Trump aims to flip over Demo­crat strongholds

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump has spent much of the past week in en­emy ter­ri­tory, des­per­ate to poach a Demo­cratic state and carve a per­ilously nar­row path to vic­tory in his White House race against Hil­lary Clin­ton. Polls, his­tory, de­mo­graph­ics and Trump’s abra­sive rhetoric are not on his side, even as he seeks to cap­i­tal­ize on never-end­ing rev­e­la­tions about his ri­val’s use of a pri­vate email server while sec­re­tary of state. But with the cam­paign in its fi­nal week, the brag­gado­cios bil­lion­aire is de­ter­mined to make a last-gasp play for a blue state or two that could put him over the top-if he holds on to Repub­li­can ground and seizes the cru­cial bat­tle­ground of Florida.

On Sun­day he was in Colorado and New Mex­ico, both of which voted for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and are lean­ing to­ward Clin­ton. On Mon­day it was Michi­gan, then Tues­day it was Penn­syl­va­nia, also fa­vor­ing Clin­ton. Both states have voted Demo­cratic in pres­i­den­tial elec­tions since 1992. Also on Tues­day, Trump vis­ited Wis­con­sin, whose Demo­cratic streak goes back fur­ther, to 1988. But Trump’s team is show­ing some swag­ger in blue states.

“I feel like it’s go­ing to hap­pen,” Carol Robert­son, a 57-year-old on dis­abil­ity as­sis­tance, told AFP at Trump’s rally in Eau Claire. Polls have shown Clin­ton re­li­ably ahead in Wis­con­sin for sev­eral months, and she is lead­ing by 5.7 per­cent­age points now, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est RealClearPol­i­tics ag­gre­gate. Robert­son dis­missed polls as un­re­li­able, and said a silent ma­jor­ity will rise up in Wis­con­sin and else­where. “Peo­ple are afraid to say ‘I sup­port Trump,’” but they’ll vote for him in the pri­vacy of the polling booth, she said.

In his quest to reach the 270 elec­toral votes needed to pre­vail on Novem­ber 8, Trump is aim­ing to snatch Rust Belt states like Ohio, a bona fide swing state which voted twice for Obama but where work­ing­class vot­ers feel dis­en­fran­chised with the col­lapse of the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor. If Trump holds all the states Repub­li­can Mitt Rom­ney won in 2012, and wins Ohio and Florida, he is still short. He needs to break into Demo­cratic states.

“If you look at the elec­toral map, there’s lit­tle ques­tion that Trump has to find some of these blue states to flip over,” said Ge­of­frey Peter­son, chair of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin-Eau Claire. Wis­con­sin could be “a log­i­cal tar­get” be­cause of its large man­u­fac­tur­ing base, which has shrunk in re­cent decades.

Its pop­u­la­tion is also con­sid­er­ably whiter than the na­tional av­er­age, which means a broader po­ten­tial base for Trump who draws heav­ily from white work­ing class males. But Peter­son said it won’t be about Trump win­ning over new vot­ers at this point: “It’s a get-out-the-vote race.” Trump’s deputy cam­paign di­rec­tor David Bossie stressed that the team is knock­ing on mil­lions of doors in Wis­con­sin, Ohio and else­where. “It’s go­ing to be a very, very close race, and they need ev­ery­body out to be... am­bas­sadors for Don­ald Trump,” Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can Party chair­man Brad Court­ney said. —AFP


MIAMI: Bob Kunst of Shalom In­ter­na­tional, poses out­side the venue wear­ing a Hil­lary Clin­ton mask prior to a rally for Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump.

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