US midterm vote likely to draw historic numbers to the polls

US President Donald Trump arrives for a ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 06 November 2018
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US midterm vote likely to draw historic numbers to the polls

  • Trump has stepped up his rhetoric on immigration ahead of the elections, focusing on a caravan of Central American migrants heading toward the US

WASHINGTON: Michael Gregoire marched along a downtown sidewalk in the tense days before the midterm elections, waving a hand-painted sign at passing traffic: “DEFEAT REPUBLICANS 2018.”
“The survival of the country is going to depend on this election,” he said as another man stopped for a moment to argue. The strangers faced each other from opposite edges of the great American divide, Democrat versus Republican, both convinced the election is among the most consequential in their lifetimes and that they must save the nation from the other side.
“I’m voting for Donald Trump,” Stuart Kanter said. “He’s not on the ticket. But, in a way, actually he is.”
President Donald Trump looms large over Tuesday’s election, which is expected to draw historic numbers to the polls and will determine which party controls Congress. For Gregoire and Kanter, and for voters across the country, the election represents something far greater than whatever Senate and House races appear on their ballots. It is a competition for the soul of America — a referendum on Trump and the venomous political culture that many blame for gridlock in Congress and a recent spate of hate crimes and politically motivated attacks.
Less than two weeks ago in this city, a white man gunned down two African-American shoppers at a grocery store in what police described as a racially motivated attack. Days later, an avid Trump supporter was arrested for mailing pipe bombs to prominent critics of the president, all of whom Trump routinely derides as “evil” and “un-American.” The next day, another gunman opened fire in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, massacring 11 worshippers and telling police “all these Jews need to die.”
Don Albrecht, a 75-year-old accountant and Republican who voted for Trump in 2016, lives blocks away from the Louisville grocery store where two people died. He’d pulled into the parking lot minutes after the gunfire erupted, saw the police cars and shaken employees, and felt like the country’s poisonous political climate had landed in his backyard. He wishes he could take back his vote for Trump.
“He has diarrhea of the mouth and diarrhea of the brain. He’s just so irresponsible,” said Albrecht, who worries Trump’s embrace of the far-right is remaking his party. “I don’t think the American public is going to put up with it. I think there’s going to be a big backlash against Republicans because of this divisiveness.”
He’s undecided going into Election Day. He can’t remember ever voting for a Democrat but said he might this time in protest.
Other Trump voters remain staunchly behind him, and plan to choose Republican candidates to help him make good on his pledges, including vows to implement more hard-line immigration policies.
“I want to see the wall go up,” said Joe Spirko, 57, as he peddled Trump flags outside of one of the president’s rallies in Florida last week. “Since Trump come along, I feel a lot better.”
Trump has stepped up his rhetoric on immigration ahead of the elections, focusing on a caravan of Central American migrants heading toward the US.


Prosecutors seek Air France trial over 2009 Rio-to-Paris crash

Updated 11 min ago
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Prosecutors seek Air France trial over 2009 Rio-to-Paris crash

  • The doomed Airbus A330 jet crashed into the sea on June 1, 2009, after entering an aerodynamic stall
  • French investigators found the crew of AF447 mishandled the loss of speed readings

PARIS: French prosecutors want Air France to face trial over a fatal crash in 2009 involving flight AF447 between Rio de Janeiro and Paris which killed all 228 people on board, a judicial source said on Wednesday.
The doomed Airbus A330 jet crashed into the sea on June 1, 2009, after entering an aerodynamic stall. The judicial source added that prosecutors would not be seeking a trial of Airbus over the affair.
French investigators found the crew of AF447 mishandled the loss of speed readings from sensors blocked with ice from the storm, and pushed it into a stall by holding the nose too high.