Wednesday March 20, 2019
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USA Finally Votes On Tuesday To Render Decision On Trump

Republicans are counting on Trump's frenetic campaign pace in the final days to help them retain or even expand their narrow Senate majority.

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Trump, Merkel discuss trade, security issues at G-20 Summit. VOA

A sharply divided U.S. electorate is voting Tuesday to elect a new Congress and to render a midterm verdict on President Donald Trump. The results could shift the balance of power in Washington and alter the next two years of Trump’s presidency.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are at stake Tuesday, plus 35 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats and 36 of the 50 state governorships.

Public opinion polls and analysts suggest that opposition Democrats have an advantage in the battle for control of the House of Representatives. Democrats are favored to win more House seats than they currently have and they need an overall gain of 23 to retake the House majority.

Republicans are counting on President Trump to rally his supporters to help maintain their narrow 51 to 49 seat edge in the Senate. Of the 35 Senate seats at stake Tuesday, Democrats hold 26 and Republicans hold nine.

Immigration focus

Democrats are trying to hold 10 Senate seats in states where Trump prevailed in the 2016 election, including Tennessee.

Trump blasted Democrats over immigration during a recent rally in Chattanooga.

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A woman arrives at a polling station in Lark Community Center as early voting for midterm elections started, in McAllen, Texas. VOA

“Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan of illegal aliens to pour into our country. I don’t think so,” Trump said, invoking images of the caravan of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. “No nation can allow its borders to be overrun. And that is an invasion. I don’t care what they say. I don’t care what the fake media says. That is an invasion of our country.”

Democrats are getting some high-profile campaigners to help them including former President Barack Obama, who rallied voters in his home state of Illinois and told them Trump’s deployment of U.S. troops to the border in response to the caravan was a “political stunt.”

“When you vote, Illinois, you can reject that kind of politics. When you participate in the political process, you can be a check on bad behavior. When you vote, Illinois, you can choose hope over fear,” Obama said.

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President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd at a rally in Chattanooga, Tenn. VOA

Early turnout has been huge in several states, especially for a midterm election when total voter turnout often struggles to reach 40 percent of eligible voters.

Trump a central issue

Polls show Democrats are most concerned with health care and the economy, with Republicans focused on immigration.

But Brookings Institution expert John Hudak said it is also clear that Trump is a major issue for both parties this year.

“This is a president who wants this midterm to be a referendum on him, largely because he thinks his own popularity is so great that it will carry Republicans across the finish line,” Hudak said.

But Trump is not only battling Democrats in this year’s election, he is also battling history.

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lorida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, left, and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), right, listen to former President Barack Obama as he addresses the media and supporters as they stump for votes at a rally in Miami, Florida, VOA

“The big picture is that midterm elections go against the president’s party,” noted John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. “I think there will be no difference here. The Democrats will do quite well in the House of Representatives, in the governorships and state legislatures.”

Trump’s approval rating is also a concern for Republicans. RealClearPolitics puts Trump’s average approval at about 43 percent, with 53 percent disapproving.

“The midterm history is pretty stark in that the president’s party usually loses ground in the midterms and it is usually a question of how much ground they lose,” said University of Virginia analyst Kyle Kondik. “That is particularly true when a president is unpopular, as this president is.”

Kondik notes that in the 29 congressional midterm elections held since 1900, the president’s party has lost House seats in all but three — 1934, 1998 and 2002.

Will Democrats turn out?

Historically, though, Republicans are more reliable voters in midterm elections.

Gallup pollster Frank Newport said that puts pressure on Democrats to make sure their supporters get out and vote.

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People stand cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 6 election at Jim Miller Park, in Marietta, Ga. VOA

“Under the expectation that Republican voters typically are more likely to turn out, can Democrats energize people who identify with the Democratic Party to turn out and vote for their candidates?” Newport said.

If Democrats win enough House seats to reclaim the majority, Trump would face a shift in the balance of power in Washington.

Also Read: U.S. President Donald Trump To Meet Google CEO Sundar Pichai And Other Heads Of Tech Giants

“The House has been a rubber stamp for the Trump agenda. It will no longer be a rubber stamp,” said Jim Kessler of the centrist Democratic group Third Way. “Anything that gets done will have to be a bipartisan basis.”

Democrats are hoping for a wave election that would bring them control of the House and gubernatorial victories in key states like Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Republicans are counting on Trump’s frenetic campaign pace in the final days to help them retain or even expand their narrow Senate majority. (VOA)

Next Story

White House Condemns Any Link of President Donald Trump to Accused New Zealand Shooter

Trump was widely attacked in the aftermath of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 when he equated white supremacists with counter-protesters, saying "both sides" were to blame and that there were "fine people" on both sides of the protest.

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In this Jan. 2, 2019, file photo White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington. VOA

The White House on Sunday rejected any attempt to link President Donald Trump to the white supremacist accused of gunning down 50 people at two New Zealand mosques.

“The president is not a white supremacist,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told the “Fox News Sunday” show. “I’m not sure how many times we have to say that. Let’s take what happened in New Zealand [Friday] for what it is: a terrible evil tragic act.”

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The statement renewed criticism that Trump has not voiced strong enough condemnation of white nationalists. VOA

Alleged gunman Brenton Harris Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, said in a 74-page manifesto he released shortly before the massacre unfolded at mosques in Christchurch that he viewed Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” but did not support his policies.

The statement renewed criticism that Trump has not voiced strong enough condemnation of white nationalists.

Asked Friday after the mosque attacks whether he sees an increase in white nationalism, Trump said, “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.” He said he had not seen the manifesto.

Mulvaney said, “I don’t think it’s fair to cast this person as a supporter of Donald Trump any more than it is to look at his eco-terrorist passages in that manifesto and align him with [Democratic House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi or Ms. Ocasio-Cortez,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congresswoman.

“This was a disturbed individual, an evil person,” he said.

Donald Trump
“The president is not a white supremacist,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told the “Fox News Sunday” show. “I’m not sure how many times we have to say that. Let’s take what happened in New Zealand [Friday] for what it is: a terrible evil tragic act.” VOA
Scott Brown, the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, told CNN that he gave no credence to Tarrant’s comments about Trump in the manifesto, saying the accused gunman “is rotten to the core.” Brown said he hopes Tarrant is convicted “as quickly as he can be” and the key to his prison cell thrown away.

Also Read: Did You Know? IOM States Latin America as World’s Deadliest Route for Migrants

Trump was widely attacked in the aftermath of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 when he equated white supremacists with counter-protesters, saying “both sides” were to blame and that there were “fine people” on both sides of the protest.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of numerous Democrats seeking the party’s presidential nomination to oppose Trump in the 2020 election, said on Twitter after the New Zealand attack, “Time and time again, this president has embraced and emboldened white supremacists and instead of condemning racist terrorists, he covers for them. This isn’t normal or acceptable.” (VOA)