The 2018 midterm elections are tomorrow and they may be the most watched midterms in modern history. While media coverage in the US has been intense, coverage in the rest of the world has been just as frantic. Midterms always enjoy foreign attention, but this year may be unprecedented.
The return of Barack Obama to the campaign trail, the chances of a blue wave which could chasten Donald Trump and the apparent embrace of racist fear mongering by some Republicans have intensified international interest in this year’s races. Trump’s personal campaigning has helped to focus foreign news organizations on particular races.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper, which closely follows US politics, has published an op-ed today asking “Is this the most racist US midterms campaign ever?” The left-leaning paper has drawn its readers attention to an inaccurate ad Trump shared on Twitter and attacks on Florida gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Independent is already running live updates on the midterms, despite the fact that the elections are tomorrow and the five hour time difference. Most European news outlets are following a similar pattern. US politics is always a draw for European audiences, but midterms tend to lag behind presidential elections.
However, this year’s elections are seen as a referendum on President Donald Trump. Trump’s rhetoric and unprecedented attacks on US allies and the press have made him a constant feature of international news. A defeat for Trump and his agenda – like Democrats retaking the House – would be a welcome change in recent coverage.
Press coverage of tomorrow’s elections will be no less intense than during the campaign. While Americans follow the results on CNN or Fox News, millions of others will be glued to their screens to see whether Trump will be handed another victory or if the tide is turning against his style of governing.