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Trump not on the midterms ballot but looms large

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By AFP, Washington
10th-Sep-2018       
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His name will not be on the ballot, but President Donald Trump will be there in spirit when Americans vote in midterm elections in November.
And the results will set the tone for the remaining two years of the presidency of the man who will be on everybody's mind.
Americans will vote nationwide on November 6 for the first time since the New York real estate tycoon pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in US political history.
Former president Barack Obama put Trump front and center in the opening salvo in a series of campaign stops Friday, accusing him of "capitalizing" on "fear and anger."
"What happened to the Republican Party?" Obama asked, taking off the gloves after nearly two years of avoiding direct criticism of his successor.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs along with 35 seats in the 100-member Senate and the posts of governor in around 30 states.
Republicans currently hold majorities in both the House and the Senate.  Democrats are hoping that a "blue wave" will propel them to victory in the House and the latest polls give them a good chance of doing so.
Seizing control for the Senate looks less likely.
In a Washington Post/ABC News poll of registered voters, 52 percent said they favored the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate in their district. Thirty-eight percent said they favored the Republican.
As for the economy - often a harbinger for the ruling party's fortunes -
58 percent said it was "excellent" or "good" with 38 percent saying it was "not so good."
Unemployment is currently at an 18-year low at 3.9 percent while gross domestic product grew 4.2 percent in the second quarter.
Despite the bright economic numbers, the "Grand Old Party" is struggling in
large part because of the unpopularity of Trump himself.
The president - whose time in office has been marked by frequent turmoil -has been hit by an especially bruising week, with an anonymous op-ed alleging that members of his administration were seeking to frustrate his "worst inclinations" and head off disaster for the country.

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