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Midterm turnout surges to 50-year high, early estimates show

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By Benjy Sarlin

WASHINGTON — Voter turnout soared in the 2018 midterm elections, according to an early projection in a new study, potentially reaching the highest level in over 50 years.

An estimated 48.1 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, over 113 million people in total, according to research by University of Florida Professor Michael McDonald, who runs the U.S. Election Project. If that holds it would be the highest rate since 1966, when 48.7 percent of voters participated.

The numbers are still subject to change as states continue to report final vote counts, especially places like California, where voters can mail in their choices all the way up to Election Day and large numbers of ballots have yet to be counted.

The high turnout, which was presaged by a surge in early votes, as well as primary and special election votes, comes after voters participated at historically low rates just four years ago in the 2014 midterms. Just 36.7 percent of voters cast ballots that year, the lowest percentage since World War II.

McDonald attributed the increase to a variety of factors, including more high-profile and competitive Senate and governor races in key states. The House, which flipped to Democrats, was also much more hotly contested this year in comparison to 2014, when Republicans were considered prohibitive favorites to maintain control.

Texas, which had the lowest turnout in 2014 amid mostly non-competitive state races, saw its turnout rate spike as voters went to polls in the closely watched Senate race between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. But the effect also extended to states like North Carolina, which saw high turnout despite an off-year for both senate and gubernatorial elections.

But the biggest factor seems to be President Donald Trump. Unlike previous midterms, where one party’s voters showed up in high numbers and the other remained depressed, the high turnout rates suggest voters across the board were eager to participate. Exit polls found two-thirds of voters identified Trump as important to their vote, either to show their support or register their opposition.

“Let’s give Trump some credit: He inflames passions for both Democrats and Republicans,” McDonald said.

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Reporter asks Mueller about his report, drawing a ‘no comment’

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By Allan Smith

Special counsel Robert Mueller has spoken — and he’s giving no comment.

Mueller was approached by MSNBC’s Mike Viqueira on Sunday as he was leaving St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., for Easter services. Viqueira asked Mueller as he and his wife, Ann Mueller, were getting into their car whether he would testify before Congress after the Thursday release of his report on President Donald Trump and Russian electoral interference.

Mueller said he would be offering “no comment.”

Viqueira then asked Mueller if he had been investigating anyone other than Trump, and the evidence was identical, would they be indicted? The reporter also asked why Mueller did not make a recommendation on possible obstruction of justice and if Attorney General William Barr accurately characterized the report in his initial summary and subsequent press conference.

Mueller did not respond as he entered his car.

“I think it’s accurate to characterize Director Mueller today as being ‘tight-lipped’ in response to my questions,” Viqueira said afterwards on MSNBC.

Mueller has remained silent during the course of his probe, which began in May 2017, refusing to engage in public discourse about the investigation. Mueller’s “no comment” was the first time he had spoken publicly to the media about the investigation since its inception.

In his 400-plus page report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and whether the president sought to obstruct justice, Mueller said he was unable to establish a Trump-Russia conspiracy and said he could not come to a traditional prosecutorial decision on obstruction.



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In online ad, Howard Schultz says ‘majority of Americans are Americans’

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By Allan Smith

A new Facebook ad from possible 2020 presidential candidate Howard Schultz gained attention online over a line saying “the majority of Americans are Americans.”

Schultz, who has said he may run as a centrist independent, has based his potential candidacy on a message of nonpartisanship. Schultz has taken socially liberal and fiscally conservative positions, insisting that both Republicans and Democrats are too extreme to govern. The former Starbucks chairman and billionaire businessman has made the national debt a central issue of his possible run.

In the Facebook ad, Schultz writes: “The majority of Americans aren’t Democrats or Republicans, the majority of Americans are Americans.”

The line drew mockery online from observers who thought the statement that most Americans are American was rather obvious.



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Jeremy Corbyn attacked by veterans for labelling British SAS soldiers 'LAWLESS' at rally

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JEREMY CORBYN has been heavily criticised by veterans after a video emerged of him branding British Army forces in Iraq “lawless”.

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