Biden, Trump in final push to bolster support ahead of midterms

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U.S. President Joe Biden will address a rally in New York, and former President Donald Trump will speak in Florida to excite Americans two days before a tight midterm election in which Republicans are pushing to overturn both houses of Congress.

Democratic leaders have stepped up their efforts to gain support by changing their coverage days before the pivotal election, which will shape the fate of Biden’s legislative agenda for the next two years.

Biden’s Democrats struggle to convince voters on kitchen table issues, such as four decades of high inflation.

Also playing against the side is Biden’s unpopularity, which had led him to campaign in some swing states. Only 40 percent of Americans approve of their job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed Tuesday.

For Democrats, Sunday’s rallies in areas traditionally favorable to the party are a last-minute opportunity to minimize Tuesday’s losses.

Biden will appear in Westchester County, normally safe Democratic territory but where Republicans threaten to win, thanks in part to ruthless messages portraying their opponents as gentle on crime and inflation.

The president flies to New York to support Governor Kathy Hochul, who faces an unexpectedly strong Republican challenge.

The US president joined forces the day before with Democratic superstar Barack Obama in the state of Pennsylvania, where he campaigned alongside Senate hopeful John Fetterman and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro.

Speaking to thousands in a Philadelphia arena, Biden cited Trump supporters’ growing belief in conspiracy theories to highlight what’s at stake.

“Democracy is literally on the agenda. This is a defining moment for the nation,” Biden warned as he tried to push his side to the finish.

Democrats have changed reporting

Alan Fisher of Al Jazeera, who reports from Washington, said Democrats changed their campaign message last week after what they emphasized failed to move voters, who instead focused on the economic situation in the country.

“Joe Biden has talked about the threat to democracy for so long, but it has not resonated with voters,” he said, adding that voters are more responsive to economic issues.

“So he started talking more about the economy and how he thinks he’s helped the middle class in America,” Fischer said.

The substitution comes late in the game. Nearly 40 million Americans have already cast their votes in the early voting.

Republicans are confident of Tuesday’s wins, but Democrats have resisted the narrative of an inevitable Republican takeover of Congress.

“We’re going to keep this majority,” Congresswoman Sean Patrick Maloney, head of the Democratic Congressional campaign branch, told NBC TV’s Meet the Press program.

Maloney, who himself faces an exciting race, described the election as “frozen close” and implicitly questioned Republicans’ commitment to democracy.

“We have all kinds of things we can do better, but we are responsible adults who believe in this democracy,” Maloney said of his fellow Democrats.

Bullish Republicans

Republicans pledged to give a “wake-up call” to Biden on Sunday and retake Congress.

The latest polls have put Democrats on the defensive as Senator Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, summed up the vote in his party by predicting “a great night” in both chambers of Congress.

Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin, fellow Republican, told the ABC News talk show This Week that his camp was the one that “offered common sense solutions” to pressing problems like high inflation and crime.

“This will be a wake-up call for President Biden,” Youngkin said.

Republican figurehead Trump has doubled down on voting conspiracy theories when he spoke Saturday at a rally to boost Fetterman’s opponent, famed TV doctor Mehmet Oz.

In a disjointed speech, Trump defended his attempts to undo the 2020 election, urged Americans to “vote Republican in a giant red wave” and teased a possible run for the White House in 2024.

“I promise you that in the next, very, very, very short time you will be so happy,” Trump told his supporters.

Trump will appear in Miami alongside the two US senators and several US representatives. Florida swung from party to party for years, but has recently turned Republican and this election is not considered a major battleground.

Trump’s frequent meetings maintain his profile as he considers launching a third run for the White House after the midterms, his advisers said. Florida could be a battleground in any nomination contest, as Republican governor Ron DeSantis is seen by strategists as a formidable contender for the Republican nomination should he throw his hat in the ring.

Trump’s support is credited with helping DeSantis win the governor’s race in 2018, but the two men are now rivals. That has made DeSantis a target for Trump, whom the governor called “Ron DeSanctimonious” Saturday night.



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