It’s exactly two weeks until the midterm elections, readers, and President Donald Trump is trying to change the subject in an attempt to preserve Republicans’ House and Senate majorities.
As Democrats hammer the GOP on health care, a subject voters could punish Republicans over on Nov. 6, Trump is pivoting to talk about a migrant caravan headed for the U.S. to appeal to fear and racism within the GOP base.
“This will be the election of the caravan, Kavanaugh, law and order, tax cuts and common sense,” Trump said Monday night at a rally in Houston for Sen. Ted Cruz.
Fox News is giving Trump an assist, covering the caravan multiple times throughout the day. It’s reminiscent of how Republicans — including Trump — used fear over Ebola in 2014 to drive Republicans to the polls.
It’s unclear whether the strategy of scaring voters over the migrant caravan will work. It didn’t back in 2017 ahead of the Virginia gubernatorial election when Republicans were fear mongering over MS-13 gang violence, only to get crushed at the polls. But the midterms are taking place in states where Trump’s favorables are better than they were in Virginia in November, so it could be different this time around.
Here’s what’s happening in Trump’s America:
• Trump’s official day doesn’t begin until 2 p.m., when he is set to give remarks at a White House State Leadership Day Conference for Alaska, California and Hawaii. With so much “executive time” on his schedule, brace for some tweets.
• At 2 p.m., Trump will sign America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 into law.
• Trump then has another big break until 6 p.m., when senior military leaders head to the White House to brief Trump on military issues, followed by dinner with those leaders.
About last night: Trump admits he’s using “migrant caravan” as midterm fodder
Trump on Monday night admitted in an interview with USA Today that he’s using the migrant caravan headed toward the U.S. to motivate Republicans and hurt Democrats ahead of the midterms.
In the interview, Trump told blatant lies about the caravan, including an unsubstantiated claim that there are “people from the Middle East” amid the migrants. It’s racist fear mongering and a negative reflection on the GOP electorate that he is appealing to the base’s racist tendencies to turn out Republican voters in the midterms.
“I think this could be a blessing in disguise because it shows how bad our laws are,” Trump told USA Today. “The Democrats are responsible for that.”
Trump made similar comments at a campaign rally Monday night in Houston for Sen. Ted Cruz, his former political rival whom he has now nicknamed “beautiful Ted” — a far cry for the former nickname he bestowed on him, “lyin’ Ted.”
“That is an assault on our country and in that caravan you have some very bad people and we can’t let that happen to our country,” Trump said.
“I think the Democrats had something to do with it,” he added, a totally baseless claim.
The message seems to be resonating with Republican voters. A 75-year-old Republican voter in northern Minnesota told the New York Times she fears the migrants will break into summer homes on lakes in Minnesota and squat there.
“What’s to stop them,” Carol Shields told the New York Times. “We have a lot of people who live on lakes in the summer and winter someplace else. When they come back in the spring, their house would be occupied.”
Today in Trump’s America: What’s the state of play on the elections?
We’re hurtling towards the midterms finish line, and candidates across the country are making their closing messages.
The generic congressional ballot has favored Democrats for the entirety of the cycle, with Democrats now holding an 8.6 point lead over Republicans, according to the FiveThirtyEight average. That margin should be enough for Democrats to win control of the House.
However, a new poll out Tuesday from the Washington Post shows in battleground districts — most of which are taking place on Republican territory — Democrats hold a smaller 3-point generic ballot lead, 50% to 47%.
Democrats need to net 23 seats to take control of the chamber.
Inside Elections rates 21 GOP-held seats as either tilting, leaning or likely Democratic contests. If Democrats win all of those seats, Republicans would need to almost sweep the remainder of the dozens of other GOP-held competitive districts to hold onto their majority. That’s an extremely tall order. But never say never.
And the rest...
Supreme Court stops deposition: The Supreme Court Monday night stopped a deposition for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who appears to have lied about the motivations behind adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. A deposition would have forced Ross to answer under oath about the discrepancies.
Actions have consequences: An explosive device was found in the mailbox of Democratic mega-donor George Soros’ home in the New York suburbs. Republicans have nefariously spewed baseless conspiracy theories about Soros, including that he pays protesters.
Voting rights: A judge in New Hampshire blocked a GOP-passed voter registration law that tightened residency requirements in the state. Democrats said the law was specifically aimed at college students, who largely vote Democratic.