Elections

Trump Heads To Michigan In Appeal To Union Workers

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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Republican nominee Donald Trump will visit Metro Detroit Friday, his fifth visit to the state since the Republican National Convention.

Trump’s visit comes two weeks after a visit to Flint Sept. 14, where he toured the Flint Water Treatment Plant and spoke at a predominantly black church in an effort to broaden his appeal with black voters. “It used to be cars were made in Flint and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico, now the cars are made in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint,” Trump said.

The Daily Caller News Foundation spoke with Trump’s Michigan campaign team, which acknowledged the importance of Michigan in this year’s election, and asserted that Trump’s economic message appeals to voters across the state. “We are receiving a great response from blue-collar workers throughout Michigan,” Scott Hagerstrom, Trump’s Michigan state director, told TheDCNF. “His message resonates very well here, it resonates extremely well with the Reagan Democrats throughout the state.”

Hagerstrom said the Trump campaign has 30 offices opened up across the state and that, in conjunction with the RNC and the state party, there are over 80 staffers in Michigan. According to Hagerstrom, the campaign plans to send additional staff from other states.

“People here in Michigan feel like the system is rigged, and no matter how hard they work and play by the rules, they can’t get ahead,” Hagerstrom said. He called Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a “poster child for the rigged system,” and said that many of the voters he comes across see Clinton as, “representing the political elite in Washington D.C., while Donald Trump is viewed as the champion of working families.”

Public backlash against trade deals like President Barack Obama’s Tran-Pacific Partnership –a deal that Clinton once called “the gold standard in trade agreements”– was so fierce that Clinton changed her tune as the Democratic primary became a bruising battle against Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Michigan is considered the birthplace of “Reagan Democrats” after working-class whites began to abandon the Democratic Party in Michigan starting in the mid 1960s. They rejected the anti-war left and rising liberal wing, and instead supported candidates like former presidents Richard Nixon.

The political winds in Michigan shifted back to the Democrats starting with Bill Clinton in 1992. No Republican has won the Michigan presidential vote since former President George H.W. Bush won the state in 1988, but Republican activist Terry Bowman said that the Reagan Democrats are “coming back.”

Bowman, a 20-year employee of Ford Motors and a 19-year member of the United Autoworkers Union, told TheDCNF that in all his years working for Ford, he has never seen so many union members separate themselves from leadership and openly support Trump. “I have never seen so many colleagues speaking up and out loud about their support for Donald Trump.”

Bowman gave up his union membership just last year, but still works alongside union members and operates under the union negotiated contract. Bowman reiterated that while he has seen a lot of members openly support Trump, there are still many more that support the Republican nominee but won’t say it out loud. “These guys have families and they don’t want to lose their jobs, but they’ll come up and whisper to me, or maybe say something after work. The union intimidates its members, and a lot of my colleagues will remain silent, and simply vote for Trump on Election Day.”

Bowman summed up how he and a lot of his colleagues (which he referred to as “the silent majority”) feel regarding the Democratic nominee: “[Hillary] Clinton is one of those politicians that will say anything, anywhere at any time for one of three things; money, votes or power.”

Trump has at least one vote locked up in Michigan. Wally Maslowski mowed a 58,000 square-foot Trump sign in his property in Lapeer County, Michigan.

Trump will be in Novi, Michgan at 5:00 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Suburban Collection Showcase.

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