Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

The Democrats in the age of Trump

Angry U.S. voters head to midterm polls in referendum on Trump Trump says election will be seen as referendum on him
Priscilla Morrison | 07 November, 2018, 02:17

"We need to elect politicians who believe in it and will do something about it". Along with these, a host of local posts are also up for elections in various states.

The party of a first-term president tends to lose congressional seats in off-year elections and Mr Trump's heated rhetoric has made even some Republicans jittery.

Wrapping up the campaign in recent days, Trump repeatedly raised fears about immigrants, issuing harsh warnings about a caravan of Central American migrants that is moving slowly through Mexico towards the United States border.

Many Democratic candidates in tight races shied away from harsh criticism of Trump, focusing instead on bread-and-butter issues like maintaining health insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and safeguarding the Social Security retirement and Medicare healthcare programs for senior citizens.

Donald Trump has been beating the drum against migrants from Central America.

Tuesday's elections also tested the strength of a Trump-era political realignment defined by evolving divisions among voters by race, gender, and especially education. Democrats are relying more upon women, people of colour, young people and college graduates. The race to replace Scott as governor has also been tight - with Democrat Andrew Gillum hoping to become the state's first African-American governor. Despite reports from the ground by the media of the struggles of the people walking almost 5,000 miles to the American border, queries are raised on how come they appear so clean and not exhausted at all. "We have to have a wall of people (against the caravan)". It can be considered an invasion.

But in Ohio, Judy Jenkins, a 60-year-old Republican, said she was voting exclusively for GOP candidates. "Trump has done a good job at keeping Republicans angry".

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The opposition Democratic Party, buoyed by a high early voter turnout including many first-time voters, is favoured to claw back seats in the House, where it needs to flip 23 to gain a majority and position it to act as a check on the president. Bill Nelson versus Republican Rick Scott in Florida - indicates that Democrats do have a small chance of taking the Senate. Republicans now hold 51 against the Democrats' 49 (with two independents).

"After 11 rallies in 8 states and weeks of campaigning for Republican candidates, the President will spend today making phone calls, monitoring Congressional, Senate and Gubernatorial races across the country and meeting with his political team for real-time updates", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. He energises elements of the Republican base, who love him, and the Democrats, who hate him, at the same time.

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats an 87.8 percent chance of capturing control of the House as of this writing.

Asked if he was concerned Democrats would force the release of his taxes, Trump replied: 'No, I don't care. The May 2018 Voter Study Group survey found that only 41% meant to back Republicans for Congress despite their very high level of support for Trump. Simultaneously, there are reports, like in Georgia, that restrictions are being put through various measures including cancellation of voting rights if different government IDs don't match, on voters who come from poorer regions.

Iowa offers a toss-up governor's race and several House contests to watch. Acknowledging the stakes in the closing days of campaigning, Trump stressed that everything is on the line.

Two races which are of particular interest are Georgia, where Democrat Stacey Abrams is seeking to become the first black woman to become governor of a U.S. state, and Florida, where Democrat Andrew Gillum is locked in a bitter battle with Republican and Trump acolyte Ron DeSantis. Trump declared in his typical style: "If she gets in, Georgia goes backwards".

"Obama's got a unique combination of things, and that is going to be quite hard to replicate", Professor Brendon O'Connor told news.com.au. He added: "The Democrat agenda is a socialist nightmare".

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