Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday November 3, 2018
‘Edge of the knife’: Trump drags divided states of America towards his midterms reckoning
Maureen Osiecki remembers the shock of Donald Trump winning her home state, Michigan, on his march to the White House. “My heart died,” she says of that night nearly two years ago. “My father turned over in his grave.”
Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: suspect Robert Bowers charged with 11 counts of murder
On 6 November, Osiecki gets her first chance to formally pass judgment on the Trump presidency. The midterm elections will decide control of Congress and could give the commander-in-chief a black eye. Few can remember midterms taking place in an America so perilously divided – underlined this week by pipe bomb packages sent to leading Democrats and a massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue – or with a president so actively stoking the culture wars as an electoral strategy.
“He’s a pig,” said Osiecki, a 76-year-old retiree from a city planning department, sitting with friends in a Wendy’s restaurant in Pontiac. “No feeling, no empathy. My father was a Republican but we got along and didn’t call each other ‘horseface’.”
The midterms, which early voting indicates could have their highest turnout in decades, are always more or less a vote of confidence in the sitting president. But Trump has put himself front and centre. “I’m not on the ticket, but I am on the ticket, because this is also a referendum about me,” he told supporters in Southaven, Mississippi. “I want you to vote. Pretend I’m on the ballot.”
Where his predecessors have sought to build bridges and unify, he has embraced the politics of polarization across gender, race and culture lines in the hope of firing up his base, tacitly acknowledging he has lost a vast swath of the nation for good. The midterms will provide the first official measure of whether the sum of love for Trump is exceeded by the sum of hatred.
Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report newsletter, told an audience at the Washington Post this week: “The best way to think about where we are today is that we’re having elections in two different Americas.” (Continued: The Guardian)