.

It could also lead to a re-examination of immigration reform, including revisiting the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that shielded young people from deportation who came to the US illegally with their parents.

Every day, there seems to be a new story or scandal that could change what happens between now and November. Generally, it's believed that the Senate is likely to stay Republican while Democrats have a strong chance to win the House, leading many to predict a "blue wave" is coming in November.

Democrats have consistently won state-level elections and special elections, managing to flip 11 seats in Congress this year to the Republicans' two. Meanwhile, Trump has long predicted a "red wave" of Republican victories and warned that any GOP losses could threaten public safety and weaken the nation's borders.

Historically, the president's party does not do well during midterm elections. Barack Obama's Democrats lost 63 House seats during the first midterm in 2010 and during George W. Bush's second term, the GOP lost 30 seats.