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The mural on the exterior wall of a liquor store in Los Angeles tells you everything you need to know about how California views Donald Trump.

The president – hair and tie flailing – is held in a headlock by a masked Mexican lucha libre wrestler. It is clear this is not "Trump country".

Mr Trump lost California by a staggering four million votes in 2016. He still won the election of course, but the state could prove pivotal if his Republican Party is to see control of Congress slip from its grasp.

Of the 23 seats in the House of Representatives that Democrats need to "flip" from red to blue, a third are in America's most populous state.

Even in traditionally conservative areas like Orange County, which was once labelled "Republican heaven" by Ronald Reagan, the party could see significant defeats.

Dana Rohrabacher has been in Congress for nearly 30 years, most recently with the label of "Putin's congressman" for his pro-Russia campaigning. He could lose to Republican-turned-Democrat Harley Rouda.

A district once jokingly considered as being behind the "Orange Curtain" is now mostly minority, with growing Asian and Latino populations. The drive to mobilise young voters is also changing the voting picture.

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Video: 'Nobody's going to tell us to shut up again'

Saddleback College in Orange County even staged a Halloween-themed "get out of the vote" event aimed at not letting students "ghost" the election.

Student Tamra Simms said: "Maybe it's time to get all of those older people out and get some young blood who are more closely aligned to what we are today and make decisions based on what today's climate is and not the 1950s."

And Amanda Tang added: "For the longest time I just didn't care about politics. I'm just one of seven billion people in the world, why do I matter? And then I started becoming more interested and I'm aware that if we all banded together it would make a big difference."

A billboard in Los Angeles days before the midterm elections
Image: A billboard in Los Angeles days before the midterm elections

Democrats even have a millennial candidate in California's 50th district. Ammar Campa-Najjar, a 29-year-old Mexican Palestinian American, is running against an incumbent who will go on trial for campaign finance violations next month.

In a heavily conservative district, his campaign does not go after the president.

He said: "It's not enough to just oppose Trump or be angry about what half of American voted for. We have to try to work together. America has never been at the mercy of one person or president."

Running for office in California is Ammar Campa-Najjar, a 29-year-old Mexican Palestinian American
Image: Running for office is Ammar Campa-Najjar, a 29-year-old Mexican Palestinian American

Democrat control of the House would see them increase pressure on Mr Trump over controversies like his tax returns and possible impeachment proceedings.

Whatever happens in the midterms, Democrats face the bigger question of who will lead them into the 2020 presidential election against the current US leader.

Political analyst Jim Newton told Sky News: "I think the Dems can find a way to beat Trump. He's intensely unpopular.

"The only problem is that they don't have a candidate," he said.

More from California

"The challenge for Democrats is for a unifying candidate to emerge who can really bring liberals, moderates and even conservatives together and convince them that there is a legitimate alternative to Trump out there."

:: Live coverage of the US midterm elections on Sky News from 11pm on Tuesday with Adam Boulton live in Washington and our breaking results service on skynews.com and app, plus expert analysis from breakfast on Wednesday

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