WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – It’s just five days to the midterm election finish line and two key issues are grabbing headlines: threats to democracy and the economy.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced another interest rate hike aimed at fighting inflation. Republicans are seizing on the sluggish economy while Democrats and President Biden campaign on threats to Democracy.
Midterm elections are almost always tough for the party in power. And with inflation high and voters focused on the economy, Democrats face major headwinds.
Trying to defy the odds, the party’s top brass is painting Republicans as too extreme.
President Biden focused on threats to democracy in his final pitch to voters. “We don’t settle our differences in America with a riot, a mob, or a bullet, or a hammer,” he said.
Trying to convince voters that today’s Republicans can’t be trusted to run the country, President Biden pointed to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol and the recent attack of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
President Biden said, “The extreme MAGA element of the Republican party, which is a minority of that party, as I said earlier, but is this driving force, is trying to succeed where they failed in 2020, to suppress the right of voters and subvert the electoral system itself.”
It’s an argument former President Obama repeated in Nevada while campaigning for a vulnerable Democrat. He said, “Democracy is at stake in this election.”
Mitch McConnell, the top GOP leader in the Senate, tweeted: “President Biden is desperate to change the subject from inflation, crime, and open borders. Now he’s claiming that democracy only works if his party wins.”
Other top Republicans are also firing back.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, “The Democrats are dividing us as we move forward. They just want to distract from the disasters they created.”
Republicans are seizing on crime and the sluggish economy. Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced another big hike in interest rates aimed at lowering inflation that now hovers above 8%.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said, “Under Joe Biden, our country has turned into ‘inflation nation.’”
They’re different messages aimed at convincing voters who in just five days are poised to decide which party controls Congress and state capitols across the country.
Thursday, the president will travel to Albuquerque where he will deliver remarks on student debt relief. Former President Donald Trump will travel to Sioux City, Iowa to hold a rally for Governor Kim Reynolds and Senator Chuck Grassley.
On Saturday, three days before the election, President Biden and former Presidents Obama and Trump will all be in Pennsylvania. The neck-and-neck Senate race there is seen as one of the most consequential races in the country and could determine the balance of power in Congress.