Americans may not be choosing a new president on 6 November but many see the US midterm elections as a referendum on the current one. It is not just a popularity poll, the result could also determine whether Donald Trump will be able to get any of his agenda passed into law and even whether he could face impeachment proceedings.
His Republican party faces a battle to maintain control of both chambers of Congress and stave off a fight back from the Democrats.
Trump merchandise seller Tony Ensminger takes his mobile home-turned-shop to every President Trump rally he can. “What we have is a variety of pro-Trump merchandise, anything with Trump on it, anything with the American flag on it, anything!
He says business is good and Republicans are fired up to vote in the midterms. “I tell you the people are going to show up because I talk to people they’re going to vote, they’re going to show up. Things are decided by the people that do show up.”
This is why Trump is in Pennsylvania. He needs to make sure his supporters vote, even when he is not on the ballot. “And we will make America great again,” says Trump.
Part of his strategy is stoking fear of what could happen if Republicans do not win. “…And I say this, and I mean this. The Democrats are the party of crime. That’s what’s happening. They are the party of crime.”
Professor at American University Allan Lichtman says; “Typically in midterm elections, it is anger and fear rather than satisfaction that tends to motivate voters because fear and anger works in midterm elections, Republicans are looking to stoke fear and anger. They’re not running on their tax cuts; they’re not running on deregulation. They’re running on scaring voters about what would happen if the Democrats took over.”
They are not the only ones. Former Democratic President Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail and not mincing his words.
“This November’s elections are more important than any I can remember in my lifetime and that includes when I was on the ballot. That’s saying something. Politicians say every time, ‘This is the most important election.’ This one is really that important. The stakes are high. The consequences of anybody here not turning out and doing everything you can to get your friends, neighbours, family to turn out, the consequences of you staying home would be profoundly dangerous to this country, to our democracy.”
Opinion polls suggest the Democrats do have a strong chance of taking over in at least one chamber of Congress but many Trump voters do not buy it.
“All the polls are saying that the Dems are going to win and blue wave is coming… they also said that Hillary was going to win by a landslide, so you can’t believe the polls. It is going to be a full blown red wave like you’ve never seen before, says Trump supporter Michelle.
However what if the polls are right? Then Democrats could decide the scandals surrounding the president are serious enough to instigate impeachment proceedings. Political Analyst Amy Walter has been talking about this in her weekly podcast. She says the Democrats may not want to risk riling up Trump’s supporter base even more.
“The Democratic leadership has been very upfront in saying we do not want to start impeachment proceedings, unless or until there is enough evidence. So for example, what if the president were to fire the Attorney General; what if the president were to fire the person who is in charge of overseeing the Mueller investigation, Rod Rosenstein, what would Democrats do then.”
Trump loyalists are hoping they never have the chance to find out. “We need to keep the senate and the house that’s absolutely imperative.”
Another supporter says; “I just like the way Trump puts things out to the people. He’s working to help the people and I like that.”
But do enough people like what he does? The answer will determine the direction of his next two years in office. It is the control of Washington which is up for grabs. If republicans win, it will embolden president Trump but if democrats win it will give them oversight over his presidency. Author- Kate Fisher