Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is openly courting President Donald Trump’s working class, American-worker supporters in the Rust Belt with a campaign swing through Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, capped off with a Fox News town hall.
The openly socialist leftist senator, who in 2020 is seeking the Democrat nomination for president for the second time in his political life after failing to beat former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016’s Democrat primary, is clearly openly courting Trump’s most ardent supporters in a series of states the president won over Clinton.
Sanders will begin his midwest Rust Belt swing with a rally in Madison, Wisconsin, at James Madison Park on Friday at 5 p.m. From there he will travel to Gary, Indiana, on Saturday morning for a community meeting that is closed to the public but open to press, then on Saturday afternoon he travels to Coopersville, Michigan, for a meeting with the local Plumbers and Pipefitters UA Local 174 labor union–then it’s off to Warren, Michigan, for a Saturday evening rally at 5 p.m. again.
On Sunday, Sanders heads to Lordstown, Ohio, the site of a closing General Motors plant, for a “Workers Town Hall Meeting” with American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union president Randi Weingarten. Later that night, Sanders heads to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a rally again at 5 p.m. that is open to the public.
Monday afternoon sees Sanders in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, for another union meeting this time with the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, before he wraps the Rust Belt campaign swing with a bang in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a Fox News town hall–directly targeting Trump’s base.
Sanders hitting Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania all in a 4-day Rust Belt campaign swing is no accident. He is clearly trying to win back some of the working class Democrats who flipped to voting for Trump, making the difference in the 2016 presidential election. The so-called “Trumpocrats” flipped states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan into Trump’s and the GOP’s column for the first time in a generation, and helped the president win in other key battleground states like Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina. Issues they are focused on include the economy, immigration, trade (especially regarding China and Mexico), and healthcare, among other matters.
“The people that are going to decide this election in Minnesota and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan, they know this [that the left’s immigration and trade policies are driving down wages and taking jobs from Americans] and a whole lot of them have Democrat written on their voter card,” Billy Bova, one such Trumpocrat who helped the president win in 2016 by campaigning with other Democrats for Trump in Rust Belt states, said on Breitbart News Daily earlier this week. “They voted for Donald Trump, and if the GOP establishment and Democratic Party stays on this path of open borders and not being serious about border security and controlling our immigration and reforming our immigration policy, they’ll elect Donald Trump again.”
Trump’s 306 electoral votes, which came from wins in 30 and a half states–he took the second congressional district in Maine, a state that splits its awarding of electoral votes–but perhaps the three most important states were Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Between the three of them, Trump’s slim wins over Clinton delivered him enough electoral votes to cross the 270 threshold and claim the White House–if all three went Democrat and the rest of the map was the same, even with everything else Trump won he would not have won the presidency. Sanders, a savvy political operator who’s been in national politics for decades and has served in the U.S. Senate for many, many years, clearly understands this as he travels to these states to try to win these voters back for Democrats should he emerge as the eventual Democrat nominee.
What’s also interesting is that Sanders’ fellow top 2020 Democrat contender former Vice President Joe Biden, who has all but officially declared candidacy for the nomination, also does fairly well with these voters–meaning that these voters, the Trumpocrats, are the ones who will decide the election in 2020 both in the Democrat primary and in the general election and each of the smarter candidates knows that. Ultimately, and perhaps most importantly, that means the party’s leftist base–the cosmopolitan elites in urban areas like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, among other places–will not have as much of a deciding factor as the working class American workers in the heartland of the country.