President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is taking aim at states that he lost in 2016 to keep Democrats on the defensive, per the Associated Press. On Monday, he will be heading to Minnesota, one such state that he lost to Hilary Clinton by less than 45,000 votes in the 2016 presidential election. Others that he plans to target with his campaign are Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire, all of which he lost by less than 100,000 votes.
Bill Stepien, Trump’s senior campaign adviser, said that the Minnesota visit on tax day highlights Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul in the left-leaning state.
“We see trends in the state that we like. We like what we see on the ground. We like the energy we’re seeing.”
Trump’s campaign is in a unique position, as the Democratic Party has many contenders in the race that don’t provide organized opposition, which gives Trump more room to reinforce his position. This situation was highlighted in a recent Democratic National Committee fundraising email.
“Trump and the RNC are hell-bent on expanding on the list of states Trump won in 2016 by targeting states like Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada, and they’re counting on early money to build a formidable ground game to make it happen.”
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) April 13, 2019
As of now, the Democratic Party has mostly focused on investing in the “blue wall” in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, which were consistently Democratic until 2016. Since Democrats again made gains in all these states in 2018, the party hopes to conquer them in 2020.
Trump’s campaign is also setting its sights on Virginia, which is experiencing a political scandal among Democratic leaders. Despite this hiccup, it’s a more daunting task given the high amount of federal workers concentrated in the northern part of the state.
Per Politico, Democrats are skeptical that Trump can win Virginia, which has been growing increasingly liberal in recent years. Not only that, but it has been a decade since Republicans won a statewide contest in the state, and a recent poll suggests that Trump has just a 36 percent approval rating in the region. GOP nominee Ed Gillespie even declined to campaign with Trump in the 2017 gubernatorial race because he feared that the aftermath would benefit Democrats by mobilizing some of the state’s liberal voters.
Regardless, Trump’s campaign believes that the best way forward is to re-run on the 2016 map, although it is considering all of the options in front of them.
“We’re casting a wide net and looking for opportunities to grow the map,” Stepien said.