Saturday, November 05, 2016

Trump, NRA focus (gamble?) on rural areas

Trump rally in Selma, N.C. (Photo by
Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA via Washington Post)
Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association are following a rural road to what they hope will be victory in Tuesday's election for president, James Hohmann reports for The Washington Post.

"Trump’s advisers believe he can win over rural whites by a much bigger margin than [Mitt] Romney and come away with significantly more votes, which they gamble will offset his weakness among suburban Republicans" in North Carolina , Wisconsin and other states, Hohmann reports. "They believe off-the-charts turnout in the country will tip the balance in a battleground state that remains a true toss-up."

However, "Many savvy Republican operatives are puzzled by these scheduling decisions," Hohmann writes. "They just don’t think there are that many additional votes to net, and they believe Trump should be focusing more on shoring up recalcitrant Republicans who might be amenable to coming home in the wake of the FBI announcement about new emails in the Hillary Clinton investigation."

But Hohmann reports that he interviewed 15 people at a rally in Selma, N.C., and "Trump supporters who live in the rural areas that Trump has lavished with attention predict it will pay huge dividends and fuel what they expect to be a landslide victory next Tuesday. . . . For Trump, vanity might also be a factor. The reality TV star draws energy from large, raucous audiences. His advance guys have an easier time building crowds in places like Selma."

The NRA, "the conservative outside group that has been most helpful to Trump, has trained its advertising fire on these same rural voters in target states, including North Carolina," Hohmann reported last month. "Half of the $5 million buy will go toward broadcast networks in rural Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia – a few of which Trump needs to find a way to win. The other half will run on national cable, including Dish and Direct TV, which disproportionately serves rural communities. . . . The NRA’s buy is meaningful because it comes as Clinton and her allies continue to massively outspend Team Trump on the air."

UPDATE, Nov. 6: "Trump’s strength among the white working class gives him a real chance at victory," Nate Cohn of The New York Times writes in Upshot. "He could win enough Electoral College votes without winning the popular vote, through narrow victories in Midwestern and Northeastern battlegrounds like Wisconsin and New Hampshire, where Democrats depend on support among white working-class voters.

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