The National Today

U.S. midterms by the numbers

A closer look at the day's most notable stories with The National's Jonathon Gatehouse: the numbers around the U.S. midterm elections; a Canadian university is teaching a course driven by the daily 'hurricane' around President Trump; the U.K.'s military is looking abroad to bolster its ranks.

Newsletter: A closer look at the day's most notable stories

A child peeks under the booth as a voter casts his midterm election ballot at the East Midwood Jewish Center polling station in New York City on Tuesday. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what's happening around some of the day's most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.

TODAY:

  • Today's U.S. midterm elections are the most expensive vote in American history, with at least $5 billion US spent on advertising.
  • The National sits in on a popular Canadian university class that interprets U.S. politics and the President Trump "hurricane."
  • The U.K. is looking abroad to bolster the ranks of its military, with a policy change aimed at attracting more Commonwealth citizens to the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF.
  • Missed The National last night? Watch it here.


Midterms by the numbers

If nothing else, Donald Trump has made people care about politics again.

Today's midterm elections for all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 35 U.S. senators, 36 governors and a host of down-ballot positions, has dominated world headlines for weeks. And it already ranks as the most expensive vote in American history, with at least $5 billion US spent propping up, or more frequently attacking, the various candidates.

Here are some other figures to keep in mind as the results come in:

23— The number of seats the Democrats need to gain in order to take control of the House of Representatives.

4 — The number of seats that Democrats would have to flip to achieve a majority in the Senate.

6 p.m. ETWhen the first polls close in Indiana and parts of Kentucky. Voting won't be completed until seven hours later when the final ballots are cast in Alaska.

Campaign worker Kamisthial Jones adjusts a Vote Here sign outside a voting station for the U.S. midterm elections in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday. (Reuters)

16 — The percentage of eligible voters under the age of 30 who cast a ballot in the 2014 midterms. Turnout that year was also low among Hispanics — 21 per cent.

36.7 per cent— The overall midterm turnout in 2014, compared to 61.4 per cent in the 2016 presidential election.

70 — The percentage of registered voters who told a Wall St. Journal/NBC News poll that they have a "high level of interest" in this contest.

36.4 million — The number of Americans who have already cast ballots by mail or at advance polls. Thirty states have already reported that they have received more early votes than their total ballots cast in 2014.

2.3 million— The number of under-30s who are believed to have cast advance ballots, 1.45 million more than in 2014.

$4.17 billion US — The record total that candidates, the parties and outside groups have spent on TV, radio and digital advertising.

$69 million — The amount that Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke has raised in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas, with 45 per cent of the money coming from out of state. That's $29 million more than the heavily favoured incumbent, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Texas Representative and Senatorial Democratic Party candidate Beto O'Rourke delivers a speech in El Paso, Texas, on Monday. (Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images)

$1.307 billion — The amount that outside groups like Super PACs and unions have spent during this election cycle, mostly on attack ads.

$213 millionThe cash that 61 wealthy, self-funding candidates have collectively spent on their campaigns this year.

$2 millionThe largest individual corporate donation this election cycle, from Koch Industries to the conservative Americans for Prosperity advocacy group created by the company's owners, David and Charles Koch.

44 — The number of midterm election rallies that President Donald Trump has addressed since early March, including 11 events in eight states over the past six days.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Monday. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

81 — How many Democratic candidates former President Barack Obama has endorsed for the 2018 campaign, and during his dozen or so appearances on the stump.

115The combined number of Facebook and Instagram accounts that have been shut down ahead of today's vote because they were engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behaviour," according to the company.

Facebook has faced heat since the 2016 presidential election over people using its social media platform for election tampering and distributing 'fake news.' (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

272— The number of female major-party candidates running for the House, Senate or State governor, 28 per cent of the total 964.

215 — The number of visible minorities seeking office. There are also 26 candidates who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, in what is being described as the most diverse election in American history.

Keeping tabs on the results:

The midterm election results will begin to pour in at 6 p.m. ET from the first states, with the majority of polls in the U.S. closing three hours later. Here's how to follow CBC's coverage of the U.S. midterm elections on TV, radio and online.

Rosemary Barton and the America Votes panel (David Frum, Patti Solis Doyle, Jai Chabria) are rolling up their sleeves for a night of in-depth midterm election coverage, but first, they're here to answer your questions. Watch at Facebook.com/TheNational and Youtube.com/CBCTheNational starting at 4 p.m. ET.

  • WATCH: Television coverage on CBC News Network beginning at 5 p.m. ET, with an America Votes special edition of The National starting at 8 p.m. on CBC Television and streamed online
  • ONLINE:Along with ongoing website news coverage, CBCNews.ca will carry livestreams of Power & Politics at 6:30 p.m. and The National at 8 p.m. ET
  • LIVE BLOG: Follow along on CBC's live blog starting at 7 p.m. ET and throughout the night
  • LISTEN: Extensive CBC Radio coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET

Trump in real time

Producer Nicole Brewster-Mercury recently had a chance to sit in on a popular Canadian university class that interprets U.S. politics and the President Trump "hurricane."

It's been a while since I sat in a lecture hall, but there I was standing in a crowded corridor and waiting to get into a popular class at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto. Called Trump and the Media, it's taught by visiting professor Sam Tanenhaus, a former New York Times Sunday Book Review editor, historian and journalist.

He says the course is sometimes called Trump in Real Time, and after witnessing his lecture it really is the best description for it. The syllabus is driven every week by Donald Trump and the "hurricane that surrounds him," Tanenhaus says.

Class discussion is motivated by questions about what's happening in the Trump administration and the news it generates.

Tanenhaus' energetic nature gets the students engaged and talking for almost two hours. They debate, share opinion, and speak about what they've read, watched or heard. The thoughts and opinions on issues like the midterms are quite varied, but what's different about this discussion is that it's respectful.

Tanenhaus says that as an older person who grew up in a different social climate and era, the opportunity to lead a classroom filled with 180 young people from all over the world — most of whom are women — and to hear them talk about their perspective on what they see in the news has been one of the most valuable experiences he has had.  

The students must like it too — every week he teaches to a packed room. This video is a snapshot of what happens in class:


  • Like this newsletter? Sign up and have it delivered by email.
  • You may also like our early-morning newsletter, the Morning Brief — start the day with the news you need in one quick and concise read. Sign up here.

Join the British Army?

The U.K. is again turning to its former empire for fighters.

Yesterday, Theresa May's government announced a policy change aimed at attracting more Commonwealth citizens to the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF, doing away with a requirement that recruits reside in the U.K. for five years before joining up.

The move, which the Ministry of Defence hopes will bring in an additional 1,350 people a year, has been prompted by a recruitment and retention crisis within the British military.

A parliamentary report, tabled earlier this year, found that the armed services were short 8,200 regular members, and had missed recruiting targets by almost 25 per cent in 2016 and 2017.

Royal Marines take part in an on-water capability demonstration on the Thames on Oct. 24 in London. The British military wants to recruit more Commonwealth citizens to bolster the ranks of the Army, Royal Navy and RAF. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The military is also having a problem keeping skilled trades interested in a regimented life, with 102 different occupations marked as below strength. There are particular shortages of pilots and engineers.

"As an outward-looking nation, Britain has always counted on the dedicated service of our friends from the Commonwealth to keep this country safe," Mark Lancaster, the junior defence minister, told parliament. "Their different perspectives will also help us to enhance our cultural understanding, giving us an operational advantage over our adversaries."

There are already around 4,500 Commonwealth citizens serving in the British military. Non-resident recruiting was banned in 2013, then allowed but capped at 200 people a year in 2016. (Nepalese Gurkhas and Irish citizens were still able to join under special rules.)  

The limits were put into place as a result of austerity-driven cuts to the defence budget, which have seen the size of the British Army reduced by more than a fifth since 2011, and the Navy and Air Force each shed 5,000 members.

The pay freeze that came along with the cuts made an already tough career less attractive, and saw voluntary departures increase beyond expectations. (In September, U.K. armed forces members were awarded a two per cent pay hike, their largest raise in seven years.)

Royal Air Force engineers inspect a Eurofighter Typhoon. The British military is facing a recruiting shortfall, and is particularly short of trained pilots and engineers. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Canadians who are thinking of joining up might want to take note of another new policy change, however.

Last week, the British government indicated that it would adopt a "zero tolerance" policy towards soldiers who test positive for drugs, including now-legal-in-Canada cannabis.

The move came in response to reports that the recruitment crisis had resulted in repeat offenders being allowed to remain in the service, lest the soldier shortage worsen, and others who had been previously drummed out being entinced back with £10,000 "golden hello" bonuses.


A few words on ... 

A stunning London tribute to the end of the Great War.


Quote of the moment

"I embraced my girlfriend, and some staff member came in between us and she said, 'This is not allowed here … It was very violating and invasive. It's not something I'd ever imagine experiencing, honestly."

- Allyson MacIvoron being physically prevented from kissing her girlfriend during a Jack White concert at Edmonton's Rogers Place last weekend. The venue and Oilers Entertainment have since apologized.

Allyson MacIvor says a Rogers Place employee told her she wasn't allowed to kiss her girlfriend. 2:44

What The National is reading

  • ISIS left behind 202 mass graves in Iraq, UN says (CBC)
  • Ottawa sending 'mixed messages' on Olympics security costs: mayor (Calgary Herald)
  • Video of U.K. partygoers burning Grenfell Tower effigy prompts 5 arrests (CBC)
  • 79 students kidnapped from Cameroon boarding school (CNN)
  • Six arrested over 'ill-defined' plan to attack Emmanuel Macron (France 24)
  • Spanish government proposes closing all public spaces that glorify Franco (El Pais)
  • Cycling advocate who warned of dangers dies on morning ride (ABC News)
  • China to move water vapour from humid west to arid north (Asia Times)

Today in history

Nov. 6, 1970: CRTC issues new Canadian content rules

Pierre Juneau unveils Ottawa's new "CanCon" rules, stipulating 60 per cent homegrown shows on TV, and that 30 per cent of all songs on AM radio be at least kind of Canucky. It was a turning point in Canadian cultural history that led to the Beachcombers, Bob and Doug, Snow Job, Honeymoon Suite, and Candy and the Backbeat. No one was ever prosecuted.

From now on: 60 per cent Canadian television, 30 per cent Canadian music on radio. 11:27

Happy birthday to us

Today is the first anniversary of the revamped National and this newsletter. Thanks for watching and reading.


Sign up here and have The National Today newsletter delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.

Please send your ideas, news tips, rants, and compliments to thenationaltoday@cbc.ca. ​



About the Author

Jonathon Gatehouse

Jonathon Gatehouse

Has covered news and politics at home and abroad, reporting from dozens of countries. He has also written extensively about sports, including seven Olympic Games and a best-selling book on the business of pro-hockey.