Tuesday 17 September 2019

Donald Trump says he is on the midterm ballot paper ‘even though I’m not’

Some Democrat supporters, meanwhile, admitted they feared a 2016-style shock from voters.

Air Force One taxis past a large crowd as President Donald Trump arrives for a rally in Georgia (John Bazemore/AP)
Air Force One taxis past a large crowd as President Donald Trump arrives for a rally in Georgia (John Bazemore/AP)

By Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller

President Donald Trump has implored his supporters to vote on Tuesday, saying the media will treat the midterm results as a referendum on his presidency.

Meanwhile, some Democrat supporters admitted they were haunted by the spectre of 2016 when Mr Trump’s triumph confounded the pundits and opinion polls which had predicted a Hillary Clinton victory.

“Even though I’m not on the ballot, in a certain way I am on the ballot,” Mr Trump said during a tele-town hall meeting organised by his re-election campaign on Monday to encourage Republicans to get out and vote.

“The press is very much considering it a referendum on me and us as a movement.”

I don't think there's a Democrat in this country that doesn't have a little angst left over from 2016 deep down Stephanie Schriock

The comments came as Mr Trump prepared for a final, three-state rally blitz as he tries to keep Congress in Republican control and stave off losses that could profoundly change his presidency.

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Mr Trump’s closing argument has largely focused on fear, warning, with no evidence, that a Democratic takeover would throw the country into chaos, spurring an influx of illegal immigration and a wave of crime.

And on Monday, he made the case that if Democrats win, they will work to roll back everything he is tried to accomplish.

President Donald Trump returns to the White House after campaigning (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

“It’s all fragile,” he said on the call.

Mr Trump will be holding his final three get-out-the-vote rallies Monday in Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, a day after stops in Tennessee and Georgia, where the president’s closing argument to voters was on stark display as he sought to motivate complacent Republicans to the polls by stoking fears about the prospects of Democratic control.

“You want to see Georgia prosperity end?” Mr Trump told the rally crowd in Macon, Georgia.

“Vote for the Democrat.”

Mr Trump’s remarks included ominous references to the “Antifa” far-left-leaning militant groups and a migrant caravan marching toward the US-Mexico border that he has called an “invasion”.

There are indications that a “blue wave” may help Democrats seize control of at least one chamber of Congress.

But two years after an election that proved polls and prognosticators wrong, nothing is certain on the eve of the first nationwide elections of the Trump presidency.

“I don’t think there’s a Democrat in this country that doesn’t have a little angst left over from 2016 deep down,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List, which spent more than ever before, nearly 60 million US dollars in all, to support Democratic women this campaign season.

“Everything matters and everything’s at stake,” Ms Schriock said.

All 435 seats in the US House are up for re-election.

Former President Barack Obama, left, campaigns for Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker (Ashlee Rezin/AP)

And 35 Senate seats are in play, as are almost 40 governorships and the balance of power in virtually every state legislature.

One key race in Georgia for the state’s governorship has attracted much attentions and visits from Mr Trump, his vice-president Mike Pence and, on the Democrat side, former president Barack Obama and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

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Republican candidate Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams are locked in a tight race that could head to a run-off if neither wins a majority on Tuesday.

Ms Abrams would be the first black woman elected governor in any US state and can also count another former president and former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, as a supporter.

Mr Kemp looks to defend his party’s control of a state Democrats believe could be a presidential battleground in 2020.

Both candidates have called their match a battle for Georgia’s soul.

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