Why Is Trump Headlining a Campaign Event in the Deep Blue Bronx?

Why Is Trump Headlining a Campaign Event in the Deep Blue Bronx?
Why Is Trump Headlining a Campaign Event in the Deep Blue Bronx?
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Former President Donald Trump.
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  • Trump plans to headline a campaign event in the Bronx on Thursday.
  • Trump has little chance to win the NYC borough but saw a jump in support there from 2016 to 2020.
  • His campaign is working to attract more minority support by leaning into the economy.

Former President Donald Trump is set to make an unusual pit stop for a Republican candidate later this week.

On Thursday, the native New Yorker will headline a campaign event in the Bronx, one of New York City’s five boroughs and one of the bluest jurisdictions in the country.

The Bronx is so thoroughly Democratic that the borough is generally an afterthought for Republican presidential candidates and even most statewide GOP candidates.

So why bother?

While it might not help him win the Bronx, it will serve as an opportunity for the former president to further pursue his national strategy to win over minority voters.

Trump makes inroads with Black and Latino voters

There’s virtually no chance that Trump will actually win the Bronx in November. The borough has backed every Democratic presidential nominee since 1928.

In 2020, Trump managed to improve his standing with Bronx voters, if only slightly, winning nearly 30,000 more votes in the Bronx than he did in 2016. Meanwhile, the Democratic presidential vote share went up by only 2,000 votes.

While Biden ultimately clobbered Trump in the Bronx (355,374 votes to 67,740 votes) in 2020, the boost for the ex-president was similar to gains he made with working-class minority voters — especially Latino voters — across the country that year.

It’s a political shift that in 2020 allowed Trump to easily win Florida, including the pivotal Miami-Dade County, a Latino-heavy jurisdiction that Democrats have to carry by a substantial margin in order to win statewide elections.

While New York City isn’t Florida, Trump’s campaign event in the Bronx is part of a larger strategy to win over minority voters who have drifted away from the Democrats in recent years.

Trump’s pitch to minority voters

Trump’s expected appearance in the South Bronx will attempt to reinforce his polling edge on the economy.

He will likely also, perhaps ironically, make a pitch that he’s the right candidate to reduce crime. Trump’s hush-money trial is unfolding in neighboring Manhattan, but New York City itself has seen a series of high-profile crimes recently.

“President Trump will ease the financial pressures placed on households and re-establish law and order in New York!” the Trump campaign said when it announced the Bronx event.

With millions of Americans concerned about inflation and the cost of living, Trump wants to position himself as the candidate who can better address those issues, especially for minority voters.

The Trump campaign is especially targeting Latino voters, who will be key in battleground states like Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. The former president is also looking to make inroads with Black voters, especially Black men.

It’s a strategy that the Biden campaign is working to counter. The president is also wooing Black and Latino voters across the country, pointing to low unemployment under his tenure, as well as the administration’s work on issues like housing affordability and infrastructure.

So even though Trump won’t win the Bronx anytime soon, his appearance in a place voters wouldn’t normally expect to see him could be an effective showcase for his larger national strategy.

And even though the former president is also unlikely to win New York State this fall, he still hopes that his positions on fiscal matters and immigration can give him an opening.

“We’re going to come into New York, we’re making a big play for New York,” he said during an appearance in Manhattan last month.

 
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