An Internet meme that went viral last weekend before midterm polls in the United States asked Americans to “remember to set your clock back by an hour on Sunday (to account for the end of daylights savings time); but on Tuesday, vote to make sure you don’t set the country back by 50 years.”
It’s a message that has resonated across much of liberal, progressive, and moderate America that fears rewarding President Trump with continued majority in Congress in addition to the control of the executive and judiciary that he already wields will roll back the US to an era of racism and discrimination that white conservatives often gloss over, when they are not being sentimental about it.
trump111 President Trump himself is not on the ballot on Tuesday’s midterm polls where 470 seats in Congress (435 in House and 35 in Senate) besides a myriad other offices including governorships, state legislatures, and local offices are at stake, although he has urged the electorate to vote as if he is.
Many pundits see more than President Trump on the ballot; numerous opeds have said the idea of America itself is at stake.
Although the two principal issues in the election campaign are healthcare and immigration, “it's about something more elemental: what kind of country Americans see today and want to see in the future,” wrote veteran political analyst Dan Balz in a comment headlined “This midterm election is like no other in a generation.”
Most polls show Democrats recapturing the House of Representatives from Republicans by flipping at least 23 seats, although latest surveys indicate a certain loss of momentum as President Trump has rallied his white base with fear- and scare-mongering rhetoric that one observer likened to “apocalyptic attacks reach(ing) a new level of falsity.”
Emblematic of the thinly-disguised racist tropes he often resorts to, Trump told his supporters in Florida this week that the election is about “safety” that Democrats are aiming to destroy (in the state where he has property) and “when people are camping on your front lawn – remember (Andrew) Gillum,” the Democrat in the running for the state’s governorship.
In neighboring Georgia, Trump warned, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will turn the state “into Venezuela.”
While both Gillum and Abrams are African-Americans, the right-wing demonization of minorities and immigrants extends even to American Jews, not withstanding Trump’s support for Israel on the foreign policy front.
One campaign mailer sent out by a Republican candidate for a state Senate seat in Connecticut showed his Jewish opponent holding a wad of cash in front of him with a crazed look in his eyes, an unmistakable allusion to the familiar slur against Jews.
Repeatedly and with no evidence, Trump has claimed that Democrats want to open the borders to violent criminals and destroy the country, while invoking the rag-tag migrant caravan still hundreds of miles miles and days away from the US border as an invading force.
The fear-mongering appears to have worked to an extent with reports of right-wing Republican turnout now catching up with Democratic enthusiasm in what is expected to be a midterm with one of the highest polling percentages in history, possibly more than 50 per cent.
Some 31 million people – of an estimated 250 million electorate -- have already voted in early polling even before polls formally open on Tuesday morning.
At a really in Georgia on Sunday, Trump supporters chanted “Six more years! Six more years!” as the President exulted in the size of the crowds at his rallies, which are mostly white.
For his largely white, conservative Christian supporters, Trump can do little wrong, and the undeniable uptick in the economy has overcome whatever little reservations they may have had about his personal foibles.
They shrug off the denigration of liberals that they are poorly-educated and lack the goods to compete in an increasingly globalized world, captured in the term “deplorables” that was derisively applied to them.
“Deplorable is adorable,” read a T-shirt worn by a Trump supporter at his rally.