YONKERS, NY, Nov 6 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden has warned that a Republican victory in Tuesday’s midterm elections could weaken American democracy, while former President Donald Trump has hinted at another bid from the White House, two days before votes in which Republicans could take control of both houses of Congress.
The comments, made at dueling rallies in New York and Florida, highlighted the bleak prospects Biden’s Democrats face despite delivering on his promises to boost clean energy incentives and rebuild ruined roads and bridges.
Republicans have hammered Biden for high inflation and rising crime as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and nonpartisan forecasters are favoring them to take control of the House of Representatives — and possibly the Senate, too. . Early Democratic leads in Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada have evaporated.
Single-chamber control would allow Republicans to thwart Democrat Biden’s legislative agenda and launch potentially damaging investigations.
Biden has warned that many Republican candidates are threatening Democratic standards by echoing Trump’s false claims about a stolen 2020 election.
“Democracy is literally on the ballot,” he told students at Sarah Lawrence College in upstate New York. “You can’t just love the country when you win.”
Meanwhile, at a Trump rally in Miami, the former president recycled many of his unfounded complaints about the 2020 election and hinted that he may soon announce another presidential bid.
“I’ll probably have to do it again, but stay tuned,” he said, lambasting the Biden administration for everything from violent crimes to filthy airports.
Trump advisers say an announcement on the 2024 presidential election could come this month.
Despite Biden’s warnings about democracy, many of his fellow Democrats have focused on more practical issues, such as their work to lower prescription drug prices and defend Social Security. While many have campaigned on abortion rights, opinion polls show it has faded as the top concern of voters.
Republicans questioned Democrats’ support for law enforcement and tapped into concerns about crime, which has become a major election issue after murder rates rose during the COVID pandemic.
“In two little years, don’t you feel the pain?” Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker said at a rally in Georgia. “It’s under their watch.”
Democrats have been dogged by Biden’s unpopularity, which has forced him to refrain from campaigning in competitive states. Only 40% of Americans approve of his professional performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on Tuesday.
Biden spoke in normally safe Democratic territory outside of New York, where Republicans are threatening to make gains.
New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul faces an unexpected challenge from Republican Lee Zeldin, while Democratic House incumbents are locked in tight battles across the state.
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Chicago, another Democratic stronghold, where she said Democrats could pass nationwide abortion rights legislation if they boost their margins in the Senate. “If we choose two more senators, the president can sign it,” she said.
First Lady Jill Biden traveled to Texas, a Republican-dominated state with a handful of competitive races. “Choosing who leads our community is a way of living our faith,” she 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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