A Republican presidential candidate has not won the state of Minnesota since Richard Nixon almost have a century ago. But now President Trump is eyeing it as a possible pickup in his 2020 re-election bid. After all, he only lost the state to Hillary Clinton by 45,000 votes so the opportunity is there. Trump only visited the state once during his campaign and still came close to an incredible upset.
Politico reports that Trump is looking hard at Minnesota for a pickup:
“It’s an ambitious expansion of the electoral map but Trump last summer confided to aides and state GOP officials in an Oval Office meeting that he regretted not campaigning more aggressively in Minnesota, suggesting he would have won had he held a second rally there. In the months since, Republicans have come to see the state Democratic Party’s increasing embrace of liberal candidates and policies as an opening for them to attract voters from rural, outstate districts who may be pro-union, and support abortion or gun rights.
“Whereas a lot of people around the country look at 2016 as, ‘wow, we really accomplished something,’” said Chris Hupke, a 2016 senior adviser to Trump in Minnesota, “(party activists) are viewing it as just the beginning.”
“Electoral shifts within the state — among rural and blue-collar voters — may bode well for the president’s party in the midterms. Minnesota, which will have an open race for governor and two Senate contests, has two of the four congressional districts nationwide that experienced the largest swings from Mitt Romney in 2008 to Trump in 2016.
“Overall, Trump won 78 of the state’s 87 counties. While Clinton hung on statewide, boosted by the population-rich Minneapolis-St. Paul area, she also alienated rural voters, some of whom still chafe at her “basket of deplorables” remark describing half of Trump’s supporters — her vote total was nearly 180,000 votes behind Barack Obama in 2012.”
Minnesota Democrats have been shifting more and more to the left. This has left many independents in the state uncomfortable and ready for a change. But if Trump is close to claiming victory in a seemingly insurmountable state, then Democrats have their work cut out for them.