The battle for control of Congress is solidifying into a race about President Donald Trump, as Republicans hitch their fortunes to their party’s leader and Democrats position themselves as a bulwark against him — and as partners in a potential Joe Biden White House.
So far, voters are signaling they want to finish the job they started in 2018 by installing Democrats for House majority control. Now, they're on track to potentially do the same in the Senate.
“The president continues to overshadow and impact the races for the Senate and the House, ” said Nathan Gonzales, the editor of Inside Elections, which tracks the campaigns.
Usually, a president at the top of the ticket boosts his party's chances, but Trump's slump is shifting the congressional map, strategists said. House Democrats are expected to easily retain the majority, without too many losses. The Senate, now in Republican hands, could almost as easily flip to Democrats.
Together, the congressional races provide a snapshot of an American electorate ahead of a voting season unlike any other. The coronavirus crisis, a shattered economy and a new civil rights era are forcing a reassessment of the way the federal government approaches longstanding problems. In a volatile political climate, health care, jobs and even what the parties are calling the soul of the nation are all on the ballot.
As Democrats gain momentum, Republicans are digging in, echoing Trump’s harsh criticism of the nationwide protests over police violence, particularly against Black people. He sounds dire warnings about the demonstrations happening in some cities. It's an opening for the GOP, an attempt to win back wary suburban voters, particularly white women, who voted for Trump in 2016 but have since drifted away.
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