House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called President Trump on Sunday to plead with him to highlight the economy, not his hardline immigration views, in the final two days of the 2018 midterms, Politico reports, but Trump instead "boasted to Ryan that his focus on immigration has fired up the base." It isn't that Republican candidates in swing districts objected to Trump warning about the migrant caravan slowing walking toward the U.S. border, they just "fear Trump went overboard — and that it could cost them dearly in key suburban districts, from Illinois to Texas," Politico says.
"Trump has hijacked the election," one senior House Republican aide told Politico. "This is not what we expected the final weeks of the election to focus on." While House Republicans in districts with sizable suburban areas are trying to change the subject from birthright citizenship and up to 15,000 U.S. troops shooting unarmed migrants, GOP Senate candidates are embracing Trump's heated rhetoric, looking for a boost from Trump's hardcore supporters as they work to beat Democrats in red or purple states.
In any case, "Trump has hardly been cowed by the criticism," The Washington Post notes. "As the campaign has barreled toward its final hours, the president expanded his nativist appeals, proudly calling himself a 'nationalist' and trying to drive his base with threats about" the caravan. "Barbed wire used properly can be a beautiful sight," he said Saturday, touting his troop deployment to the U.S. border.
But there's more at play than just strategy, the Post adds. "The 2016 election confirmed that a potential president could run — and win — after stoking racism. Now, in their closing days, the midterms are shaping up as a demonstration of whether the entire Republican Party can succeed by following his lead." You can read more about this election's "blatant and overtly racial attacks rarely seen since the civil rights era of the 1960s" at The Washington Post. Peter Weber