Will Ilhan Omar Re-Elect President Trump?

President Trump tweeted yesterday that Ilhan Omar will help him to carry Minnesota in 2020:


Other pundits echo that claim, like Stewart Lawrence at The Federalist:

Thanks to the success of Trump’s policies and other fortuitous developments, several other blue-trending states are certain to be in play in 2020.

Of these, none is more important than Minnesota.
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Trump, with his own brand of populism, nearly captured the state in 2016. He carried 78 of the state’s 87 counties, double the number carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. Overall, the margin between Trump and Hillary Clinton was a mere 1.5 percent — just 44,000 votes — the weakest Democratic tilt in decades.

That is true, and it is also true that Trump has been paying attention to Minnesota. Lawrence thinks Omar will help Trump in 2020:

Add to this the growing controversy over newly elected in-state Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is widely viewed as anti-Semitic and extremist, and the Democrats are confronting a major crisis of credibility with Minnesota’s electorate.

There is no sign of any such “crisis of credibility.” And this is delusional:

Trump’s growing popularity with Minnesotans was apparent in 2018 when the two candidates he endorsed and campaigned for easily won their races.

2018 was a disaster for Minnesota Republicans. It is true that the GOP scored pickups in the rural 1st and 8th Congressional Districts. But, consistent with national trends, the suburbs swung massively to the Democrats. A Democrat was easily elected governor (along with a full slate of Democratic constitutional officers, including the radical Keith Ellison), and two strong GOP incumbents in the Twin Cities suburbs went down to defeat, while the Democrats took the Minnesota House away from the prior GOP majority. Most local observers attribute the Republicans’ disastrous performance to revulsion against Donald Trump in the Twin Cities suburbs, especially among women. I think that is probably the correct diagnosis. My own organization’s polling finds that President Trump is not as popular in Minnesota today as he was in 2016.

This does not bode well for Trump in 2020, obviously.

But what about the suggestion that Ilhan Omar’s radicalism and tangled personal history will significantly benefit President Trump, as well as other Republicans? This CBS News poll perhaps sheds some light.

Starting with the most basic data, this poll finds President Trump with 36% favorable and 51% unfavorable ratings, which–to be fair–is quite a bit below most polling these days. So the sample skews left. The same survey finds Ilhan Omar polling slightly worse–19% favorable and 36% unfavorable. Quite a few have never heard of her, while others are neutral.

But if we focus on Trump’s attacks on Omar and the other Squad members, the numbers are rather grim. Seventy percent say they are aware of the tweets and surrounding controversy. Of those, 40% agree with what Trump said and 59% disagree. Further, 55% “dislike” Trump’s tweets.

Other results are even worse. The Democrats’ claim that criticizing “Congresswomen of color” must be racist is winning. Forty-eight percent say Trump’s tweets were racist, while only 34% say they were not racist. Similarly, 33% say the president’s tweets were pro-American, while 45% say Trump’s tweets were un-American. By 42% to 38%, respondents approve of the House of Representatives denouncing Trump’s tweets as racist. There is more at the link, but you get the drift.

Minnesota voters no doubt are considerably more aware of Ilhan Omar than voters nationally. It is likely that more of them understand how radical and how dishonest she is. On the other hand, Minnesota voters are well to the left of the nation generally, and a lot of them voted for Omar, who won election overwhelmingly. And, as we saw last year, there is a great deal of hostility toward President Trump, not only in the inner cities but increasingly in the suburbs.

So I see no reason to think that Ilhan Omar’s problems will lead to President Trump carrying Minnesota in 2020. On the contrary, it seems that the Democrats’ attacks on the president as a “racist” have gotten a great deal of traction, despite their being entirely unfounded.

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