US President Joe Biden told voters in Pennsylvania that next week’s midterm elections will be a “watershed moment” for the country’s democracy, as his predecessor and rival, Donald Trump, called for a “giant red” Republican wave to defeat the Democrats.
The biggest names in US politics, including Democrats Biden and former President Barack Obama, as well as Trump, a Republican, were in Pennsylvania on Saturday hoping to tip the scales in a midterm Senate race. pivotal period between Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and famed Republican physician Mehmet Oz.
Polls put Republicans in a tie with Democrats for the Senate and also show them far ahead in the House race as voters, already angered by culture wars over gay rights, and abortion, seek to vent frustration for four decades. -High inflation and increased immigration.
“Friends, three days, three days until one of the most important elections of our lives. The outcome will shape our country for decades to come, and the power to shape that outcome is in your hands,” Biden told thousands of supporters in the city of Philadelphia.
“It is a choice. A choice between two very different visions of America.”
Trump, who sources say is preparing to launch a third straight run for the White House after the midterms, continues to falsely claim that his 2020 loss to Biden was the result of widespread fraud. Multiple courts, state agencies and members of his own administration have rejected that claim as false.
Still, opinion polls show a significant number of Republican voters accept the claim, as do many candidates for Congress, governors and state officials who oversee election administration.
Biden, citing growing Republican support for conspiracy theories, said democracy was “literally on the ballot.”
“This is a defining moment for the nation and we all, we all must speak with one voice,” he added.
Obama, who had also addressed an earlier rally in Pittsburgh, received the loudest cheers of the night, repeatedly urging supporters to make sure they vote.
“A lot of people don’t pay as much attention to politics as they do in a presidential year. Maybe they don’t think Congress matters that much. They may not think their vote will matter,” he said.
But “fundamental rights … reason and decency are on the ballot,” he said, attacking Republicans as increasingly averse to everything from science to respecting the rules.
“Democracy itself is on the ballot. The stakes are high,” Obama said in an echo of Biden’s warning, his voice hoarse.
The spotlight on Pennsylvania underscores the stakes in 2022, and beyond, for the highly contested state. The Oz-Fetterman contest could decide the Senate majority and, with it, Biden’s agenda and judicial appointments for the next two years. Pennsylvania is also hosting a gubernatorial election, which will determine the direction of state politics and control of the state’s electoral infrastructure heading into the 2024 presidential election.
Fetterman held a commanding race lead throughout the US summer, which Oz has whittled down over the past two months.
Some factors are likely local: A stroke in May forced Fetterman to cut back on his campaign schedule and affected his speech. In a debate last month, he often stumbled over his words, in a performance that even allies privately described as shaky.
But Oz’s gains also reflect a national momentum shift in favor of Republicans, as voters’ focus on inflation and crime has proven more enduring than concerns about abortion. Democrats’ early leads in several other Senate races, including key races in Georgia and Nevada, have also narrowed or evaporated altogether in recent weeks.
Biden’s unpopularity also works against the Democrats. Only 40 percent of Americans approve of the president’s job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll completed on Tuesday. This has prompted Biden to refrain from campaigning in some key states.
Meanwhile, Trump was rallying support for Oz, his Republican Senate candidate, at a rally in Latrobe, southeast of Pittsburgh.
He is also working to maintain his own profile as he contemplates another run for the White House. That could set the stage for a Biden-Trump rematch, though some Democrats say Biden’s party’s heavy losses on Tuesday could increase pressure on the president to step aside and let someone else carry the party mantle. in 2024.
“If you want to stop the destruction of our country and save the ‘American dream,’ then this Tuesday you must vote Republican in a giant red wave,” Trump told supporters, referring to the party’s traditional color.
He denounced what he called “a bloody crime spree” and warned that educators were indoctrinating children with “twisted race and gender” teachings. Of his Democratic opponents, Trump said, “Either they’re stupid or they hate our country.”
And time and time again, he falsely claimed that Democrats cheated in the 2020 election and warned of the possibility of voter fraud next week.
“Our country has never been as bad as it is right now,” Trump said. “We have a country in decline.”
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