As Canadians, we usually like to watch our American neighbours from a distance and just casually keep an eye on them. Lately, though, a major event in American politics has been getting all of Canada's attention.
The midterm elections in the US are coming up, in fact, they're tomorrow. Canadians can't seem to stop talking about them - so with that in mind, we figured it's beneficial to get an understanding of what they really are and what they mean for us.
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In the US, the voting system is quite different from ours. Here in Canada, we vote for our local member of parliament and whichever party gets the majority decides who the leader is. In the US, citizens vote separately for their house representatives, governors, senators, and the president.
Halfway through the president's four-year term, hence the name midterms, the country votes again for a number of different seats. All the house representatives are voted on again since they are always two-year terms. This year, a number of senator and governor positions will be voted on again.
While these elections don't have any impact on who the president is - Donald Trump still has two more years - they do impact how much power he has. Currently, Trump's Republican party has a majority in the house. But if they are defeated in the midterms, it could greatly impact which bills get passed and which laws are made.
Even though Trump isn't on the ballot this time around, the elections still say a lot about him. If the house switches over to Democrats, it is essentially a vote of non-confidence for the president and that makes a statement to other countries.
Which brings us to Canada. As the United States' closest neighbour and valuable trading partner, we will be affected by this in a huge way. The new NAFTA we made will take longer to make it through Congress, or could even be voted down altogether, with new politicians needing to review and vote on it.
If the Democrats win, another possible issue that could affect Canada is imposing stricter restrictions on Canadian oil and the pipeline in an attempt to be more environmentally conscious. Depending who you ask, this is good news - but it will drive up prices a bit.
On a positive impact note, a new government in the US house could ease trade tensions with China, which in turn is good for other world economies like ours. If the Democrats win, they are also likely to soften the US outlook on Canada and improve relations with us too.
While the midterms historically have a much lower turnout than presidential elections, they are gaining a lot more popularity in the media this year. Celebrities all across America are taking to social media to encourage their fans to get out and vote. Some, like Taylor Swift and Oprah, are even going as far as to endorse candidates or tell people outright not to vote for Trump's Republicans.
The official election day is tomorrow, November 6th, but Americans have already begun casting their ballots for the midterms.