“Is there any place where we can have more fun than at a Trump rally?” Well, the president and the sold-out stadium full of supporters certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves as Trump spoke, off-script and enthusiastically, at his first rally since House Democrats began their impeachment inquiry — which he called a political hit job.
For more than an hour and a half, the president regaled the almost 20,000 MAGA fans inside the Target Center and the crowd watching live from outside with boasts of how the impeachment scandal will only drive up his votes come November 2020 and jabs at Joe and Hunter Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and, of course, everyone’s favorite congressional immigrant, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). This was the president’s fourth trip to Minnesota in the last 16 months, which raises the question of why Trump and his campaign are spending so much time and money courting the good folks in the land of 10,000 lakes.
“Minnesota, I know you’re going to say yes to four more years of President Donald Trump in 2020,” Vice President Mike Pence said before Trump took the stage. Well, that hope is the reason for the focus on this state. Lost amidst the headlines of Trump winning the 2016 election by crashing through the legendary blue wall and running the table – almost – in the heartland, was his near-miss in Minnesota. He lost there by just 1.5%, an outcome which just days before would have been considered remarkably positive for Trump in a state that had voted Democrat in every presidential election since 1972.
But lest we forget amidst the left’s preposterous claims that Trump somehow “stole” the election, or that he really lost because Hillary Clinton amassed more popular votes – an argument akin to claiming the baseball team with the most hits should win the game, runs and rules be damned – Trump scored a decisive triumph in the only vote that matters, the electoral college, by a 14% margin, with 36 more electoral votes than needed for victory.
So all Trump needs to do this time is hold the states he won last time, right? And he could even afford to lose a couple of them and still win a second term, right? Both true, but in the unrelentingly toxic political climate of these times, and despite the utter futility to date of Democrats’ recirculating claims of impeachment-worthy behavior, Trump can hardly rest on whatever laurels he may have accumulated. And as he proved with his quixotic bid to become the most powerful man in the world, he is hardly one to resist reaching beyond what appears to be his grasp.
Every president, every candidate, needs a firewall. Minnesota is exactly that for Trump – a state that, despite its progressive history, has been slowly trending Republican in recent years. But lest you think it’s just some shrewd political strategy to, for example, force the Democrats to spend time defending their home turf that might be better spent elsewhere, this is also personal.
As is his wont, Trump is not satisfied with most of the loaf. He wants to win every state behind that blue wall he broke through three years ago. Only the remnant, Minnesota, remains to be conquered (unless you count Illinois, a perpetual Democrat stronghold because of Chicago). And conquer, at least in his mind, Trump will.
But the president may well have another fight in mind that would make his focus on Minnesota a two-fer. It is also the home of the infamous Rep. Ilhan Omar, who became the first Somali-American member of Congress and then a member of the AOC-led squad that’s driving the Democrats, most especially their field of presidential hopefuls, ever leftward at warp speed.
And we all know Trump is spoiling for a fight with the squad. He is just chomping at the bit to put socialism to the test, and to the voters. He can hardly wait.
Not only is Omar openly anti-Semitic, she is the one who delivered one of the most revealing lines of recent times when she said of Israel’s support in Congress: “It’s all about the Benjamins.” She is also an outspoken supporter of the Democrats’ full socialist agenda: Green New Deal, Medicare for All, abolishing ICE, tuition-free college, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and all the rest.
As with most states, the rural areas of Minnesota – most of the western, southern and northern sections of the state – are strongly Republican, and even more so pro-Trump, while the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are heavily Democratic and the suburbs are mixed. But there is now growing concern about how Omar’s public image and waves of disproportionately criminal Somali immigrants have changed the character of the state. The thinking goes that this could produce a hidden vote for Trump similar to 2016, when his popular vote was ten points higher than his approval number.
Whether there is a method to the madness remains the everlasting question with this president. Are Trump’s in-your-face decisions to double down on his call for foreign investigations of Joe Biden, pull troops out of Syria amid shrieks of horror from the foreign policy establishment, and yes, invest a lot of resources targeting the longtime Democrat stronghold of Minnesota, bold and audacious, or reckless and irresponsible?
As with all things in this constitutional republic, the ones who will ultimately answer that question are not the pandering politicians, or shamelessly biased media, or encrusted deep state swamp dwellers or ivory tower academics. As we heard in the distant but thundering cry of 2016, it’s the voters, stupid.