🇺🇸 Happy Election Day! Best luck to all the Axios readers who are in the fight, on both sides.
The Trump effect: It took Donald J. Trump to do what do-gooders, activists, politicians and TV ads failed to do: get the American public interested in midterm elections and the consequences of voting.
No more: Everywhere you look you see signs of record-setting voting on both sides. It’s the only bipartisan show in town!
The current president, the last president and celebrities engaged as never seen before:
Be smart: To the delight of both sides, in a series of technically local and state races, Trump succeeded in his dream of putting himself on the midterm ballot.
P.S. ... The WashPost's Josh Dawsey has a look at Trump's final push: "Early in the day, the president said that people once didn’t care about the 'boring' midterm elections. 'Now it’s like the hottest thing,' he said."
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
More money will be spent on advertising this election cycle than any previous midterm cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), which powers the election data website, OpenSecrets.
Estimates for TV and radio alone are around $3.27 billion, according to Advertising Analytics. And estimates for digital ad spend come in at roughly $900 million, according to Kantar Media/CMAG.
The biggest spenders on both sides were the top PACs, like Priorities USA and House Majority PAC on the left and the Congressional Leadership Fund and Senate Majority Fund on the right.
Republicans and Democrats have each homed in on two major issues in an effort to get voters to the polls.
Be smart: Despite two years of bad press about election meddling and fake news, Google and Facebook, the world's two biggest automated marketing platforms, continue to rake in millions in political ads, due in large part to their ability efficiently target different groups of voters with different messages.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
To take the House, Democrats would need to win only eight of the 30 tossup races if every "lean," "likely," and "solid" seat went to the respective party, Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman writes.
Here's where things stand as we vote, via Axios' Alexi McCammond:
How the night will unfold, via AP's Ken Thomas:
Fox News' Sean Hannity and President Trump went in for a hug last night at the president's final rally of the midterms — in Cape Girardeau, Mo., hometown of Rush Limbaugh (upper right), who introduced Trump.
Below, Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke took the wheel of his minivan yesterday following a rally at the House of Blues in Houston.
A majority of Americans approve of President Trump's handling of the economy — the issue that's mattered most to them all year — but it won't be enough to give Republicans a clear advantage in today's midterm elections, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.
Why it matters, according to Axios managing editor David Nather: It shows that the economy is one of Trump's strongest issues with the public. So if Republicans don't do well tonight, it will raise new questions about whether they would have done better if Trump had stayed on message and talked about the economy more.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
"After conducting a yearlong search for a second home, Amazon has switched gears and is now finalizing plans to have a total of 50,000 employees in two locations," report the N.Y. Times' Karen Weise and J. David Goodman:
"Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool: 'gait recognition' software that uses people’s body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras," AP's Dake Kang reports from Beijing:
There are an "unknown number of super-wealthy Saudis who remain detained a full year after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman startled his country by turning Riyadh’s posh Ritz-Carlton hotel into a five-star jail for some of the nation’s most prominent citizens in what he called an anti-corruption sweep," report the WashPost's Kevin Sullivan and Kareem Fahim.
P.S. "Turkey still has 'certain evidence' in relation to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that it has not released to the public and it will do so once the investigation is finalized," per the Post.
Since today is political journalism's Game Day, we talked with three of the cable stars of election night about how they prep. Here's MSNBC's Steve Kornacki, author of "The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism":
How Steve preps: "I'm in my office right now," he told me by phone. "I am staring at a notecard that's got the — what am I looking at here? — I've got Illinois: I've got the different potentially competitive districts in Illinois. I've got the component counties. I've got the share of each county that's part of the district. I've got the share of the district the county accounts for. I've got the 2016 Trump and Clinton numbers, and I've got a very rough turnout estimate for each."
On the physicality of his reports: "People say I come across a little energetic and I can tell you, it's not an act. It's not shtick. I'm not trying to channel Crazy Eddie from those old commercials or something."
What we'll learn tonight: "I think we're going to find out how much of the polarization or tribalism that was reflected in the 2016 results, how much of it's permanent, at least for the Trump era."
Steve's Game Day ritual, between his "Morning Joe" appearance and the 6 p.m. beginning of his reports from 30 Rock: "I used to go just find a sandwich shop, bring a newspaper, and I would go carve out a couple hours and just zone out, read that."
"'It’s Giant and Has Like Five Million Buttons.' The Office Desk Phone Won’t Die" — Wall Street Journal A-hed by Jennifer Levitz (subscription):