Former Congressmen talk Trump and voters at DMU

Forget the pollsters – two former Congressmen predicted the outcome of the US midterm elections hours before the polls closed in the USA.

Former North Carolina Democrat Martin Lancaster and Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri both said Republicans would lose control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats.


Republicans lost 26 seats to Democrats, ending the one-party stronghold on House and Senate.  

Mr Lancaster and Mr Petri gave their views at the annual Congress to Campus event at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), part of a series organised around the country designed to share US politics with students at colleges and universities. Their talk co-incided with the day of the Midterm Elections in the US.

A packed audience of students, members of the public and academics heard their views on Trump, and asked how their constituents felt about the maverick US President.

Mr Lancaster said: “My impression is that they don’t like the rhetoric that much, but that they like the idea he is not the establishment, that he represents the working people. Trump supporters don’t tend to vote on what offends them, but what affects them, what's in it for them. Businesses like the tax cuts.”

Mr Petri said that Trump was a product of what he said was a “media revolution” – public figures who were less experienced politically, but were familiar to voters through TV and celebrity websites and magazines. “I think he is the first President ever who has never served in the armed forces, or held any public office,” he said.
Questions ranged from whether there needs to be another party option for centrist voters to the chances of the President being impeached. But both agreed that younger voters were getting more engaged with politics since the election of President Trump and the start of the #MeToo movement.

Congress to Campus came up trumps
* Trump is 'unravelling the progress Obama made' says academic
* We Shall OverComb - visiting US academic gives insight to students

However, they said it was vital that more young people voted. Mr Lancaster said: “Young people talk a better game than they produce. They can get all excited about demonstrations, but if you don’t get out and vote the impact is minimal and that’s the history of young people in politics.

“With the #MeToo movement and the dislike for many of Trump’s politics, this is the opportunity for them to demonstrate that by voting.”

First time voters made up 16% of the electorate in this year’s mid terms. ABC exit polls said there was an 188% increase from 2014 in early voting by 18-29 year olds.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, elected in New York, became one of the youngest ever women to win a seat in Congress.

Posted on Wednesday 7th November 2018

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