Culture

Trump leans into fear tactics in bid to win Midwest states


By Brian Slodysko and Jill Colvin | Associated Press

MUSKEGON, Michigan — President Donald Trump leaned into fear tactics Saturday as he accused the left of trying to “erase American history, purge American values and destroy the American way of life” in a late reelection pitch to voters in Michigan.

“The Democrat Party you once knew doesn’t exist,” Trump told voters in Muskegon, Michigan, ahead of a rally in Wisconsin — two states in the Upper Midwest that were instrumental to his 2016 victory but may now be slipping from his grasp.

As he tried to keep more voters from turning against him, Trump sought to paint Democrats as “anti-American radicals” on a “crusade against American history.” He told moderate voters they had a “a moral duty” to join the Republican Party.

He also revisited his monthslong feud with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Whitmer, a Democrat, was the focus of a kidnapping plot by anti-government extremists who were angered by lockdown measures she put in place as a result of the coronavirus. Thirteen men have been charged in connection with the scheme, which included plans to storm the state Capitol and to hold some kind of trial for the governor.

It’s a theme Trump leaned into, while the crowd chanted “Lock her up.”

“You got to get your governor to open your state and get your schools open. The schools have to be open, right?” said Trump, who also took credit for federal law enforcement’s role in foiling the plot.

A Whitmer aide responded to Trump’s attacks in a tweet.

“Every single time the President does this at a rally, the violent rhetoric towards her immediately escalates on social media,” Whitmer’s digital director, Tori Saylor, tweeted. “It has to stop. It just has to.”

Trump’s reelection pitch comes as he faces headwinds not only in national polling, which shows Democrat Joe Biden leading, but also in key battleground surveys. And it comes after the campaign largely retreated from TV advertising in the Midwest, shifting much of its money to Sun Belt states such as Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia, as well as Pennsylvania.

The president continues to be dogged by his handling of the coronavirus, which hospitalized him for several days earlier this month.

Wisconsin broke the record for new positive coronavirus cases on Friday — the third time that’s happened in a week. The state also hit record highs for daily deaths and hospitalizations this past week.

But there was little evidence of concern among the crowd at Trump’s airport rally, where thousands of supporters stood closely together in the cold. The vast majority eschewed masks.

Biden had no public events planned for Saturday. But in a memo to supporters, campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon warned about becoming complacent.

“The reality is that this race is far closer than some of the punditry we’re seeing on Twitter and on TV would suggest,” she wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. “If we learned anything from 2016, it’s that we cannot underestimate Donald Trump or his ability …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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