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The Trump effect? U.S. midterm voter slump on the rebound – National




U.S. President Donald Trump wasn’t on the ballot, but he may well have spurred American voters out of their midterm slump.

Voter turnout this year is likely to set records for a midterm election, beating the 2014 midterm turnout, which was the lowest in 72 years, according to the Elections Project done by University of Florida associate professor Michael McDonald.

U.S. midterm elections 2018: Democrats win U.S. House, GOP retain Senate

Per the results of AP VoteCast, a national survey of voters, nearly 40 per cent turned out to the polls to express their opposition to the president, while roughly 25 per cent turned out in an effort to support him. That’s not surprising given national politics have become much more of a guiding force for local voters, says Randy Besco, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto. Still, he notes, if national politics were boring, turnout would likely be lower.

“Clearly turnout is high because people are upset about Donald Trump. People view this as a really important election because of all the controversial things he’s done.”

Typically, midterms don’t generate the same volume of voters as presidential elections. But the 2018 race – two years into Trump’s presidency and repeatedly posited as an indicator of how satisfied Americans are with their president – has been breaking records.

Over 31.5 million early voter ballots were cast in the midterms. Early voter turnout doubled in at least eight states, including Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

In Texas, more people have voted early so far than the total number of people who voted in the state’s last midterm election in 2014. Nearly 4.9 million people have voted in the state’s 30 largest counties, compared to 4.7 million who voted in 2014, according to data from the secretary of state’s office.

“This looks more like a presidential election than a midterm election,” Besco says.

2018 U.S. midterms: Trump loomed large in most voters’ decisions, survey shows

Still, he rejects claims the election turnout is historic. Typically, the midterms have seen surges of support for the party that didn’t win the presidency.

“The Democrats are going to do pretty well, but its not like this is some crazy outlier that has never happened before.”

So how exactly do the 2018 midterm voter numbers stack up against past midterms?

While exact figures have yet to be released, the indication from many election officials is that turnout is up. In Maine, the top election official in Maine said he believes turnout will exceed the 2014 midterm turnout and in Minnesota, turnout was reportedly quite strong.

WATCH: Apps leverage midterm elections, share public voting history

Who turns out to vote – women, men, young people, minorities – has also shifted over the years, per a 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Historically, the report found, the rate at which people turn out to vote depends on their demographics. Some of the most significant changes from 1978 to 2014 include the white vote dropping from 50.6 per cent to 45.8 per cent and the Hispanic vote dropping from 35.7 per cent to 27 per cent.

In historic first, 2 Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018 U.S. midterms

AP VoteCast surveyed 115,936 voters and 22,016 nonvoters across the United States for the 2018 race. While AP didn’t provide a demographic breakdown of those surveyed, it did indicate how thousands of people voted.

WATCH: Democrat Wexton defeats Comstock in Republican stronghold in Virginia

It found that six in 10 women voted for the Democrat candidate and four for the Republican candidate, while men were more evenly split.

There was a similar urban-rural split. Those living in urban centres voted nearly two to one for a Democrat while those in smaller towns and rural areas leaned, albeit by a smaller margin, toward the Republican party.

Per VoteCast, non-white voters picked Democrats by a roughly three to one margin.

– with files from The Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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