As Iowa voters prepare to cast their votes this evening, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is making the pitch that he is the only candidate who can win the general election. Recent polling data seems to demonstrate Trump’s broad general election appeal– in particular, his appeal to working-class American voters.
Sean Hannity separately suggested that Trump as the GOP nominee could potentially remake the electoral map for the Republican Party– putting states in play that have proven elusive for the GOP in recent presidential elections. “It actually does make a lot of sense,” Hannity told his viewers on Sunday night, “I could see a state like New York, Pennsylvania, maybe Michigan in play,” with Trump as the GOP nominee.
New polling data shows that Trump has the potential to make inroads with blue-collar Democrats. As the Huffington Post reports in an article entitled, “Donald Trump Is Killing It With White, Working-Class Voters In The Rust Belt”:
Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, just spent five weeks canvassing in the Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas, focusing on likely voters who live outside the city and have household incomes at or below $75,000 (read: white and working class)… Of the entire Democratic and Republican fields, the most popular single candidate was Donald Trump — and it wasn’t even close. Thirty-eight percent of people who had already made up their minds said they wanted to vote for the Republican real estate magnate. The candidate with the next highest share was Democrat Hillary Clinton, with 22 percent. Trump’s haul was more than the rest of the GOP field combined, which was 22 percent… Working America said economic anxiety seemed to play a bigger role: “A far greater number of prospective voters are more deeply concerned about the economy and about their fates, and the future of their families, in a time of rapid change.
According to the report, “1 in 4 Democrats who chose a candidate showed a preference for Trump.”
The report seems to bolster Trump’s Sunday morning assertion to CBS’s John Dickerson that Trump could potentially attract Bernie Sanders supporters in the general election because of his pro-American worker position on trade. Trump said:
I think I will appeal to his [voters]… One thing we sort of agree on is trade. We are getting horribly beaten on trade. The difference is, I will make great trade deals. He is incapable of doing that… You know, he just won’t be able to do that. But he does at least acknowledge that we are getting just absolutely ripped by China and all of these other countries. So, in that way, we are the same. I think a lot of his people are going to come over. One of the reasons that I will win and I think none of the other guys will win is because I’m going to get states that they will never get. I have a good chance of getting New York, as an example. I have a good chance of getting Virginia. I will get Pennsylvania. I will get Ohio. I will get Michigan. I will get Florida.
In a Sunday evening Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson explained that Trump supporters seem to receptive Trump’s “compelling” pitch that he is the only Republican candidate who can grow the Republican tent and win the general election. Carlson said that at a Sunday Trump rally, the GOP frontrunner, “was making the case that only he can win– that all of the other candidates are basically rerunning the Romney campaign. They can’t enlarge the pie, and he can. He was saying this tonight… ‘I am the only one with a shot to win New York because I can bring a ton of Democrats over to my campaign’. And the crowd went crazy on that. I’m not endorsing that theory, but I hadn’t seen him say that before. I think it’s kind of a compelling line of argument.”
In response, Hannity said that the theory that Trump as the nominee could reshape the electoral map for the GOP “makes a lot of sense.”
“You know what, though, it actually does make a lot of sense, doesn’t it?” Hannity replied, “I could see a state like New York, Pennsylvania, maybe Michigan in play. Why not?”
Nationally syndicated talk radio host Laura Ingraham elaborated on how a populist campaign focused on immigration and trade could attract traditionally non-Republican voters and grow the party. Ingraham told Hannity:
It’s an uphill battle for Republicans to be more popular among traditionally non-Republican voters. However… on two issues there are amazing opportunities with Independent voters and Democrat voters: immigration and trade. Doesn’t mean you don’t trade, doesn’t mean you don’t like immigrants. But it means those two policies have to work for the average working person. If we can lift the middle class up and say, ‘Look, we’re going to focus on your renewal… we’re going to give you a fair shake at getting a job in this country.’ If people actually feel like the Republican Party is devoted to those people again– instead of just the people who have done really well– then I think you could make a lot of progress.
Trump’s aggressive opposition to Obama’s globalist trade agenda– pushed by many of the Republican donors– distinguishes him from all other top-polling GOP candidates. Sen. Marco Rubio previously endorsed President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, calling it the “second pillar” of a President Rubio’s foreign-policy strategy. Similarly, Ted Cruz co-authored an op-ed with Paul Ryan in favor of Obama’s trade agenda before he eventually reversed his position citing specific concerns about changes to immigration law and provisions regarding the export-import bank.