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Can Trump put Minnesota on the line? : From the political office

Can Trump put Minnesota on the line?  : From the political office


Welcome to the online version of From the Politics Desk, an evening newsletter bringing you the latest reporting and analysis from NBC News Politics teams from the campaign trail, the White House and on Capitol Hill.

In today's edition, leading national politics reporters Natasha Korecki and Jonathan Allen examine whether Minnesota could become a true battleground state this year. Plus, “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker discusses how Joe Biden is ramping up his outreach to Black voters.

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Can Trump put Minnesota on the line? By Natasha Korecki and Jonathan Allen

No state screams blue wall louder than Minnesota.

There hasn't been a Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972. Democrats say former President Donald Trump doesn't stand a chance in this case.

And yet, President Joe Biden's campaign is pushing top local Democratic surrogates, Gov. Tim Walz and Sen. Tina Smith, to counter Trump's appearance at the Lincoln Reagan dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Minnesota on Friday night. First lady Jill Biden also campaigned in the state last month.

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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 turning things around in the fall is overblown.

Walz noted in an interview that Biden was closer to winning Texas in 2020 (5.6 point margin) than Trump was to winning Minnesota (7.1 point margin). This was after Trump said he would never return to the state if he lost.

Still, Trump's defeat in Minnesota by less than 2 points in 2016 made him an enticing target for the GOP. 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. while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was at 9 percent.

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.

But the Biden campaign notes that it already has staff and organization in Minnesota, while Trump has virtually no presence there this cycle.

Fundamentally, what we're doing in Minnesota and Virginia doesn't take any state or vote for granted, Dan Kanninen, battleground states director for the Biden campaign, said during a recent briefing for reporters.

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Biden steps up outreach to Black voters as polls show declining supportBy Kristen Welker

President Joe Biden is focused on defending his record with a fraying bloc of supporters he can't afford to lose: Black voters.

Yesterday, he met privately with the plaintiffs in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education. Today he spoke at a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Brown decision at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. He and Vice President Kamala Harris also held a closed-door meeting with leaders of the Divine Nine, the group of historically black sororities and fraternities.

Tomorrow, he will host an event with Georgia's black voters, ahead of his commencement speech Sunday at historically Black Morehouse College. Later Sunday, he will travel to battleground Michigan to visit a black-owned small business in Detroit and deliver a speech at an NAACP dinner.

The Biden campaign released a memo outlining these efforts to reach Black voters and promising that it would not take any voter for granted.

Biden loses support from Black Americans. While 87% of Black voters supported him in 2020, according to exit polls, our latest national NBC News poll shows only 71% now support him.

Our poll also showed that enthusiasm among Black voters is lower than that of the electorate as a whole: 59% of Black voters said they were very interested in the 2024 election, compared to 64% of the set of voters. It's also lower than the enthusiasm of black voters at this point in the last four general elections.

In my own conversations, Democrats see these numbers as a flashing red light for the Biden campaign. They know the president can't afford to lose that kind of support among black voters if he hopes to keep the White House.

Based on Biden's schedule this week, it appears they're starting to see that, too, with four straight days of events focused on Black voters and Black history.

Well, talk to the Biden campaign's governor, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, about all that and more at this press meet-and-greet on Sunday.

Today's top story Flag drama: Sen. Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito should recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election after that a new report said an upside-down American flag was flying outside his home in the days following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. Read more We haven't heard anything: Both parties are looking to make gains among black men ahead of the election, but some say there hasn't been much outreach and they might not even vote . Read more Abortion on the ballot: Amendments enshrining abortion rights in the state constitutions of Colorado and South Dakota have officially qualified to appear on the November ballot. Read more Questionable: Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., co-founder and co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, sat down with Politico to discuss Biden and Trump's rejection of his group's plans and why he think the commission is not dead yet. Read more A fall harvest: Republicans have sharply criticized so-called ballot harvesting, but they plan to launch their own operation in swing states this year. Learn more Fili-busted? If Democrats maintain their slim majority in the Senate, they could gain enough votes to end the filibuster on major bills. Read more House heat-up: A House Oversight Committee meeting Thursday night devolved into personal attacks, with insults about fake eyelashes and a poorly built, bleached blonde butch body. Learn more

That's all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have comments you like or dislike, email us at [email protected]

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