Can Trump put Minnesota in play?: From the Politics Desk

can trump put minnesota in play?: from the politics desk

Can Trump put Minnesota in play?: From the Politics Desk

Welcome to the online version of From the Politics Desk, an evening newsletter that brings you the NBC News Politics team’s latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, senior national political reporters Natasha Korecki and Jonathan Allen examine whether Minnesota could become a true battleground state this year. Plus, "Meet the Press" moderator Kristen Welker breaks down how how Joe Biden is ramping up his outreach to Black voters.

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Can Trump put Minnesota in play?

By Natasha Korecki and Jonathan Allen

No state screams “blue wall” louder than Minnesota.

It hasn’t gone for a Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972. Democrats say former President Donald Trump doesn’t stand a chance there.

And yet President Joe Biden’s campaign is pushing out top-shelf local Democratic surrogates — Gov. Tim Walz and Sen. Tina Smith — to counter Trump’s appearance at the Lincoln Reagan Dinner hosted by the Minnesota Republican Party on Friday night. First lady Jill Biden also campaigned in the state last month.

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All of the attention suggests that both campaigns see Minnesota as an emerging battleground in a race that is likely to be decided in a relative handful of states. Democrats readily concede that a Trump victory there would spell disaster for them across the country. But those in the party who know the state best insist talk of Trump flipping it in the fall is overblown.

Walz noted in an interview that Biden was closer to winning Texas in 2020 (5.6-point margin) than Trump was to winning Minnesota (7.1-point margin). That was after Trump famously said he was “never coming back” to the state if he lost.

Still, Trump’s loss in Minnesota by less than 2 points in 2016 has made it an alluring target for the GOP. At an event May 4 in Palm Beach, Florida, top Trump advisers told donors that in a six-way trial in Minnesota — including four independent candidates — Trump and Biden were tied at 40%, while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stood at 9%.

On an electoral battlefield in which few states are truly in play, both campaigns are looking for opportunities to win — or at least give strong enough head fakes to make the opposition spend precious money to play defense. Even with that in mind, Trump campaign officials are insistent and consistent in their optimism about Minnesota. Senior adviser Chris LaCivita called the state “a real opportunity” in a recent interview.

But the Biden campaign notes it already has staffing and organization in Minnesota, while Trump has had virtually no presence there this cycle.

“Fundamentally, what we’re doing in Minnesota and Virginia is … not taking any state or any vote for granted,” Dan Kanninen, battleground states director for the Biden campaign, said at a recent briefing for reporters.

Read more →

Biden ramps up his outreach to Black voters as polls show a drop in support

By Kristen Welker

President Joe Biden is turning his focus to defending his record with a fraying bloc of supporters he cannot afford to lose: Black voters.

Yesterday, he met privately with plaintiffs from the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. Today, he spoke at a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Brown ruling at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. He and Vice President Kamala Harris also held a closed-door meeting with the leaders of the Divine Nine, the group of historically Black sororities and fraternities.

Tomorrow, he will hold an event with Black voters in Georgia, ahead of his commencement address on Sunday at the historically Black Morehouse College. Later on Sunday, he will travel to battleground Michigan to visit a Black-owned small business in Detroit and deliver remarks at an NAACP dinner.

The Biden campaign released a memo outlining these efforts to reach out to Black voters and promising that it “will not take a single voter for granted.”

Biden has been losing support among Black Americans. While 87% of Black voters supported him in 2020, according to exit polls, our latest national NBC News poll shows only 71% supporting him now.

Our poll also showed enthusiasm among Black voters is lower than in the electorate at large: 59% of Black voters said they had high interest in the 2024 election, compared to 64% of all voters. That’s also lower than where Black voter enthusiasm has been at this point in the last four general elections.

In my own conversations, Democrats see these numbers as a flashing red light for the Biden campaign. They know the president can’t afford to lose this kind of support among Black voters if he hopes to hang on to the White House.

Based on Biden’s schedule this week, it appears as if they are starting to see that too, with four straight days of events focused on Black voters and Black history.

We’ll talk to Biden campaign surrogate Maryland Gov. Wes Moore about all of this and more on this Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

That’s all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have feedback — likes or dislikes — email us at [email protected]

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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