World

Trump picks cities with strong support for final midterms blitz

U.S. President Donald Trump is in the final stretch of a 44-city blitz of campaigning for the midterm elections, but the America he's glimpsed from the airport arrivals and his armoured limousine is hardly a reflection of the nation as a whole.

U.S. president campaigning in full force before Americans vote in Nov. 6 elections

President Donald Trump was scheduled to hold multiple campaign events before Tuesday's U.S. midterms, including two on Saturday. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Donald Trump is in the final stretch of a 44-city blitz of campaigning for the midterm elections, but the America he's glimpsed from the airport arrivals and his armoured limousine is hardly a reflection of the nation as a whole.

The U.S. president has mostly travelled to counties that are whiter, less educated and have lower incomes than the rest of the United States, according to Census Bureau data. It's a sign that he is seeking to galvanize the same group of voters that helped carry him to victory in 2016.

Trump has largely eschewed the big metropolises for smaller cities. He has been to Tampa, Nashville, Cleveland and Houston — where the arenas could accommodate his crowds. But he's primarily been jet-setting to smaller places such as Elko, Nev., (population 20,078); or, Mosinee, Wisc., (population 4,023); or, Belgrade, Mont. (population 7,874).

When Trump stops at Belgrade on Saturday, historical records suggest he will be the second U.S. president to visit the Montana town named after Serbia's capital city. In 2009, Barack Obama held a town hall in Belgrade to promote the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. President Trump visits Belgrade, Mont., and Pensacola, Fla., on Saturday. On Sunday, he'll be in Macon, Ga., and Chattanooga, Tenn. On Monday, he'll stop in Cleveland, Ohio, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Cape Giradeau, Mo. (CBC)

Since March, Trump has criss-crossed the country like a salesman with a set territory. The majority of his trips have been to just nine states. They are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Indiana, West Virginia and Nevada.

Trump won eight of those states in 2016, but not Nevada. And this year, seven of them feature a major Senate race with a Democratic incumbent. The former casino magnate has visited one city twice for the midterms: Las Vegas.

Is Ohio still a bellwether state?

In Ohio, Democrats are hoping one of their most successful politicians ever can help halt statewide Republican domination.

Incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown's will seek a third term, running against  Republican representative Jim Renacci in the Senate race.

Trump's impressive 2016 presidential-race victory in Ohio has raised questions about the future of its traditional role as a bellwether state, defined as one that tends to vote for the winning candidate.

Tight race for Georgia governor

Another closely watched contest leading up to voting day on Tuesday is the tight gubernatorial race in Georgia, which hasn't elected a Democrat as governor since 1998.

Stacey Abrams hopes to become the first female and African American governor, running against Republican Brian Kemp, Georgia's current secretary of state.

Watch as Trump campaigns for Republicans in Montana:

U.S. President Donald Trump campaigns for the Republicans in Montana and encourages supporters to get out and vote in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections. 0:39

Kemp has been pushing for tighter voter identification laws, while Georgia Democrats say that would make voting more difficult for legal citizens.

This past week, a federal district court judge in Georgia ruled against the Republican effort to reject certain absentee ballots.

The governor's race in Georgia has brought out some heavy hitters, with talk show maven Oprah Winfrey and former U.S. president Barack Obama both campaigning for Abrams.

Will 'crazy Democrats' comment pay off?

In Missouri, the incumbent yet vulnerable Democratic senator is delivering a message that mixes a more centrist view with the unexpected.

Claire McCaskill has said she would back Trump if he stopped a migrant caravan at the border.

Watch as former U.S. president Barack Obama campaigns for Democrats:

Former U.S. president Barack Obama speaks to supporters in Atlanta and encourages them to vote ahead of the U.S. midterm elections. 0:53

And speaking on Fox News last Tuesday, she decried "crazy Democrats" who "walk in restaurants and scream in elected officials faces."

Portrait of the U.S. Trump is seeing in final days of campaigning

Lower incomes: Trump has journeyed to counties where it's slightly more of a struggle to reach and stay in the middle class.

Out of his scheduled rallies, 74 per cent are in counties with median incomes that fall below the national level. But he's brought tidings of a 49-year low unemployment rate and accelerated economic growth to places that mostly lag the median U.S. household income of $55,032 US.

In September, Trump went to Wheeling, W.Va. The typical household income in the county surrounding Wheeling is $41,986, or about $13,000 below the national level. The metro area has lost 818 jobs in the 12 months that ended in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And for West Virginia, coal mine jobs have declined this year after a hiring bump in 2017.

"Your state is booming like never before," Trump told the crowd in Wheeling. "And our great coal miners are back to work."

Trump has visited a few affluent counties. He stopped by Rochester, Minn., where incomes are high because of the presence of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic. And during a special congressional election in August, the president campaigned in Delaware County, Ohio, where the median household income of $94,234 is just shy of being double the national average.

Fewer college degrees: Just 18.1 per cent of the adults in Elko County, Nev., hold a college degree. That's compared to 30.3 per cent nationwide. Of the 43 places Trump is visiting, 28 have a below-average share of college graduates.

Elko's economy is unique because it relies on mining gold, instead of the office and health care jobs that often require a college diploma. The county has five active gold mines, according to the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources. This makes it something of an outlier in a country where mining metal ore accounts for 0.03 per cent of all jobs.

Watch The National's report on allegations of voter suppression in Georgia:

The state of Georgia is heading into the final days of a nationally watched governor's race that's been marred by allegations of voter suppression. The controversy stems mostly from a rule that assigns a "pending" status to voter registrations that have the slightest discrepancy with a state driver's licence database or a social security database — a rule that has left the status of 53,000 mostly black voters in limbo. 3:23

Trump went to Elko in part to help push for the re-election of Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who is in a tight race against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen. Heller flattered the president — and provided the lone reference to the local economy — by telling him, "I think everything you touch turns to gold."

When Trump has gone to more educated counties, it's often because they have a major college campus and venues where people can gather. Missoula is home to the University of Montana and 41.8 per cent of its adults are college graduates. The University of Missouri is in Columbia, where 46.8 per cent of adults hold college degrees.

Race numbers: Other than his rallies at big cities, Trump has generally been in communities that are overwhelmingly white. The U.S. population is 73.3 per cent white, but almost three-fourths of the places where the president has stumped for midterms are above that average.

In the county surrounding Council Bluffs, Iowa, 88.7 per cent of the population is non-Hispanic whites. Trump told the crowd at his rally that Democrats would allow Central American gangs such as MS-13 to immigrate freely into the United States, a claim disputed by Democratic lawmakers.

"They want to turn America, these Democrats — and that's what they want — into a giant sanctuary for criminal aliens and the MS-13 killers," Trump said.

In the area around Council Bluffs, 6.1 per cent of the population is of Mexican descent. About one per cent are from other Hispanic nations. By comparison, 17.3 per cent of the U.S. population is Hispanic.

The biggest outlier in Trump's schedule may be his rally Sunday in Macon, Ga. Its county is 53.9 per cent black, making it the lone place being visited by the president where minorities make up the majority of the population.

Trump is going there to promote Kemp's gubernatorial candidacy.


How to watch CBC's midterm coverage on Tuesday:

  • Radio special starts at 8 p.m. ET on CBC Radio One hosted by Susan Bonner and Michael Enright.
  • Power & Politics starts special coverage at 5 p.m. ET on CBC News Network. Live stream starting at 6:30 p.m. ET
  • America Votes, a special edition of The National, starts at 8 p.m. ET on CBC News Network, live streamed online.
  • Our live blog begins on CBCNews.ca at 7 p.m. ET
  • Heather Hiscox starts the day at 5 a.m. ET on CBC News Network the morning after the elections with results, analysis and more.

With files from CBC News

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