IRSHAD SALIM: “In a certain way, I am on the ballot” said President Trump on Tuesday and retweeted singer, actress Kaya Jones tweet recounting his achievements to date: •4 Million New Jobs •$5 Trillion in Wealth •$3.2 Trillion in Tax Savings •$700 Billion – depleted military •81,000 illegal aliens deported •120 Federal judges •2 Supreme Court Justices •83% arrests of MS-13 •Peace with Korea •US Embassy moved to Jerusalem.
But Newsweek reports his approval rating is worse than Obama’s, Clinton’s before they suffered massive midterms defeats. And the world is more interested than usual in the results this time. Under normal circumstances, America’s midterm elections tend to elicit shrugs outside the U.S. But not this year. Trump’s tweet endorses the view. “The midterm elections used to be like boring,” Trump said. “…Who ever heard of midterm?” “Now it’s like the hottest thing,” he said of midterm elections at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio. And the costliest.
By the time all the votes are cast on Tuesday, about $5 billion will have been spent this cycle in campaign cash — making this midterm election the most expensive in US history. That’s according to a projection from the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending. It includes money spent by candidates, parties, committees, PACs and outside groups.
The huge spending has the elections down to the wire. According to some polls, the Democrats may grab the House of Representative as they make last ditch efforts to grab the Senate also–that would then mean holding the majority in the Congress. However, Republicans are widely expected to hold the Senate, according to Fox News — they could even bolster their majority — though Democrats do have a path to a narrow majority if they run the table in the toss-up states and pick off a GOP-favored state like Texas. There’s a chance based on early voting counts.
Ian Bond, a retired British diplomat, says the U.S. midterms are seen in world policy circles as not just another election, but potentially a crucial indicator of the direction of the United States. “If the Republicans do well, then across Europe, people will be thinking Trump is not just a passing phase.” Among London’s intelligentsia, many want American voters to return at least the House of Representatives to the Democrats to try to check Trump’s power, says Vinjamuri, who runs the U.S. and the Americas program at Chatham House, the London think tank. “I think there’s a hope that the blue wave is real”.
But even if the Democrats take back the House, they may not be able to constrain Trump as much as many might hope, Bond notes, because the American presidency has a lot of latitude when it comes to foreign policy: That means Trump’s mantra in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan may run its course –much to the discomfort of his foreign policy critics.
On domestic front the results could become a game changer with Trump’s vociferous stand on three major issues: immigration, birthright citizenship, health care policy, etc.–and majorly affecting the minorities–traditionally this populace is a democrat-leaning community nationwide.
Former President Barack Obama made last ditch attempt to win Democrat votes with rousing rally speeches. “America is at a crossroads. The character of our country is on the ballot,” he said.
And on Monday, NBC joined Fox News in pulling a controversial TV commercial about the migrant caravan (5,000-strong group) heading north toward the US-Mexico border after an online backlash that included protests from Hollywood celebrities. NBC said on Monday that it was yanking the spot. It aired once on “Sunday Night Football” and three times on MSNBC, according to Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal. “After further review, we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible,” the company said in an email. Fox News said in a statement, “It will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network.” CNN said Saturday it refused to show the commercial because its journalists deemed it racist. Critics have accused Mr Trump of using people’s fears of illegal immigration to fire up his supporters ahead of Tuesday’s mid-term elections.
“The country is no longer divided into Red America and Blue America. It is cleaved cleanly between two realities — Trump’s America and everyone else,” wrote Michael D. Shear, the White House correspondent of the New York Times.
Several opinion-maker accuse Trump of pushing hard to divide US along racial lines or by religion, heaping more evil words on Blacks, Hispanics and Working Poor in the US. Others say Trump has rejuvenated America and the wall along Mexican border would help illegal migrants crossing over to land of opportunities.
Over 11,000 signed petition to reinstate teachers suspended for dressing as Trump border wall… http://hill.cm/srS0jyf
Voter registration groups are using President Donald Trump’s nationalist, anti-immigrant rhetoric as an opportunity to drive up Latino enthusiasm https://reut.rs/2QkD9OP
The midterm results will reveal what drives voters: a love or hate of Trump. Since midterms are always a referendum on the incumbent president, and as the most polarizing president in modern US history, Trump will likely inspire higher turnout. Therefore, every vote would count in the crucial elections.
Democrats are accusing Republicans of voter suppression tactics. In the final hours before the voting, many minorities are concerned about the issue.
From Native Americans in North Dakota to Hispanics in Kansas and black voters in Georgia, they are all fighting Republican-led efforts to limit their votes.
President Trump often pushes the theme of voter fraud during his many rallies, with little evidence to back up his claim. So, will the elections be fair and credible?
The U.S. Justice Department said Monday that it will send election observers to polling stations across the country to ensure that federal election laws are being upheld in one of the most hotly contested elections in a very divisive, highly polarized environment–never seen in America before. It’s either vote your fear or vote your rage. Trump is on the ballot.
(The writer is a Pakistani-American business & construction consultant, analyst, and Editor-in-Chief of PKonweb, DesPardes and BE2C2 Report)