Hollywood stars have come out in force to oppose Donald Trump in Tuesday’s vital US mid-term elections.
Celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Oprah Winfrey are appealing to fans to vote against the Republican President in what is seen as the most crucial test of Mr. Trump’s presidency to date.
The election will see all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives up for grabs, along with 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate.
It is widely expected that Mr. Trump will lose control of the House because of his unpopular stance on controversial issues such as immigration, but Republicans are set to retain their majority vote in the Senate.
With some polls predicting a ‘devastating’ night for Mr. Trump, the mid-terms could dictate the future of his presidency and his ability to push his political agenda through Congress.
And the opposition of traditionally liberal Hollywood stars could affect the outcome of the poll. On Friday, Titanic actor DiCaprio called the mid-terms ‘the most important vote in history’ and urged young voters and women to ‘come out in force’ to oppose the President.
Tomorrow night, Charlize Theron is expected to take part in a two-hour live ‘Telethon Across America’ on YouTube to encourage people, especially first-time voters, to cast their ballot against Mr. Trump.
TV talk show billionaire Oprah Winfrey and activist actress Jane Fonda have been going door-to-door in towns across America urging people to vote against Mr. Trump, described by Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein as ‘the toxicity in our system’.
Fonda, 80, famous for her anti-Vietnam War activism in the 1970s, said she hoped young people would recognize what was at stake. She said: ‘More than any other that I can remember, this election is going to determine whether we can continue to call ourselves a democracy, whether we’re going to be able to live in a country of people that are different from each other and truly get along.’ The mid-terms – so-called because they fall halfway through a President’s four-year stint in office – are widely viewed as a referendum on Mr. Trump’s policies, including his staunch anti-immigration stance.
On Friday, he told supporters that he was sending 15,000 US troops to the US-Mexican border to meet a caravan of migrants from Central America, which he compared to ‘an invasion’ and claimed ‘is full of violent criminals and gang members’.
Mr. Trump has come under fire for his inflammatory rhetoric. He claimed last weekend’s Pittsburgh synagogue massacre – in which 11 worshippers were killed by a gunman – and the man accused of sending bombs through the mail to prominent political rivals had ‘managed to slow down the momentum’ of his party ahead of Tuesday’s vote.
Winfrey called the President’s remarks ‘despicable’.
Celebrity backing has already been shown to have a significant effect on the campaign.
When pop star Taylor Swift endorsed Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen in her home state of Tennessee, polls showed nearly one million people cast an early ballot – almost tripling the number of voters who cast ballots ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections.
Mr. Trump may yet enjoy a boost in the polls from record employment figures that were released on Friday, but he has also come under fire for imposing new sanctions against Iran.
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