WASHINGTON, D.C. --
The TAKE with Rick Klein
President Donald Trump is acting like it’s 2016 in hopes that it can be 2020 already.
Some Democrats are acting like it’s 2020 in hopes they can forget 2016.
But in between is 2018, with an election both parties simultaneously eagerly anticipate and cannot wait to be over.
As for the president, real worries are coming through about the midterm races that — whether he accepts it or not — will be viewed as a referendum on his presidency. He is back on the attack on immigration, with a fresh threat to seal the border against a supposed "assault on our country" he says Democrat-supported laws are responsible for.
He’s vowing that all Republicans will protect pre-existing conditions, notwithstanding his and his party’s attempts to repeal, have the courts overturn, or otherwise gut Obamacare, with its protection for pre-existing conditions. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s stated wish to "completely start over" on dismantling the Affordable Care Act doesn’t help make the president’s case, either.)
Trump still trusts his instincts. But that’s driving him to call some audibles and play more defense than he’s used to.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
The last five days, both domestically and abroad, have raised serious questions about American norms and values.
The number of vulnerable voters is so big, it could swing elections.
The global community, meanwhile, was left wondering if the White House would put the hammer down and demand answers on what seems to be the murder of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist — a man known for calling out foreign regimes that limit free speech and curtail freedoms of the press.
And then there were those ads, the racially-charged tweets, and side-comments, all week. A Republican in California, who himself is under criminal indictment, ran an ad calling his Democratic opponent, who is an ethnic minority, a security risk, because of his grandfather's past.
Leader Mitch McConnell, too, used a racial slur this week about one of his own colleagues, a breach of norms for the Senate, let alone the nation.
The TIP with John Verhovek
Early voting is underway in 20 states, and already there are signs of a significant uptick in the number of Americans casting their ballots before November 6.
Current data, from University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald, shows that more than 2.6 million Americans have cast their votes early, a nearly 40 percent increase from 2014, when 1.9 million ballots were cast by the same date.
In Georgia, turnout tripled on the first day of early voting earlier this week, compared to 2014.
The trend could be a sign that we are in for unusually high turnout for a midterm cycle, but it also reflects a number of state efforts to make early voting easier by adding more locations and methods to cast ballots.
"We've seen that when states expand the opportunity to vote early," McDonald told ABC News, "the number of people doing so only goes up."
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Friday morning’s episode features exclusive reporting from ABC News Senior Foreign Correspondent Ian Pannell on what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knows about the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. ABC News’ Kyra Phillips also dives into the other side of the #MeToo movement. https://bit.ly/2M7OS5c
FiveThirtyEight’s "Politics Podcast." ABC News’ partner FiveThirtyEight launched its 2018 governors forecast this week, and the Politics podcast team, along with editor-in-chief Nate Silver, talk about the odds in key races, including Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Wisconsin, and check in on the latest fundraising numbers. https://53eig.ht/2yr1yLA
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