YONKERS, N.Y., Nov 6 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden warned that a Republican victory in Tuesday’s midterm elections could weaken US democracy, while former President Donald Trump submitted another White House bid, two days before a vote in which Republicans could take control. both chambers of Congress.
The comments, made at rival rallies held in New York and Florida, highlighted the bleak prospects facing Democrat Biden, even if he keeps his promises to increase clean energy incentives and rebuild crumbling roads and bridges.
Republicans have attacked Biden for high inflation and rising crime in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and non-partisan forecasters are picking them to win control of the House of Representatives — and possibly the Senate as well. Democrats’ early leads in Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada have evaporated.
Control of even one chamber will allow Republicans to stymie Democrat Biden’s legislative agenda and launch a potentially damaging investigation.
Biden warned that many Republican candidates are threatening democratic norms by echoing Trump’s false claims of a stolen election in 2020.
“Democracy is literally on the ballot,” he told students at Sarah Lawrence College, north of New York City. “You can’t just love the country when you win.”
At a Trump rally in Miami, meanwhile, the former president recycled many unfounded complaints about the 2020 election and hinted that he will soon announce another presidential bid.
“I’ll probably have to do it again, but stay tuned,” he said, chastising the Biden administration for everything from violent crime to dirty airports.
Trump advisers say an announcement about the 2024 presidential election could come this month.
Despite Biden’s warnings about democracy, many of his fellow Democrats are stressing more practical things, such as working to lower prescription drug prices and defending Social Security. While many campaign for abortion rights, polls show that has faded as a top voter concern.
Republicans have questioned Democrats’ support for law enforcement and concerns about crime, which has emerged as a major election issue after homicide rates spiked during the COVID pandemic.
“In two short years, you don’t feel pain?” Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker spoke at a rally in Georgia. “It’s on their watch.”
Democrats have been overwhelmed by Biden’s popularity, which has forced him to hold back on campaigning in competitive states. Only 40% of Americans approve of his job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Tuesday.
Biden spoke in a typically safe Democratic area outside New York City, where Republicans are threatening to make gains.
New York’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul faces an unexpected challenge from Republican Lee Zeldin, while Democratic incumbents are locked in tight battles across the state.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Chicago, another Democratic stronghold, where she said Democrats could pass national abortion rights legislation if they increase their margin in the Senate. “If we appoint two more senators, the president can sign it into law,” he said.
First Lady Jill Biden visited Texas, a Republican-dominated state that has several competitive races. “Choosing who leads our community is one of the ways we can live out our faith,” he told congregants at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston.
Additional reporting by Nathan Layne in Georgia, Tyler Clifford in New York and Gram Slattery in Washington; Written by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Deepa Babington and Kenneth Maxwell
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