Trump Has Become a Midterms Rorschach Test

And if they don’t? Well, the president has made clear that he’ll be a winner then, too.

He told the A.P. earlier this month that he’d accept none of the blame if his party has losses in November.

“No, I think I’m helping people,” he said. “I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of impact.”

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With the midterms less than two weeks away, our colleagues from the Opinion Pages are fretting about voting. Not just who will win or who will show up at the polls (or vote early or vote by mail or be prevented from voting at all), but the question of what all this means for the state of our democracy.

Typically during midterm elections around 40 percent of the electorate votes. In presidential years, it’s more like 60 percent. What accounts for the difference? How much does it matter? (Short answer: a lot.) How do we make voting become a lifelong habit? Why do older people vote much more often than younger ones? How bad will voter suppression be this time around? These are some of the questions we have been kicking around on our various platforms.

In theory, even people who disagree intensely ought to want everyone to vote — to register their opinion, as we like to think of it in Op-Ed. But in practice, the obstacles to voting in the United States are much greater than they are in many other democracies. They may not always make a difference to the outcome, but this year they actually could — particularly in the very tight governor’s race in Georgia, where Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate, is also the guy in charge of determining who gets to vote. His office has canceled nearly 670,000 voter registrations in 2017 alone — a tactic our columnist Michelle Goldberg called an “apparent attempt to rig the Georgia election.”

So this weekend in Sunday Review we are planning to run two pieces on the subject of voting itself — a review of the landscape of voter suppression by Ari Berman, and a story about how to build political power in the first place, one voter at a time, by a pair of longtime activists, LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright.

Voting also lies at the core of this week’s episode of our podcast, The Argument, which is called “How Screwed Up Is Our Democracy?” That pretty much says it all. Or not quite all, because the debate between Michelle Goldberg and Ross Douthat about what Michelle calls “the illegitimate, undemocratically elected cabal of our enemies” has to be listened to carefully to be fully appreciated.

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