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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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jamal Khashoggi, election
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.

America, election
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

Find Out How Restaurant Owners Are Operating Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Restaurants Revamp Menus, Operations to Stay in Business During Pandemic

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Lucy Kwak paints a sign on the window of a fast food chain's restaurant indicating that the drive-thru window is still open as well as a takeout option during the coronavirus outbreak in Garden Grove, Calif. VOA

In the battle to keep their New York City restaurant going despite sharp restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak, the owners of Il Posto Accanto tried something Beatrice Tosti di Valminuta would have considered sacrilege in normal times.

That was offering their traditional Italian dishes for delivery, “which never, never, never, ever, ever, ever happened before,” she said. “I like my food to go from the kitchen to the table, and that’s it!”

On Friday, she said she and husband Julio Pena decided to suspend operations because employees were wary of being out in New York City, which is now the U.S. epicenter of the contagion.

“We respect their feelings,” she said. “It’s not like we were making money.”

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James Mark, right, owner of the restaurant Big King, talks with Jennifer Wittlin as they prepare for dinner take-out orders Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Providence, R.I. Mark said pushing to restart the economy before the health crisis is over would put businesses like his in a terrible position. VOA

Across the United States, restaurateurs are transforming operations to try to stay afloat. The National Restaurant Association warns that the outbreak could cost 5 million to 7 million jobs and hundreds of billions in losses and is pushing for a special federal relief package for restaurants.

In an industry of traditionally tight profit margins, some decided it’s time to take chances.

Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants, a Cincinnati-based chain that laid off more than a third of its 5,000 employees in the first days of bans on in-restaurant dining, last week pivoted into the grocery business. Besides its signature Big Boy double-decker burgers and onion rings, customers at its 100 restaurants in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky can buy bread, milk and and produce at its drive-throughs and carryout counters and via home delivery.

Frisch’s saw a quick jump in revenues at a time when people have been frustrated by long lines and shortages at traditional supermarkets. Toilet paper is in high demand, and Frisch’s and others are using it as a lure.

Westmont Diner in Westmont, N.J., has added it to carry-out options at 60 cents a roll, along with paper towels, soap, bleach and other household needs. Lindey’s in Columbus, Ohio, throws in a free roll with all takeout orders. Frontier in Chicago gave out decks of cards to homebound customers with their carryout dinners.

Some close

With the number of states with stay-at-home orders growing, some restaurateurs decided to shut down. Cameron Mitchell, based in Columbus, said carryout offerings weren’t bringing in enough business to keep his namesake chain of 36 restaurants in 12 states going. More than 4,000 employees were laid off last week.

Some fine-dining restaurants unused to carryout are trying scaled-down menu at bargain prices.

In Chicago, patrons can now carry out food for a fraction of the typical dine-in tab at Alinea, where nabbing a seat typically requires reservations weeks in advance and dinners can cost as much as $395 per head. Alinea now offers takeout meals of beef wellington, mashed potatoes and creme brulee for $39.95, and reports strong sales so far.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that with Californians under a stay-home edict, restaurants are allowed to deliver alcoholic beverages along with meals to boost their revenues.

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Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant employee Nicole Cox bags up an order of toilet paper, among in-demand items including milk and bread the double-decker burger chain is now offering during the coronavirus outbreak in Cincinnati, Ohio. VOA

Sitting in the nearly empty Frisch’s “Mainliner” restaurant where the chain originated in suburban Cincinnati in 1942, CEO Jason Vaughn said customers at the privately held chain’s 100 restaurants have asked for additions, such as bottles of orange juice, quarts of soup and coffee for home. Frisch’s is trying to leverage its supply chain to accommodate requests.

Vaughn predicts the crisis will change the industry.

“People have changed habits,” he  said. “When the green light goes on, we don’t expect to come back as status quo … when we go to whatever that new norm is, we’ll see if we can continue it [groceries] if it’s a service the community wants.”

Also Read- Lucid Ways Through Which Cinema Puts an impact on Your Life

In New York, Tosti said leftover meals would be given to city firefighters. She said the restaurant’s future after some 15 years of operation would depend on how long quarantining and edicts against in-restaurant dining lasted.

“I’m better at taking it one day at a time,” said the Rome-born restaurateur. “We can hope for a better day.” (VOA)