Trump aims to flip over Democrat strongholds
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.