Politics

The Trumps Descend On Michigan, Which Is Now a Battleground State

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Family: Lev Radin/shutterstock.com

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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Republican nominee Donald Trump visited Michigan for two rallies Monday, and his children, as well as vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, are following him to the Great Lakes state.

Donald Trump, Jr. visited the state Wednesday afternoon, with campaign stops on the campuses of Michigan State University in East Lansing and at Grand Valley State University outside of Grand Rapids.

Visiting the state’s GOP headquarters and the college campuses, Trump described his father as “someone outside of the system with the guts to take it on,” and promised that his father would take on politicians “on both sides who’ve failed us.”

 

Ivanka Trump is visiting Troy, Mich. Wednesday evening, a thriving suburb of Detroit, with a substantial automotive and financial industry presence. The daughter of the GOP nominee was slated to speak to the “Michigan Women in Business Roundtable” and then hosted a Q&A session with the public.

 

The campaign announced late Wednesday afternoon that vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will appear at a rally in Portage, Mich. on the state’s west side, an area where Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich performed well in the GOP primary. Sen. Cruz will appear with Pence for the Thursday rally in Michigan, another example of the Republican Party “coming home” in the final days before Election Day.

The campaign’s eleventh-hour push into the mitten state indicates that the campaign believes Trump’s message on the economy, jobs, and trade is resonating with Michigan voters who have experienced economic hardship more than almost any other state in the country.

Numerous polls released Wednesday indicate that Trump is within striking distance of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton; a new Fox2/Mitchell Poll shows Clinton with just a three-point lead heading into the last week of the election. Clinton received 47 percent support, while Trump received 44 percent. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein received 4 and 3 percent respectively, while 3 percent of likely voters reported that they were undecided.

The Fox2/Mitchell poll surveyed 887 likely voters Nov. 1 with a 3.29 percent margin of error. Forty-three percent of the respondents identified as Democrats, while 39 percent identified Republican.

A Strategic National poll reveals different results, with Clinton at 45 percent and Trump at 44 percent. Johnson and Stein received 5 and 2 percent respectively, while 2 percent of the respondents said that they were supporting someone else, and another 2 percent were still undecided.

The Strategic National poll surveyed 500 likely voters between Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 with a 4.4 percent margin of error. Forty-one percent of the respondents identified as Democrats, while 36 percent were Republican.

Trump’s criticism of trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may resonate in a state like Michigan, with a large population of working class voters and union members. Clinton was defeated by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party primary, and notably praised President Obama’s TPP as “the gold standard” of trade agreements.

Clinton recently shifted her position, now saying she opposes the deal after polling revealed how deeply unpopular the deal was with voters. Clinton will try to mobilize her base by visiting the state Friday. Both candidates have made six-figure advertising purchases in the state.

The new numbers virtually show a tied race, which is a drastic change from previous polling. Clinton enjoyed a 13-point advantage over Trump in Michigan just two weeks ago. The FBI’s decision to reopen an investigation into Clinton’s private email use, the ongoing WikiLeaks dumps, and news that Obamacare premiums are expected to increase as much as 20 percent in Michigan may breath new life into Trump’s push.

While Michigan hasn’t voted for a Republican candidate for president since President George H. W. Bush in 1988, the state is home to vast swaths of conservative-leaning precincts and a well-established Republican state party apparatus. Michigan’s governor and both legislative chambers are controlled by Republicans and the state’s congressional delegation is made up of nine Republicans and five Democrats. Democrats have been able to win presidential elections by “running up the score” in its urban areas and population bases.

Concerns that Hillary Clinton’s campaign may not inspire the same turnout as President Obama’s two elections may offer Trump an opportunity to win the Great Lakes state if he energizes the base and galvanizes the moderate Republicans of Oakland County and the religious conservatives on the state’s west side. Appearing in large rallies just eight days before the election, and generating local media coverage statewide may give Trump just enough of a boost in the closing days of the campaign.

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