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Obama warns of ‘dangerous’ US political climate ahead of midterm electionsATN News

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Former President Barack Obama warned of divisions fueling a “dangerous environment” in American politics as he stumped for Democratic candidates Saturday, three days ahead of midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.

The biggest names in Democratic and Republican politics — Obama, President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump — are eyeing a tie in a key midterm U.S. Senate race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Speaking to supporters in downtown Pittsburgh, Obama said last week’s politically motivated attack on Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was the result of hateful rhetoric from Democrats’ opponents.

“We have a habit of demonizing political opponents and saying crazy things. It creates a dangerous environment,” Obama said, without referring directly to Republicans.

“You’ve got politicians who are working not to bring people together, but to incite division, to make each other angry and afraid, so they can seize power.”

Citing the widespread anti-racism protests that rocked the country in 2020, Republicans argue that Democrats have also engaged in political violence.

Obama is embarking on a five-state tour that looks to stave off his party’s losses in Tuesday’s congressional elections. After her Pittsburgh appearance with Fetterman, she will head to Philadelphia, where she will join Biden on stage at Temple University.

Trump, meanwhile, is set to drum up support for his hand-picked Republican Senate nominee, Dr. Oz and Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano at a rally in Latrobe, southeast of Pittsburgh.

Trump is working to maintain his own profile, according to advisers, as he has been at constant rallies since leaving office.

That could set the stage for a Biden-Trump rematch, although some Democrats say Tuesday’s heavy losses for Biden’s party could increase pressure on the president to step aside and let someone else carry the party mantle in 2024.

The Fetterman-Os Senate race is one of three key contests, along with Georgia and Nevada, that will determine whether Democrats retain their razor-thin majority in the Senate, which has the power to confirm Biden’s appointments to his Cabinet. to the Supreme Court.

Nonpartisan election forecasters and polls show Republicans more likely to win control of the House of Representatives, a Senate toss-up. Controlling one of those chambers would give Republicans the power to block Biden’s legislative agenda and launch damaging investigations.

According to the American Elections Program, about 38.8 million Americans have already registered to vote early either in person or by mail. Election officials have warned that it could be days after Tuesday before the final results become clear in closely contested elections such as the Pennsylvania and Georgia Senate races.

Very challenging

Both parties have drawn attention to Pennsylvania because of the race’s strategic importance and its history of swinging voters from one party to another in the past four presidential elections.

There are volunteers all over the state.

Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, had been a frontrunner in the race all summer, and Oz pulled away over the past two months.

Some factors may be local: A stroke this spring forced Fetterman to scale back his campaign schedule and affected his speech. In a debate last month, he often tripped over his words, privately describing a performance that would make even allies tremble.

But Oz’s gains reflect a nationwide momentum shift in favor of Republicans, as voters’ concerns about inflation and crime have proven more enduring than abortion concerns. Early Democratic leads in several other Senate races, including contests in Georgia and Nevada, have shrunk or completely evaporated in recent weeks.

Playing against the Democrats is unpopular with Biden. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Tuesday, only 40% of Americans approve of the president’s job performance, leading to Biden being barred from campaigning in some key states.

Obama has spent the past week tearing up the campaign trail in some of the nation’s most tense battlegrounds, including Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada.

One bright spot for Democrats is Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race, in which Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro is leading against Mastriano, a Republican state senator.

Mastriano, who, if successful, would appoint Pennsylvania’s secretary of state and wield enormous influence over elections, introduced a failed resolution that falsely claimed the Republican-controlled Legislature had the power after Trump lost Pennsylvania in 2020. Determine which candidate received the votes of the state’s presidential electors.

If elected, Mastriano has said he would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, a position that stands out among Republicans running in swing states, many of whom have sought neutrality on the issue.

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