In an article (“The Trump Effect”) published in August’s Newsmax magazine, Ed Klein, author of the best-selling book The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, reports that an insider who attended a retreat with Mitt Romney’s brain trust in June said the campaign plans to “unleash” Trump in rust belt states to appeal to white working class voters who do not have college degrees. Those states would include Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Trump and Romney are both wealthy, but Trump does better than Romney in appealing to working class voters, and part of that reason is because Trump gives off the impression that he means what he says.
“A lot of people say things in private that they’re afraid to say in public. Not me,” Trump told Klein. “I’m straightforward and fearless. I don’t equivocate. People want to hear the truth, and I’m known for my candor.”
Klein writes that “with less than a hundred days until the general election, new evidence is emerging that Trump could be poised once again to rattle the chinaware” and notes Trump may be deployed as Romney’s “anti-Buffett.”
Of course, Obama has often used Buffett’s secretary in his messaging on taxes, and Klein notes Trump would be an “anti-Buffett” because Trump — like Buffett — is a successful business person but, unlike Buffett, thinks “Obama is a terrible president.”
A Newsmax poll conducted by pollster John Zogby found Trump appealed most to “middle-income Americans” who “are more likely to be swing state independents.”
These voters also love the tea parties, according to the Newsmax poll.
Among voters who support Trump, 65% support the Tea Party and 43% earned less than $35,000.
Zogby said these voters are “what remains of the blue-collar working class in the united states, not entirely, but predominantly.”
“Anything that can move voters one way or another can be significant,” Zobgy said.
Trump is aware of his potential political influence.
He told Klein, “I don’t know if they like me personally, but I have political influence because people respect what I say and how I say it.”
Klein writes Romney’s advisers feel they need to win two-thirds of the working class white vote, and Klein believes Trump, “based on his celebrity, personal magnetism, and the positive aspiration brand he offers, seems to gel with this group of voters.”
Klein notes “Americans are attracted to the Trump effect” and the Romney campaign used Trump to make robocalls in states like Michigan to help turn the tide on Romney’s behalf in the days before the Michigan primary.
The election may come down to how successful Romney galvanizes white working class voters to his side or how successful Obama is in giving them reasons to not vote for Romney and stay at home.
This will be one of the most important keys to the November election, and Trump’s appeal, Klein notes, may energize working class white voters who are fed up with both parties on behalf of Romney if the Romney campaign employs Trump — and his brand — strategically on the stump in key rust belt states.