I think that this graphic on the mid-terms shows the only major effect of Trump on the American ‘democracy’ (actually it is really more of an elected monarchy) to date. He increased mid-term turnout. Just how much becomes obvious in this graphic from Fair Vote
Yeah. That makes the 2018 turnout effect a bit clearer. It was the highest turnout in a century for a mid-term, but still below 50%.
This is hardly surprising, Voters braved the active (mostly republican) racial discrimination in voting laws, the incredibly long lines, and the classic case-study on why having a fetished adherence to obsolete constitutional laws is stupid.
Here is a the charitable version of why the US election day is a particular day…
In 1792, a law was passed allowing each of the states to conduct presidential elections at any point in the 34 days before the first Wednesday in December. This was the date when the meetings of the Electors of the U.S. president and vice-president, known as the Electoral Colleges, were held in each state. A date in November or early December was preferable because the harvest would have been finished, but the most severe winter storms would not have begun.
As long distance communication improved and became quicker with the advent of trains and telegraphs, allowing each state to conduct its elections at any point in a period of more than a month, became outdated. The results of the elections that were announced earliest could influence the outcomes of elections held later in the permitted period.
In 1845, the United States Congress chose a single date for all national elections in all states. The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November was chosen so that there would never be more than 34 days between Election Day and the first Wednesday in December. Election Day is held on a Tuesday so that voters will not have to vote or travel on Sunday. This was an important consideration at the time when the laws were written and is still so in some Christian communities in the United States.
Get that? The reason why the electors had specific times to meet was because of a constitutional requirement for the electoral colleges. A travel issue in 1792 (pre-train, telegraph, telephone, cars, or airplanes) specified the earliest day. This was followed by it getting rigidified in 1845 to what was the usual market day (mostly pre-trains in the US) and to satisfy a religious group in what was meant to be a secular state.
So what that means now is that vast majority of people (apart from the odd state that has a public holiday on a tuesday) will have to take time off a work day to stand for hours in a queue to vote. When they get to the front of a queue, especially if they are black citizens, then they are likely to be told that their vote can’t be cast or won’t be counted.
The wonder of it is that many take the time to vote.
But for a change, Donald Trump actually managed to achieve something more than reckless boasting and ineffectual hand waving. I think that the royal Me of the US and he alone can take the credit for the high turnout. Especially in the massive increases in early voting.
Personally I prefer our voting systems where the self-interested gerrymandering is largely constrained by the electoral commission, where our eligibility to vote is damn near forced down our reluctant attention by the electoral commission, where we vote on saturday, and where I can’t remember if I ever stood in a voting queue for more than 15 minutes on election day.