Chicago Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in an interview two weeks out from the midterm elections that he believes President Donald Trump has energized the GOP base in an election he still thought would swing for his party.
“I happen to think this is a blue wave election with a red undertow,” Emanuel said Tuesday on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”
Emanuel, the former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and White House chief of staff to President Barack Obama, noted that in similar electoral setups in recent history, the party of the sitting president typically loses seats. And while he said he still believes Democrats will take the House and follow that trend, Trump had been able to rally many Republican voters, giving them an edge going into November.
“He’s energized his base,” Emanuel said. “And he’s trying to do that with every trick or trade that he has, and even, as he just acknowledged, not being honest about things.”
At the same time, Emanuel said he believed Trump’s unpopularity was putting a drag on the GOP, which might otherwise benefit politically from what he called a “strong economy.”
Emanuel also said he believed Trump’s unexpectedly strong performance in several states during the 2016 contest might be turning the other way, with competitive gubernatorial races across the Midwest.
“In the Midwest, where Donald Trump upended a lot of things, you have a number of gubernatorial races,” Emanuel said. “To me, that’s very important both for the presidential but it’s also important for redistricting. You have Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota.”
Emanuel announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election as mayor as his current term comes to a close.