President Donald Trump is being accused of using racism in his campaign collateral as the midterms approach. The Tradefair team brings you the latest from US politics...
"Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!"
- Donald Trump, US President.
America's midterm elections are just days away and it's hard to think of a time when the race has been more highly anticipated. For the US President's opponents, it will be a key opportunity to realistically reduce his power. The vote could see the Republicans lose control over the House of Representatives, and potentially even the Senate, though admittedly the latter is much less likely.
Despite the expected significance of the midterms, Donald Trump isn't keeping his head down and focusing on his less-controversial beliefs. Instead he has launched what many are calling a racially-charged campaign.
Even the recent attacks on leading Democrats and vocal opponents of the President has done little to encourage Trump to reduce the potentially inflammatory language that often surrounds his campaigns.
In the latest Republican ad, Luis Bracamontes - a Mexican man who had previously been deported, but returned to the US and was convicted in February of killing two police officers - clearly shows no remorse for his crimes.
The campaign, created by Trump's election team, has been compared to the notorious Willie Horton ad made by George H. W. Bush's supporters in the run-up to the 1988 presidential race. It was heavily criticised for fuelling tensions between white and African Americans, and using offensive stereotypes.
However, Trump's latest ad is arguably more controversial as it is officially endorsed by the Republican party, unlike the Horton reel.
The campaign also features footage of the caravan of Central American refugees who are currently in Mexico and shows the caption "Who else will the Democrats let in?". Critics of the video have said it is clearly suggesting that all immigrants are dangerous criminals.
Previously, the President has warned that the caravan is full of criminals and Middle Eastern terrorists, though he offered no evidence to support this judgement.
Growing tensions in the runup to midterms
Trump also lashed out at House Speaker Paul Ryan, saying he knows "knows nothing about" birthright citizenship. The attack on one of the most senior Republicans comes as Ryan told a Kentucky radio station that the President couldn't end birthright citizenship with an executive order.
"You obviously cannot do that," Ryan said when asked about the President's recent comments on automatic US citizenship for anyone born in the country. Trump had said he plans to end it, but many experts have weighed in to say that he wouldn't be allowed to do that.
Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!? Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
Ignore immigration and focus on the economy
It's likely that Trump's strategy is to get as many college-educated white voters to ignore his verbal displays of racism and misogyny and focus on the economy's performance since he entered the Oval Office.
A study from the Economic Innovation Group found that in 70 of the most competitive House districts, which are dominated by Republicans, there's prosperity but also problems for Trump.
Comparatively, these districts have seen their incomes grow and unemployment drop in line with the rest of the US. But under Obama's leadership, they were in much better shape than other areas of the country.
This research suggests that the strong performance of the 70 districts is a continuation of Trump's predecessor's policies, rather than a result of anything the current Commander-in-Chief has done.
The markets will be watching closely
Wall Street will be watching the results of the midterms whatever the result. If the Republicans defy the odds and maintain control of the House and gain traction in the Senate, Trump may be encouraged to embark on more radical aspects of his political agenda, which may include more tax reform.
However, significant progress from the Democrats could increase the chances of his impeachment. This could cause problems in the stock market, as fears of political instability rise.
A split Congress - where Democrats take the House but Republicans hold the Senate - is the most likely scenario, but as investors know, sometimes the results go against all odds.
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