Trump Campaigns Across Midwest States In Final Push

Nov 6, 2016
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And we want to turn now to the Trump campaign. Donald Trump was not backing off of his attacks.

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DONALD TRUMP: You can't review 650,000 new emails in eight days. You can't do it, folks. Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it. The FBI knows it. The people know it. And now it's up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on Nov. 8.

MARTIN: NPR's Sarah McCammon is traveling with the Trump campaign, and we reached her in Minneapolis, Minn., which was one of the more surprising stops Trump is making in this final stretch. We caught her on a ground stop. Hi, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Hi, there.

MARTIN: How does he view his path to victory on Tuesday?

MCCAMMON: If you look at the battleground map, you know, Donald Trump does have a difficult path to victory. Hillary Clinton has an advantage in the Electoral College map. But the polls are tightening. And the campaign sees that and really want to capitalize it - on it.

It looks like they really need to pick up a blue state or two in order to have a path to winning. And again, even though the polls are tight, Hillary Clinton has the edge there. Trump has been talking a lot about what he calls his movement. You know, he says again and again that he's been underestimated by the media, by the political establishment. This is, you know, language that his advisers have encouraged him to use to make it not just about himself, but about the people.

And, you know, that's what we've been hearing this last week. He's trying to rev up his supporters, make sure they get out and vote. And he's telling them that this is their last chance to save the country, he says, and warns of dire consequences if Hillary Clinton is elected.

MARTIN: You know, this is a defining quality of - this very kind of blunt language, where he basically says whatever he wants. What has that meant for his candidacy over all? Has - is this what has carried his candidacy forward, or has it held it back?

MCCAMMON: Well, you know, Michel, to me it seems like it's a little bit of both. You know, if you look at it purely as a political strategy, that tendency of Trump to speak his mind in such an unvarnished way, it's kind of his superpower and kind of his fatal flaw.

The way he talks about different minority groups, immigrants, women, Muslims and others has earned him the disdain of a lot of moderate voters and many people within his own party. But at the same time, you know, his supporters feel like his words have an emotional resonance that kind of goes beyond their literal meaning.

They see it as a defiance of the system and the political establishment that they so dislike and feel so failed by. And Trump's willingness to violate those norms tells them, in their minds, that he'll do something different.

MARTIN: Sarah, before we let you go, you have watched Donald Trump unleash this force in American politics over the past year and a half. You've been there. He's called it a movement. How would you sum all this up?

MCCAMMON: So what I've heard for many months from supporters of Trump around the country is they feel the country is in decline. They feel it's losing power and prestige on the world stage. But a lot of them talk to me about the future, about the next generation or their grandchildren. And they see America changing in a way that feels alien to them and that they're afraid of.

Also, you know, most Trump supporters by and large tend to be white. And I do hear racial and cultural anxiety. Although, most Trump supporters don't see themselves as racist, don't want to be. And they don't think that Trump is either. But they tell me they feel threatened by the way they see the country changing, by, you know, immigration that they see as threatening their job opportunities.

Some tell me they're very worried about terrorism and feel threatened by Muslim immigration in particular. Of course, these same sentiments that Trump has tapped into among many white voters are frightening and off-putting to many minority voters. And that is the very group that the Republican Party has been saying for years it wants to reach.

MARTIN: That's NPR's Sarah McCammon, traveling with the Trump campaign. Sarah McCammon, thank you so much for speaking with us.

MCCAMMON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.