YONKERS, N.Y., Nov 6 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden warned that a Republican victory in Tuesday’s midterm elections could undermine U.S. democracy, while former President Donald Trump hinted at another White House bid two days before the vote in which Republicans took control. can Both chambers of Congress.
The comments, made at dueling rallies in New York and Florida, highlighted the dire prospects facing Biden’s Democrats, even as they delivered on promises to boost 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 nonpartisan forecasters favor him to win control of the House of Representatives — and possibly even the Senate. Democrats’ early leads in Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada have evaporated.
Control of even one chamber would allow Republicans to block Democrat Biden’s legislative agenda and launch potentially damaging investigations.
Biden warned that many Republican candidates are threatening democratic norms by echoing Trump’s false claims about 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 love a country just by winning.”
At a Trump rally in Miami, meanwhile, the former president recycled many of his baseless complaints about the 2020 election and hinted that he may soon announce another presidential bid.
“I might have to do it again, but stay tuned,” he said, blaming the Biden administration for everything from violent crime to dirty airports.
Trump advisers say an announcement about the 2024 presidential election could come sometime this month.
Despite Biden’s warnings about democracy, many of his fellow Democrats have emphasized more practical matters, such as his work to lower prescription drug prices and defend Social Security. While many have campaigned on abortion rights, opinion polls show it has faded as a top voter concern.
Republicans have questioned Democrats’ support for law enforcement and used concerns about crime, which has emerged as a key election issue after homicide rates spiked during the Covid pandemic.
“In two short years, you don’t feel the pain?” Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker said at a rally in Georgia. “This is on their watch.”
Democrats are reeling from Biden’s unpopularity, which has forced him to pull back from campaigning in competitive states. Only 40% of Americans approve of their job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Tuesday.
Biden spoke in typically safe Democratic territory outside New York City, where Republicans are threatening to make gains.
New York’s Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul faces an unexpectedly tough challenge from Republican Lee Zeldin, while Democratic House 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 add to their margin in the Senate. “If we elect two more senators, the president can sign it into law,” she said.
First Lady Jill Biden visited Texas, a Republican-dominated state that has a handful of competitive races. “Choosing who leads our community is one way we can live out our faith,” she told worshipers at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston.
Additional reporting by Nathan Lane in Georgia, Tyler Clifford in New York and Gram Slattery in Washington; Writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Deepa Babington and Kenneth Maxwell
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