Despite not being on the ballot, Trump made the midterm elections about him. Campaigns unfolded against a backdrop of jarring political imagery, overheated rhetoric and angry debates on immigration, health care and the role of Congress in overseeing the president.
The two years since Donald Trump's shock election victory have been tumultuous, as the gap between two swaths of United States society (liberals and conservatives) has widened. Ahead of the vote, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi confidently predicted last week that Democrats would indeed win back the House.
"I think, like the TV stations have been saying, it's a referendum on the Trump presidency", said Eloisa Alvarez as she voted in Miami. Instead of allowing the constituency to retain a natural mix, the ruling party (say Republicans) redraws the constituency map to pack most Democrats into one constituency, so that they can win the other four constituencies. Yet a Democratic House could also give Trump a rare chance for bipartisan deal-making as he gears up for re-election.
Bernie Sanders, the leftist populist who some feel would have had a better chance than Clinton to take on Trump in 2016, lashed out Monday at the president, calling him a "pathological liar". First among them would be a potentially bitter leadership fight in the House to replace retiring Speaker Paul Ryan. For the first time in his presidency, he offered an actual answer when he was asked if he had any regrets. It was a deliberate strategy to expand the playing field to about 80 districts, stretching beyond college-educated voters in the suburbs into regions where the party has seen its fortunes fade.
A slim Republican majority in the House would also present challenges, likely inflaming simmering intraparty disputes. Hundreds of millions were spent by the parties, supplemented by more money from outside groups, to frame the debate.
Pedro Panelo, the 21-year-old president of the College Republicans at Wheaton College in IL, is frustrated immigration became a last-minute political football, because the issue is more complex than what either Democrats or Republicans make it out to be. Candidates and their supporters are using the downtime to phone bank voters who still haven't voted and walk as many neighborhoods as possible.
"I'd love to get along and I think after the election a lot of things can happen", Trump said.
He warned in a Monday tweet that law enforcement was "strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday's Election (or Early Voting)".
Beto O'Rourke, a charismatic Democrat seeking to dethrone Republican Ted Cruz in Texas, said the state is one of "immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees". She was expected to lose to political newcomer Jennifer Wexton.
"If they lose this November, the civil war inside the Democratic Party is going to consume them for years and is going to make Donald Trump's re-election in 2020 a forgone conclusion", he said.
Many people have already voted.
Former Clinton and Obama official Kenneth Baer said they "would have an internal battle at a scale not seen since after the 1988 defeat of Michael Dukakis", when Republican presidential candidate George H.W. Bush won 40 out of 50 states.
Throughout the campaign, Trump has been tested out other explanations - pointing to historical headwinds for the party of an incumbent president and complaining about a rash of GOP retirements this year.
U.S. stocks opened flat on Tuesday as investors awaited the election results. He's been accused of voter suppression but at the weekend he launched an investigation into claims that Democrats were being investigated for trying to hack the state's voter registration system.
Governor posts and seats in state legislatures are also up for grabs.