WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Barack Obama made duelling election appearances on Sunday, offering sharply different views on the country’s problems but agreeing on the high stakes for voters.
With opinion polls showing dozens of tight US congressional and gubernatorial races in today’s election, the current and former presidents said the results would determine what kind of country Americans live in for the next two years.
“This election will decide whether we build on this extraordinary prosperity we have created,” Mr Trump told a cheering crowd in Macon, Georgia, warning that Democrats would “take a giant wrecking ball to our economy.”
Mr Trump campaigned with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is in a tight race with Democrat Stacey Abrams for the governor’s office.
Mr Obama condemned Mr Trump, without addressing him by name, and Republicans for what he described as their divisive policies and repeated lies. He hammered Mr Trump and Republicans for repeatedly trying to repeal his signature healthcare law while at the same time claiming to support the law’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
“The only check right now on the behavior of these Republicans is you and your vote,” Mr Obama told supporters in Gary, Indiana.
Mr Trump and Mr Obama are the most popular figures in their parties, and their appearances on the campaign trail are designed to stoke enthusiasm among core supporters in the late stages of a midterm congressional election widely seen as a referendum on Mr Trump’s first two years in the White House.
Opinion polls and election forecasters have made Democrats favourites to pick up the 23 seats they need to capture a majority in the US House of Representatives, which would enable them to stymie Mr Trump’s legislative agenda and investigate his administration.
Republicans are favoured to retain their slight majority in the US Senate, currently at two seats, which would let them retain the power to approve US Supreme Court and other judicial nominations.
As of Sunday morning, almost 34.4 million people had cast ballots early. That is up 67.8 percent from the 20.5 million early votes cast in all of 2014, the last federal election when the White House was not at stake.