Trump’s route

Pres­i­dent prefers small cities, towns for his ral­lies

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Josh Boak Associated Press Wash­ing­ton

In mid-term cam­paigns, pres­i­dent’s path leads through towns that don’t nec­es­sar­ily re­flect Amer­ica.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is in the fi­nal stretch of a 44-city blitz for the midterm elec­tions, but the Amer­ica he’s glimpsed from the air­port ar­rivals and his ar­mored limou­sine is hardly a re­flec­tion of the na­tion as a whole.

The pres­i­dent has mostly trav­eled to coun­ties that are whiter, less ed­u­cated and have lower in­comes than the rest of the United States, ac­cord­ing to Cen­sus Bureau data. It’s a sign that he is seek­ing to gal­va­nize the same group of vot­ers that helped carry him to vic­tory in 2016.

Trump has largely es­chewed the big me­trop­o­lises for smaller cities. He has been to Tampa, Nashville, Cleve­land and Hous­ton — where the are­nas could ac­com­mo­date his crowds. But he’s pri­mar­ily been jet­set­ting to smaller places such as Elko, Nev. (pop­u­la­tion 20,078). Or, Mosi­nee, Wis. (pop­u­la­tion 4,023). Or, Bel­grade, Mont., (pop­u­la­tion 7,874), named after Ser­bia’s cap­i­tal. In 2009, Barack Obama held a town hall in Bel­grade to pro­mote the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Since March, Trump has criss­crossed the coun­try like a sales­man with a set ter­ri­tory. The ma­jor­ity of his trips have been to just nine states. They are Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia, Ten­nessee, Florida, Mis­souri, Mon­tana, In­di­ana, West Vir­ginia and Ne­vada.

Trump won eight of those states in 2016, but not Ne­vada. This year, seven fea­ture a ma­jor Se­nate race with a Demo­cratic in­cum­bent. The for­mer casino mag­nate has vis­ited one city twice for the midterms: Las Ve­gas.

Here is a por­trait of the Amer­ica that the pres­i­dent is see­ing:

Lower in­comes

Trump jour­neyed to coun­ties where it’s slightly more of a strug­gle to reach and stay in the mid­dle class.

Out of his sched­uled ral­lies, 74 per­cent are in coun­ties with me­dian in­comes that fall below the na­tional level and mostly lag the me­dian U.S. house­hold in­come of $55,032.

In Septem­ber, Trump went to Wheel­ing, W.V. The typ­i­cal house­hold in­come in the county sur­round­ing Wheel­ing is $41,986, or about $13,000 below the na­tional level. The metro area has lost

818 jobs in the 12 months that ended in Au­gust, ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics. And for West Vir­ginia, coal mine jobs have de­clined this year after a hir­ing bump in 2017.

“Your state is boom­ing like never be­fore,” Trump told the crowd in Wheel­ing. “And our great coal min­ers are back to work.”

Trump has vis­ited a few af­flu­ent coun­ties. He stopped by Rochester, Minn., where in­comes are high be­cause of the pres­ence of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic. And dur­ing a spe­cial con­gres­sional elec­tion in Au­gust, the pres­i­dent cam­paigned in Delaware County, Ohio, where the me­dian house­hold in­come of $94,234 is just shy of be­ing dou­ble the na­tional av­er­age.

Fewer col­lege de­grees

Just 18.1 per­cent of the adults in Elko County, Ne­vada, hold a col­lege de­gree. That’s com­pared to 30.3 per­cent na­tion­wide. Of the 43 places Trump is vis­it­ing, 28 have a be­lowa­v­er­age share of col­lege grad­u­ates.

Elko’s econ­omy is unique be­cause it re­lies on mining gold, in­stead of the of­fice and health care jobs that of­ten re­quire a col­lege diploma. The county has five ac­tive gold mines, ac­cord­ing to the Ne­vada Com­mis­sion on Min­eral Re­sources. This makes it some­thing of an out­lier in coun­try where mining metal ore ac­counts for 0.03 per­cent of all jobs.

Trump went to Elko in part to help push for the re-elec­tion of Repub­li­can Sen. Dean Heller, who is in a tight race against Demo­cratic Rep. Jacky Rosen.

Race

Other than his ral­lies at big cities, Trump has gen­er­ally been in com­mu­ni­ties that are over­whelm­ingly white. The U.S. pop­u­la­tion is 73.3 per­cent white, but al­most three­fourths of the places where the pres­i­dent has stumped for midterms are above that av­er­age.

In the county sur­round­ing Coun­cil Bluffs, Iowa, 88.7 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion is non-his­panic whites.

Trump told the crowd at his rally that Democrats would al­low Cen­tral Amer­i­can gangs such as MS-13 to im­mi­grate freely into the United States, a claim dis­puted by Demo­cratic law­mak­ers.

“They want to turn Amer­ica, these Democrats — and that’s what they want — into a gi­ant sanc­tu­ary for crim­i­nal aliens and the MS-13 killers,” Trump said.

The big­gest out­lier in Trump’s sched­ule may be his rally Sun­day in Ma­con, Ga.

Its county is 53.9 per­cent black, mak­ing it the lone place be­ing vis­ited by the pres­i­dent where mi­nori­ties make up the ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion.

Trump is go­ing there to pro­mote the gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dacy of Repub­li­can Brian Kemp.

He is run­ning against Demo­crat Stacey Abrams, who is try­ing to be­come the first black fe­male gover­nor in U.S. his­tory.

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

A cam­paign rally is seen last month from the mo­tor­cade, with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump aboard, at Min­ute­man Avi­a­tion Hangar in Mis­soula, Mont. Trump is end­ing a 44-city blitz for elec­tions, but the Amer­ica seen from his ar­mored limos is not an ac­cu­rate view.

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