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Democrats call Trump's Minnesota play 'fake'

Democrats call Trump's Minnesota play 'fake'


No state screams blue wall louder than Minnesota.

This hasn't been the case for a Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972.

Democrats say former President Donald Trump doesn't stand a chance in this area.

And yet, President Joe Biden's campaign is pushing back on top local Democratic surrogates, Gov. Tim Walz and Sen. Tina Smith, on Friday to counter Trump's visit to the state. This follows first lady Jill Biden's campaign in the state last month.

All the attention suggests that both campaigns see Minnesota as an emerging battleground in a race that is likely to be decided in a relative handful of states. Democrats readily admit that a Trump victory there would be a disaster for the entire country. But those in the party who know the state best insist that talk of Trump stealing from it is overblown.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden.AFP-Getty Images

President Biden will win, Walz said clearly in an interview. It's no surprise that Donald Trump would say something that isn't true.

Walz noted that Biden was closer to winning Texas in 2020 than Trump was to winning Minnesota. This was after Trump said he would “never come back” to the state if he lost. He added that Biden has brought billions of dollars in infrastructure projects to the state.

Trump also lost the state to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But we don't take it for granted. We will have the necessary infrastructure, Walz said. So, is it wrong to say you're going to win Minnesota? Try it, but do our job.

Minnesota lacks the constituencies Trump tends to appeal to, including blue-collar workers and people without college degrees. And this largely favors the right to abortion.

Although it regularly elects Democratic officials statewide, a notable exception was the 1998 gubernatorial victory of Reform Party candidate Jesse The Body Ventura, a former professional wrestler who won after running a campaign on a low budget.

The Biden campaign has projected confidence in Minnesota, where it already has the staff and organization, while Trump has virtually no presence in this campaign.

Fundamentally, what we're doing in Minnesota and Virginia doesn't take any state or vote for granted. We have had a team on the ground in both locations, working hard to engage voters, build trust in the community as we open offices, increase our staff footprint, said Dan Kanninen, State Director of the battleground for the Biden campaign, during a recent briefing for journalists. We feel strongly about the Biden-Harris coalition in Minnesota and Virginia, which was strong in the midterm and off-year elections and will continue to be strong for us in fall 2024.

And yet Trump's team has been optimistic for weeks about his ability to gain traction in the state. At a May 4 event in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump's top advisers told donors that in a six-way race in Minnesota, including four independent candidates, Trump and Biden were tied at 40 percent. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. weighed in at 9%.

Joe Biden is so weak and the Democrats are in such disarray that not only is President Trump winning all the traditional battleground states, but long-time blue states like Minnesota, Virginia and New Jersey are now in game, Karoline Leavitt, Trump's national campaign. press secretary, said in a statement. President Trump is offensive with a winning message and growing his movement every day. Joe Biden's campaign should be terrified.

This week, in court in New York, Trump again discussed his prospects in Minnesota.

“We think we have a really good chance in Minnesota, where we have great friendships there. We've done a lot for the industry,” he said. “We've done a lot for everything in Minnesota. We've worked hard in Minnesota.”

Trump will appear at the Lincoln Reagan Dinner hosted by the state Republican Party Friday evening.

In an electoral battleground in which few states are actually in play, both campaigns are looking for opportunities to win or at least to give red herrings strong enough to entice the opposition to spend valuable money to play in defense. Even with that in mind, Trump campaign officials remain bullish and emphatic about Minnesota.

Senior advisor Chris LaCivita called the state a real opportunity in a recent interview.

Democrats note that some of Trump's same big speeches were true in 2020, just before Biden won the state by about 7 percentage points, with 52.4% of the vote to Trump's 45.3%.

There was a time in 2020 when the numbers were closed in Minnesota. But then it quickly reopened with a healthy Democratic lead. You have a very strong Democratic brand and operation in Minnesota. You have a Democratic governor, who still helps you on a few things, said Celinda Lake, a veteran Democratic pollster. You have a state that is fundamentally at odds with Donald Trump on many of his views and his priorities and, most importantly, his character.

“I mean, if you want the opposite of Minnesota to be nice, then go elect Donald Trump,” she added.

Complicating the equation for Democrats, however, is the fracture in their party that became evident in Minnesota's primaries this year. Then the Democratic candidate's choice won 19 percent of the vote, supported by large Arab and Muslim populations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, known as the Twin Cities. Minnesota recorded a larger protest vote than Michigan, which also has a large Arab and Muslim population. There, 13% voted without commitment during the primary elections. In each case, the election action was a clear message to Biden opposing the war between Israel and Hamas.

There is no doubt that we have work to do over the next six months to unify our party. And we will, said Ken Martin, chairman of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota.

But I have often said that this precise moment does not allow us to predict what will happen on November 5. … This remains a fairly existential choice for voters. And while I've talked to a number of people who voted without commitment in our primaries and who are protesting, they always tell me that even though they are deeply frustrated right now by what's happening in the Middle East , they still intend to vote for Joe Biden and they understand the stakes of this election.

Walz said Trump had his own party to contend with, pointing out that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haleys garnered 20 percent of the vote in Indiana's primary last week, although she dropped out of the race. competition in March.

Lake argued that Democrats who distanced themselves from Biden in the primary would come back to him in the end, saying, “It's far from uncommitted to Donald Trump.”

CORRECTION (May 17, 2024, 12 p.m. ET) A previous version of this article contained a photo caption that misrepresented the nature of campaign activity in Minnesota on Friday. Trump will be in Minnesota and Biden will have surrogates to host the events, but the president himself will not be in the state.




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