Inside Politics with John King, Monday - Friday 12:00pm ET & Sundays 8:00am ET

How the campaigner-in-chief is affecting the battle for the Senate

'Inside Politics' forecast: The military vote
'Inside Politics' forecast: The military vote


    'Inside Politics' forecast: The military vote


'Inside Politics' forecast: The military vote 04:27

Story highlights

  • President Obama is affecting Democrats' Senate races, for the better
  • NBA-star by day, Clinton surrogate by night: LeBron James campaigns in Cleveland

Washington (CNN)The late campaign roles of President Obama and King James, the fight for the military vote and the role a surge in Latino voting plays in a key Senate race: It's all a part of our Inside Politics forecast.

1) Back To Cleveland -- and some help from The King

Can LeBron James help trigger a Clinton comeback in battleground Ohio?
    The Cleveland Cavaliers star is appearing with Hillary Clinton at a Sunday rally as the Democrats try to generate a surge in African-American turnout.
    The state has been frustrating for Democrats this cycle, and while it's close, late polls favor Donald Trump.
    A Clinton win in Ohio would be devastating to Trump's chances. CNN's Jeff Zeleny shared reporting on how Team Clinton hopes some superstar help brings a late campaign boost.
    "There's perhaps no other big city in America that speaks more to the final strategy of the Clinton campaign than Cleveland. ... Obviously, a huge share of the vote in Ohio is in Cleveland and around the surrounding area. But by this point, the Clinton campaign had hoped to be expanding into sort of more Republican areas. The old adage of Ohio is when Democrats are going to Cleveland at the end, that is to get out their base, and they aren't doing the independents and the persuasion."

    2) The Obama factor: Clinton hardly the only beneficiary

    President Obama speaking Spanish on the radio?
    Jonathan Martin of The New York Times heard it with his own ears in the Miami area Saturday as the president tried to help Democrat Patrick Murphy in his race against incumbent Republican Marco Rubio.
    Proof, Martin reports, that the unprecedented Obama effort in campaign 2016 is aimed at trying to do something he was unable to do in 2010 and 2014.
    "He's finally an asset after being a liability for much of the last eight years for his own party. I was with him in Chapel Hill last week. He was as impassioned going after Richard Burr, the senator there, as he was Donald Trump. Almost ridiculing Burr for supporting Trump," explains Martin. "Given his popularity he might pull some Democrats over the lines."

    3) Military families are key targets in swing states

    There are battlegrounds within battlegrounds that can sway the states that matter most -- including the effort to win the votes of military families.
    Think Florida. And Virginia. Add in North Carolina. Plus Colorado. Four states where the votes of current and retired military members and their families are abundant -- and getting a lot of attention in these final days of the campaign.
    CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson noted the importance of this vote in the Obama presidential wins as she discussed this campaign's final appeals.
    "In terms of ads, there are two more debuting during Sunday Night Football, i guess it's the Broncos and Raiders game. These are Hillary Clinton ads, 30-second ads featuring Republican, white men who served in the military. Talking about Donald Trump, talking about why they don't want to vote for Donald Trump, talking about his words about women," reports Henderson. "Interesting to look at it within the context of the military vote. Of 20 million veterans in this country, particularly in states like North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Colorado. And we've seen both campaigns really go after this voting bloc."

    4) Election will shape prospects for immigration legislation

    This could well be the "Year of the Latino" when we break down the biggest factors in the election results -- and the impact could go well beyond who wins the White House.
    CNN's Maeve Reston shared conversations with Republican lawmakers who want to advance immigration legislation through Congress. That's a tough sell with the conservatives who dominate the House.
    But Reston reports that if Latinos punish Republican candidates, those GOPers looking to change the immigration debate hope their colleagues see a need to do something.
    "There's still a group of Republicans in Congress that is deeply committed to getting an immigration reform bill through Congress. And they are hoping that if there is a huge kind of anti-Trump Latino turnout, on Tuesday night, that will provide some momentum to actually finally get a bill through Congress," explains Reston.

    5) GOP hopes of winning Reid's seat fading

    Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid is retiring -- and Republicans had hoped to send him off with a thumping at home.
    But those hopes -- of turning Reid's Nevada Senate seat from blue to red -- are fading because of a late surge in Latino early voting.
    And if the GOP can't get that seat -- its one big hope for a pickup this year -- it complicates the Republican math for keeping its Senate majority.
    The GOP math begins with the current 54 seats. There are three expected losses: Illinois, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. So, if it plays out that way, Republicans would need to win all four of these: Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire and North Carolina.
    Bullish Republicans think that is possible but it is scenario that leaves zero room for error.