Democrats and Republicans across the country are already gearing up for November’s midterm elections. And party leaders on both sides want to know: how will President Trump affect their chances? Augusta Anthony reports on how things are playing out in New York state.
ANTHONY: Republicans hold just nine of New York’s 27 congressional seats. And in an era of increasingly tribal politics it’s easy to think this blue state might get bluer this November. But don’t count Republicans out yet, says Jessica Proud, a spokesperson for the New York Republican party.
Well if you look at the President’s numbers, yes he is unpopular in New York city but New York is actually a whole diverse state. So, in some areas the President will be a benefit where he remains popular and in others, we really need to rely on the strength of our local candidates and their message.
ANTHONY: Proud thinks that voters will be focused on the improving economy and their local candidates rather than President Trump.
I tend to give voters more credit. While they may not love his tweets or some of the things that the President says, I think generally voters are feeling like the economy is moving in the right direction and that is ultimately what is going to be the most pivotal factor in the 2018 election.
ANTHONY: But veteran political commentator Thomas Edsall from the New York Times disagrees. He sees a trend that suggests local candidates are tied to the national party.
The overwhelming trend over the past two decades has been the nationalisation of elections.
ANTHONY: So what’s on the national agenda in these midterms?
I mean there are a lot of other issues on people’s minds but the overwhelming issue is Trump.
ANTHONY: Geoff Berman, executive director of the New York State Democrats, also thinks that Republican candidates in New York are going to have to answer for the national party’s policies.
The question I think this year is, if you’re a Republican and you’re asking for folks to vote for you, what is your response to what you see coming out of Washington, Mrs or Mr Republican candidate?
ANTHONY: And New Yorkers’ response to what they see coming out of Washington hasn’t exactly been positive. Few scenes were more defiant than the Women’s March last month in upstate New York where there are more Republican voters than in the city. In Albany, protesters already had November on their minds.
ANTHONY: The question will be whether those protesters show up to vote. At a town hall on the Lower East Side last week, one Democratic voter, 55 year old Carol Anastasio wasn’t optimistic.
I’m a little sour on that to be honest with you because I thought Hillary was going to win by a landslide.
ANTHONY: She does, however, think that voter turnout may be in the Democrats’ favour.
So as long as Russia stays out of our election and if more people go out to vote, then we’ll be in good shape.
ANTHONY: But a Republican voter isn’t so sure. Stephen Evans, secretary of the West Side Republican Club doesn’t thinks the Democrats aren’t offering voters enough in these midterms.
You know, I only see and hear the resistance and hatred for the President, it’s almost like their entire party platform has been thrown away and all they do is say we hate Donald Trump.
ANTHONY: Democrats seem to be riding the anti-Trump wave for now. One example is in Alabama where outrage against President Trump defeated the candidate he had endorsed especially among African American voters, who were key in a Democratic victory. These demographics will matter nationally in November but it’s too early to tell who will come out to the polls. But, if you don’t like what’s been coming out of Washington you’d better be prepared to show up says Thomas Edsall.
If the Republicans retain control of the House and Senate this coming November Trump will feel that his style of governing has basically been endorsed by the electorate. And he will become, er, as or more extreme in his behaviour.
ANTHONY: Whatever message New Yorkers send to Washington this November, support for a strong economy or a vote of outrage, they’ll be thinking of President Trump as they cast their ballots in the midterms. Augusta Anthony, Columbia Radio News.