From our correspondent in Washington
Two years after his election surprise, Donald Trump is once again in his will-all in the polls. The mid-term elections, this Tuesday, will define the next two years in the White House, and may be more. The president is so aware of the challenge that it is invested totally in the countryside, playing deliberately the card of a referendum on his person.
Having put in brackets the most of his obligations as president, Trump has spent the last week on the roads, chaining each day two or three public appearances to mobilize its troops. “These large gatherings are what we did best, he felt Sunday. The level of enthusiasm, level of fever is very strong.” Despite a massacre anti-semitic in Pittsburgh at the end of October, he very quickly abandoned the posture of the gatherer to return to his favourite theme: the danger of immigration, represented by a “caravan” of walkers to 1500 km from the border. He stressed the good figures of the economy, but it is not, in fact, not a campaign slogan, convinced that the good news “assoupissent” voters.
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there is Nothing like a “crisis” for the wake-up call: “Stop the caravan, vote Republican,” says the latest television spot of the campaign, “endorsed by Donald Trump”, a formula reserved for the candidates. According to a survey of the Washington Post , this hype has had an impact: the share of republicans citing immigration as their first concern is to be passed in a month from 14% to 21 %. The subject is now in third position with the public in general, behind health insurance and the economy.
If we had the confirmation that Trump sees his salvation policy in the division of the country, his last “show” was to fill the vacancy Monday night. To end this campaign of name-calling and demonizing each other, it was convened on the stage of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, two guest stars able to add an electric touch to his supporters: Rush Limbaugh, radio host vociférant, and Sean Hannity, advocate idolatry of the president on Fox News. These blasters inclined to conspirationnisme had to orchestrate “a crescendo patriotic”, according to his advisers.
in the Face of this campaign clan, the democrats bet on diversity and the new heads, at the risk of having flag-bearer recognizable than Barack Obama. With a record of 272 candidates and 215 representatives of the minorities, this election could radically change the face of Congress and of the governorates, so far dominated by white men (69 %). The democrats are 293 women and candidates of african-americans, latinos, asians or native americans, the republicans 109, paving the way for many “firsts” possible.
An unknown, the participation
If the republicans had to position themselves in relation to their president, omnipresent, the common trait of the democrats was to dodge a direct confrontation. Avoiding to answer him on his dramatization of immigration, they have focused their message on the defense of health insurance, a topic raised in more than half of their tv spots. An unexpected twist that sees a law honnie, Obamacare, suddenly become popular because of its clause on “pre-existing conditions”, which prohibits an insurance to deny a patient already suffering from a condition.
But the issue is much wider. “It is the identity of our country which appears on the ballot”, has hammered Obama. “The dominant issue is the style of government is toxic, divisive and dishonest “Trump”, slice an editorial in the Washington Post calling to vote “for any candidate opposing his populism and reactionary.” The surveys indicate a degree of tension high: 7 republicans on the 10-and as many democrats believe that this will be “very bad for the country” if the other side wins.
The prognosis is the most widespread that democrats could win the majority in the House of representatives while remaining in the minority in the Senate. “The first pass through suburbs where Donald Trump is not very popular,” says Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, while the second moves through States where the president remains popular.” But the suspense remains, a change in marginal participation, that may be sufficient to deny the polls.
Since the end of world War ii, presidents have lost an average of 26 seats of representatives and 4 senators in the midterms. If Donald Trump can do better, it will save a lot more than the face. A House democrat could neutralize its legislative initiatives, and without a doubt, the harassing investigations, or proceedings in impeachment without a real chance to succeed. But a Senate at his hand would continue its appointments (including judges), and its foreign policy.
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If the referendum on his person triggered by the loss of the two Rooms, he would, like Obama after 2010, the possibility to rule by decree, the weapon of the veto, and the argument of the powerlessness of the Congress, which has often led to the re-election of the outgoing president. However, if he was saving his “double majority” in the Capitol, he would become the great conjurer of american politics, untouchable until the end of his term – and probably beyond.