At the moment this raw rage is being drawn out of the American spleen by both the left and right, by Democrats and Republicans.
It is the mid-term elections. It is the first opportunity US voters have had for passing their verdict on the Trump Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. It is a chance to elect national legislators who will block the president and more.
If, as expected, the Democrats, gain control of the House of Representatives, Donald Trump’s hopes for new legislation to further his right-wing, anti-immigrant, unilateralist agenda will be dashed against a Congressional brick wall.
Furthermore, the president can expect a flurry of fresh investigations to be initiated by the lower house. They will demand to see his tax returns; investigate the conflicts of interest between the White House and his business interests; probe the President’s environmental and immigration policies; demand inquiries into the multiple sexual harassment claims that he has successfully stalled and breathe new life into the Mueller Inquiry.
It is little wonder that Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence have been crisscrossing the country to attend rallies in support of right-wing Republican candidates. It is no surprise that the presidential rhetoric has become shriller and more extreme as the first Tuesday in November approaches.
Five thousand American troops are needed to protect US citizens from the Central American immigrant “invasion force” infected with “Middle East terrorists”. The President promises to override the constitution and decree the end of citizenship for those born in the US of foreign parents. The pipe bombs sent to Democrats was a plot by Democrats. And the divisive atmosphere of vitriolic hate that led to the death of 11 Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh had nothing to do with Trump. It was the fault of the Democrats and their allies in the fake news media.
All of the above are designed to encourage and frighten the president’s core supporters into turning out in large numbers to vote for his Republican candidates. Conversely, the same rhetoric and policies are driving the Democrats to the polls to return anti-Trump legislators to Washington.
In that respect, both sides—and democracy– are winning. At seven days before official polling day, 2.4 million Texans have cast their ballots in early voting. That is more than the total number of early and absentee ballots cast in the 2014 mid-terms. The early voter turnout in Georgia is treble the figure for 2014 and in Florida, a record 2.7 million have already cast their votes
So far more Republicans have voted than Democrats. But that is not the whole story. Voting records only show a person’s party affiliation. It does not show how they voted. And the great unknown is the political direction of those registered as independents. Trump is wildly popular with Republicans. Eighty percent-plus support him. For them “The Donald” is the standard bearer of threatened conservatism and the fading American dream. But registered Republicans make up only 24 percent of the voting public.
Trump is wildly unpopular with Democrats and they comprise 31 percent of voters. In their eyes, the president and the Republican Party are the twin dangers to every hard-fought reform since 1960. This leaves a big chunk—42 percent—in the Independent camp. Will the Independents be lured to the Republican camp by impressive economic growth and the promise of tougher immigration policies? Or will the majority of them be turned off by a president who claims every success is a result of his personal intervention and every failure is the nefarious work of his enemies?
Opinion polls indicate victory for the Republicans in the Senate and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. But many individual races are deemed “too close to call” which means that the final outcome will remain in the balance until well into the night of November 6 and possibly for days after.
One thing, however, is certain; the emotions that have been stirred by this election will continue along with the division and hate that has been the hallmark of the Trump Administration.
Tom Arms is editor of Lookaheadnews.com