The Note: Trump showing midterm worries

President Trump is acting like it’s 2016 in hopes that it can be 2020 already.


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.

Across the country, from North Dakota to Georgia to Tennessee, Americans, especially minorities, have worried they could be unfairly stripped of their right to vote.

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.

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.


  • President Trump holds a Make America Great Again rally in Mesa, Arizona, at 9:30 p.m. EDT. This is the president’s 34th campaign rally since taking office.
  • Vice President Mike Pence holds a rally in Iowa for GOP incumbent Rep. David Young, who is battling to hold onto his seat in the 3rd Congressional District against small business owner and Democratic candidate Cindy Axne. President Trump visited the state earlier this month, and urged supporters at a Council Bluffs rally to support Young.
  • Former Democratic presidential candidate and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders embarks on a Midwest campaign swing, holding a rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, after endorsing her opponent in the primary, progressive challenger Abdul El-Sayed. Sanders also holds a rally for Indiana Rep. Liz Watson, the Democratic candidate in the 9th Congressional District, in Bloomington, Indiana, and hold a Social Security town hall.
  • Nevada Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen and Republican Sen. Dean Heller face off in a debate in Las Vegas at 9 p.m. EDT, in one of the most hotly contested Senate races this cycle. The debate comes on the heels of Rosen outraising Heller by nearly $5 million in the final quarter before Election Day.
  • The Wisconsin gubernatorial race is set to heat up on Friday when Democratic challenger Tony Evers debates incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker at 9 p.m. EDT in Madison. In Milwaukee, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Republican challenger Leah Vukmir are also set to also debate at 8 p.m. EDT.
  • Bill and Chelsea Clinton host the Clinton Global Initiative’s 11th annual meeting, a three-day gathering of more than 1,000 students from around the world, alongside global leaders and policy experts, at the University of Chicago.

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