On November 8 Americans go to the polls to vote in midterm elections. The outcome will determine which political party, Democrat or Republican, will hold power in Congress for the second half of Joe Biden’s term as president.

Voting will be taking place in a highly charged political environment. Americans are angry, regardless of political party, age, race or gender. As Robert Stevens, an Indiana University political science professor, explains, heated debate is a sign of a healthy, functioning democracy. And it may result in greater voter turnout as politicians on both the left and the right capitalise on the discontent. But increased social polarisation is not good for the long-term health of a democracy.

And then there’s Donald Trump who plans a rally to “energise” voters while the big tease continues to be whether he will run for president again. What is there still to know about Trump, now embroiled in a web of lawsuits and investigations? It’s a question Matthew Ricketson poses in his review of Maggie Haberman’s new book about the former president, Confidence Man.

Caroline Southey

Founding Editor

American voters are angry – that is a good thing for voter turnout, bad thing for democracy

Steven Webster, Indiana University

Americans voters are angry about everything from abortion to inflation. While anger is good for voter turnout, it’s ultimately bad for solving problems in a democracy.

Cruelty, pettiness and real estate: in Confidence Man, Maggie Haberman wields eye popping anecdotes to plumb the Trump phenomenon

Matthew Ricketson, Deakin University

Donald Trump likes books about as much as he does germs, but more than 100 have been written about him. Journalist Maggie Haberman conducted 250 interviews for hers, including three with Trump.

Japan’s ‘waste not, want not’ philosophy has deep religious and cultural roots, from monsters and meditation to Marie Kondo’s tidying up

Kevin C. Taylor, University of Memphis

Shinto and Buddhist ideas about interconnectedness have deeply influenced Japan, shaping centuries-old rituals and stories whose impact continues today.