In just a few hours, just 50 miles from each other, I’ve seen two very different views of America this weekend.
In the unseasonably warm afternoon sun in Pittsburgh, a group gathers to listen to their heroes Barack Obama.
This Democrats there’s trouble, maybe big trouble, on tuesday midterm elections. They would lose the Senate and House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and could see Republican governors win power in several states.
The implications for Democrats’ domestic policies on the economy, health care, abortion rights, immigration and climate will be profound. U.S. foreign policy will also shift more inward.
So the speaker Obama, shining, President Joe Biden The lack, in order to give up a lackluster Democratic base.
He focused on the now-familiar warnings about the threat to democracy that Democrats say is a threat to democracy from Trump’s Republicans who deny the election.
He warns divisions will fuel a ‘dangerous climate’, citing Hammering House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Husband.
As often happens in the U.S. election cycle, Pennsylvania is key for both parties.
It could tip the balance in the crucial midterm U.S. Senate race between Democrat John Fettman and Republican Mohammad Oz.
“We have a habit of demonizing political opponents and saying crazy things. It creates a dangerous atmosphere,” Mr. Obama said.
“There are politicians whose job is not to bring people together, but to sow division and make us angry and fear each other for our own good so they can take power.”
Among the crowd, the importance of this interim period for the direction of the country is clearly recognized.
Voter Alex told me: “This midterm election is definitely the most important midterm election I think we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes.”
Another said: “It feels good to hear a sane speech. It’s refreshing to measure and balance and say the right things and what people need to hear and what this country needs to hear.”
“I think it’s critical that we exercise our right to vote and remove the incivility that’s happening,” said Leeanna McKibben. “We can have bipartisan politics, but it has to be respectful and civilized. That’s not what’s happening right now.”
key states of pennsylvania
While Nevada and Georgia are also key races in the Senate, much of the focus is on Pennsylvania because of its history of swinging from left to right.
In the 2016 presidential election, it turned Donald Trump, send him to the White House. Four years later, it’s back in the hands of Mr. Biden and Democrats.
No wonder so much campaign money is pouring into the campaign here, no wonder all the big names criss-cross the state.
A key issue for Democrats is Mr. Biden. According to recent opinion polls, his approval rating is only 40%. Here’s another reason Mr. Obama is out — a reminder that Democrats have more than Mr. Biden.
Trump’s red wave?
At an airport 50 miles away, another former president was also out — Mr. Trump, who has not stopped campaigning since he lost the election two years ago.
“The election was rigged and stolen, and we won’t let it happen again,” he told a large crowd of his most loyal people.
He claims there is no evidence of electoral fraud at all. Audits, recounts and court cases across the United States have confirmed Mr Biden as the 2020 winner, but Mr Trump has managed to sow doubt in the fabric of society.
False claims remain his core message 2024 presidential campaign Everyone expects him to announce any day.
“I love Trump!” supporter Lori Randall told me. “The best president ever.”
“Trump is my guy because he’s honest, he doesn’t whitewash anything, he doesn’t tolerate anything, he puts America first,” Aaron Hoffman said.
Another said: “I’m here to meet Donald Trump because I believe he should be our president and Joe Biden is destroying America.”
The vibe, the energy, the brand—it’s all there for a man who seems to have almost complete control over today’s Republican Party.
For all the Democrats and a handful of anti-Trump Republicans have done to try to discredit him, expose him as a liar and a liar, try to secure his history, it really doesn’t feel like he’s a complete fit
He hopes this week’s midterm elections will set off a “red wave” that confirms his appeal goes beyond that core and that candidates he supports who reject the election across the country will win.
Remember — if they win, many of them will be responsible for judging the validity of the 2024 presidential election.
If Mr. Trump speaks, a lonely voice is heard in the crowd.
“He’s a liar,” she screamed.
Her questioning, and the reactions around her, were glimpses of a deeply angry disagreement, up close.
“Lock her up! Lock her up!” the crowd shouted, borrowing a slogan they used for Mr. Trump’s 2016 rival Hilary Clinton.
“Go home. Go to your rallies, brag about your Obama, brag about inflation,” a man shouted into her face.
With considerable force, her arms were chained behind her and she was led out by police.
Across the border, they released her and we had a brief chat.
“We are very clear that the election was not stolen. It was fair, it was safe, it was safe…” she said before police returned and the evictions continued.
She never told us her name, but she spoke for millions in another America.
It is difficult to see how these two very different visions of these so-called Americas can be reconciled.