CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – President Trump paints a stunningly apocalyptic vision of America under democratic control in the last days of the campaign, triggering a barrage of falsehood and portraying his political opponents as crime, misery and poverty.
As voters prepare to make their first verdict on his presidency in the Tuesday's midterm elections, Trump claims Democrats are wiping out the nation's borders and seeking refuge for drug traffickers, traffickers and MS-13 killers. He warns that they are destroying the economy, wiping out Medicare and causing a wave of violent crime that threatens families everywhere. And he claims they are turning the United States into Venezuela, with socialism running amok.
Trump was never restricted by facts, fairness or even logic. The 45th President proudly refuses to apologize and routinely violates the decency standards that his predecessors have led. In a mega-rally after another in the run-up to the parliamentary elections on Tuesday, Trump has taken his political ethos without limits to a new level – to demagogue the democrats in a vortex of distortion and to use the power of the federal government to reinforce his fantastic arguments.
In Columbia, Mo., the president suggested that the Democrats in black uniforms and black helmets "walk around like anti-fascist demonstrators," but under them they have "that weak little face" and "to return to the mummy's basement."
In Huntington, Va., Trump called predatory immigrants "the worst scum in the world," but claimed that the Democrats welcomed them by saying, "Fly in, people, come in. We do not care who the Hell you are, come in! "
And in Macon, Georgia, he accused the Democratic Stacey Abrams of being elected governor; she would give up the right to surrender the second supplement – although she would not have the power to change the constitution as a civil servant.
Without trumps of reality, Trump has also become a false prophet. He promised a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class, even though there is no such legislation. And he has sounded the alarm in an imminent "invasion" of dangerous "illegal aliens". He referred to a caravan of Central American migrants, which includes many women and children, is on foot and is unlikely to reach the US-Mexico border for weeks, if any.
With his breathtaking series of speeches, tweets, media appearances, and presidential acts, Trump has dictated the terms of the political debate in the last week of the campaign, even though he's not ready for reelection for two years.
"He goes out and says crazy, horrible things, blowing race-whistles and sitting back and watching his subject of craze dominate cable television for the next 24 hours," said Republican strategist Mike Murphy, a Trump critic. "Everybody repeats his attack, and then there are a lot of mother-of-pearl and Tsk-Tsking, and then it is repeated again."
Trump's ubiquity has frustrated Democrats trying to focus on their health campaign messages and other paperback issues.
"It's really important not to bait the bait with its specter and its this-and-this," said Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), The House minority leader, in an interview this weekend. "That distracts people from what's really important in their lives and how that choice will make the difference."
Trump had only one formative political experience: his 2016 race for the president, which he won against the bet by addressing his conservative base on nativist themes. Two years later he returns to the same book.
"This freneticism in the end. , , As he prepares for a new level of histrionics and anxiety, the question is, "Is there any point in which returns are declining?" Asked David Axelrod, the chief strategist of former President Barack Obama. "Are these tactics offending some people at once, but seem so well thought out that even some who vote for the Republicans say you've lost me here?"
"His gambling is that this will work," added Axelrod. "Of course, the truth does not bother him, and the look does not bother him. The only thing that would bother him is to lose. "
Trump is campaigning as if his presidency were at stake – and, in a sense, too. If the Democrats win the majority of the House, as the polls show, they would probably use their summons powers to initiate investigations into the President and his conduct and possibly initiate impeachment.
"All of his bad qualities are compounded when he's in a crisis," Murphy said. "He has no faith in the truth or reality at first, so he's drunk in a crowd, in a corner and under great political pressure."
Trump's campaign maneuvers, which reinforce and defend Vice President Pence and many Republican candidates, are not just rhetorical.
The president stationed thousands of US troops on the border last week, supposedly to protect the United States from the upcoming caravan, and looked forward to the stump over the "beautiful barbed wire" they installed there. Several prominent former military officials have denounced the use as a political stunt.
Trump has fueled the groundless conspiracy theory that the caravan is being financed by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, and the Democratic megadonor who was the target of a bombing last month. The same conspiracy theory allegedly killed the suspect eight days ago in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
"They want to invite caravan caravans, and it's a bit suspicious how these caravans start, right?" Trump asked at a Saturday night rally in Pensacola, Florida. "Is not that a bit?" And I think it's a good thing, maybe they did. Did they revive our base or what? "
Trump has also expressed the idea of signing an executive to end primary birthright. Many legal experts argue that he does not have this power because the 14th constitutional amendment protects the right of citizenship for every child born in the United States.
"These ideas are mostly stunts that serve as a semaphore," said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law and former editor-in-chief of Clinton White House. "The order of the executive is absolutely unconstitutional. The tax reduction, which will be adopted by Election Day, does not exist. And the resulting panic over the caravan and sending up to 15,000 troops to the border is an expensive political theater and not much else. "
Trump's focus on immigration and nationalist appeals is part of a strategy to counter voters' high left-wing enthusiasm by mobilizing all his supporters in 2016 for other Republicans. As Pence says in his dull speech, "This blue wave will hit a red wall."
"Their point is that every voter who went up for Trump is first and foremost a Trump person and not a DeSantis person or a Scott person, so they rely on full Trumpism," says Steven Barrel, a Florida-based Democrat , on the state GOP candidates for governor or senate.
At his Saturday rally in Belgrade, Montreal, Trump told a jubilant crowd without a trace of irony, "I'm the only one who'll tell you the facts."
Trump's flood of disinformation, however, has become epic in recent weeks, according to an analysis of the Washington Post Fact Checker. In the seven weeks leading up to the election, the president made 1,419 false or misleading claims, an average of 30 per day. Compared with 1,318 false or misleading claims during the first nine months of his presidency, an average of five per day.
At each Trump rally, there are typically 35 to 45 allegations that he has repeated in media appearances, according to media reports.
The fans of Trump say they do not care much about the fake meter. At his rally in Estero, Florida on Wednesday, one Trump fan after another declared President disrespect for the truth.
Hope Heisler, emergency physician: "I'm not a fact checker. All candidates, whether Republican or Democrat, do not always say things exactly. But I trust President Trump. "
Linda Sears, a housewife: "Presidents should tell the truth, but sometimes they make mistakes. , , , At least that's what Trump says. Trump is a fortune teller. "
Pat Banker, retired nurse: "I do not think he's lying. He is excited when he speaks, and he likes to exaggerate a bit. But that's just his way. "
Trump has never had a great appetite for nuance, and on Tuesday he had the election to the voters in terms of black and white, right and wrong.
"This election is a choice between Republican outcomes and radical resistance," Trump said Thursday in Columbia, Mo., before a rally. It's a choice between jobs and mobs, and it's a choice between an economy that gets strong and the Democrats that go crazy. "
When it comes to attacking Democrats, Trump – who has been a registered Democrat for years – has launched a kitchen sink strategy. On Friday night in Indianapolis he told thousands of followers with red hair, "If Cryin Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the legendary Maxine Waters, if they take power, they will try to eradicate our achievements and eradicate our progress.
"The Democrats want to increase their taxes. They want to restore the murder laws. You want to shut down your steelworks. And that will happen. "
He went on.
"They want to take away their real health care and use socialism to turn America into Venezuela," Trump continued. "Nice place, nice place. And the Democrats want to open the borders completely. "
The crowd reacted only on cue with loud boos.
Mike DeBonis in Washington contributed to this report.