Politics: Trump's resurgence forced Democrats to switch their midterm messaging from hailing accomplishments to warning against a GOP-led 'nation of fear, division, and darkness': report

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Former President Donald Trump arrives at a Save America Rally at the Aero Center Wilmington on September 23, 2022 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Allison Joyce/Getty Images © Allison Joyce/Getty Images Former President Donald Trump arrives at a Save America Rally at the Aero Center Wilmington on September 23, 2022 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Allison Joyce/Getty Images
  • Democrats previously envisioned running for reelection by touting their legislative wins.
  • Donald Trump's dominating headlines and recruiting efforts prompted a recalibration.
  • "Things have changed a whole bunch," Joe Biden said of the decision to go negative this fall.

With no way to escape Donald Trump's outsized influence on the 2022 midterms — including his nationwide slate of election-denying candidates, his Supreme Court appointees leading the charge on overturning abortion rights, and the embattled former president railing against every law enforcement official currently investigating him — Democrats are sounding alarm bells about returning Republicans to power with American democracy on the line.

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"I remember I got beat up in the campaign by saying that I wanted to unify the country and unify the parties," the Washington Post reported that President Joe Biden said recently. "You used to be able to do that. But things have changed a whole bunch."

Democrats' initial inclination to stump for reelection this fall by celebrating the legislative wins they've wracked up during Biden's first two years in office has morphed into warning against GOP-controlled anything with just weeks to go.

"This November, you have to choose to be a nation of hope, unity and optimism — or a nation of fear, division and darkness," Biden said recently at a Democratic gathering.

The issues the Washington Post says pushed lawmakers like Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan of New York to rail against "a coordinated domestic attempt to undermine our Constitution" while on the campaign trail include the non-stop headlines about Trump's myriad criminal and civil probes, the rise of Trump-endorsed candidates expected to champion his baseless claims of election fraud if they win their way into office, and the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer.

What's at stake in this week's congressional vote to keep the government open, including Manchin's push to make it easier to build fossil fuel projects

  What's at stake in this week's congressional vote to keep the government open, including Manchin's push to make it easier to build fossil fuel projects Manchin's bill faces opposition from progressives and Republicans alike. It's the major sticking point in a deal to prevent a government shutdown.Republicans and Democrats alike have been pushing for the bill, which is referred to as a continuing resolution (CR). The measure allows Congress to fund the government for a short amount of time. Congress has less than a week to pass the bill, or the US will have its first shutdown since 2019.

"In a normal environment, this midterm election would be about Joe Biden," former Democratic Rep. Steve Israel told the Post. "But this midterm, Democrats have successfully made it a referendum on Donald Trump, and he's helping them by inserting himself in the headlines and endorsing candidates in primaries who are way too far to the right for moderate electorates."

Using the polarizing former president as a foil this fall is tricky, given that Trump isn't officially running for anything at the moment. He remains the presumptive GOP front-runner for the 2024 presidential race.

But with Biden's poll numbers still underwater and congressional Republicans tethered to Trump until someone else wrestles control of the party away from him, many Democrats appear comfortable with betting that portraying Republicans as harbingers of doom will pay off.

Rep. Brendan Boyle told the Post he gets it. But he also sees room for some positivity.

"Our side absolutely has to double down on talking about what we just did on prescription drugs, what we achieved on infrastructure, what we achieved on the gun bill," the Pennsylvania Democrat said, adding, "If there is one self-criticism of Democrats, it's that we need to do a better job of celebrating our victories and not just moving on to the next issue."

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GOP makes push to weaken Democrats' grip on Texas border .
HARLINGEN, Texas (AP) — Just weeks before Election Day in Texas, once again there is big money, new signs of shifting voters and bold predictions of an upset that will turn heads across the U.S. But this time, it's coming from Republicans. “We are going to turn the Rio Grande Valley red,” said Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, kicking off a rally in the Texas border city of Harlingen. As Democrats embark on another October blitz in pursuit of flipping America's biggest red state, Republicans are taking a swing of their own: Making a play for the mostly Hispanic southern border on Nov. 8 after years of writing off the region that is overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats.

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