In a historic first, President Trump and Joe Biden both visited Minnesota today. Biden went to Hermantown, a suburb of Duluth, and spoke at a carpenters’ union training center. This in itself is anachronistic. Biden is trying to rebuild the “labor” component of the Democrat-Farmer-Labor party, but it is much too late for that. Union members in northern Minnesota will vote heavily for Trump.
Biden’s appearance verged on the bizarre. The training center was nearly empty, with no real crowd as such.
Biden arrives at carpenters union training center in Hermantown. pic.twitter.com/GtiF8bvMSW
— Brady Slater (@bradydslater) September 18, 2020
He read his speech, which apparently was a rage-filled diatribe against the president, off a teleprompter.
Biden’s campaign allowed no local press into the event. So the only witnesses were the same national reporters who have been following Biden, all of whom, I believe, are committed Democrats. But even those reporters were not permitted to ask questions. Biden stumbled through his speech and left. From there, he did a brief photo op at a fire station.
Given that no questions were permitted, why were local reporters barred from today’s event? I suppose because they couldn’t be trusted not to comment on the absence of a crowd, Biden’s reliance on a teleprompter, his frail physical presence, and so on.
Just spoke with a rep of union hosting @JoeBiden today. They just received a timeline. Was surprised by the apparent Minnesota media blackout. Asked what the point of coming is if only national coverage.
— Jerry Burnes (@JerryBurnes_MT) September 18, 2020
The broader question is, why did Biden bother to come to Minnesota at all? What he did in Hermantown, he could just as well have done from his own basement. Why his campaign thinks today’s appearance will stimulate enthusiasm for his campaign is anyone’s guess.
Trump, on the other hand, is in Bemidji, in northwestern Minnesota, this evening to hold a rally. His airplane landed a few minutes ago. Unlike Biden, he will address an actual crowd. Thousands have been lined up for hours in hopes of being able to see him.
Trump supporters wait for security screening prior to this evening’s rally in Bemidji – in a congressional district Trump won by 30 percentage points 4 years ago. “Red kingdom. Trump’s going to win. It’s gonna be a Landslide,” Trump supporter Darryl Mudz said. pic.twitter.com/fxLZJGBJtG
— Boyd Huppert (@BoydHuppert) September 18, 2020
A convoy of tractors and trucks made its way to Bemidji today, flying Trump flags. Here are some of them after they arrived:
— Evan Frost (@efrostee) September 18, 2020
Obviously, President Trump’s supporters are infinitely more enthusiastic than Joe Biden’s. The question is whether they are more numerous. Greater Minnesota, including the Northern regions where both candidates appeared today, will go overwhelmingly for Trump. Can the votes of those who work in mines (or want to), who drive tractors, who work in factories, and who are still patriotic outnumber the Ilhan Omar urban voters and the deluded suburban women who support the Black Lives Matter organization?
I don’t know. No Republican has won a statewide race in Minnesota since 2006, and no GOP presidential candidate has won here since Richard Nixon. But both parties’ polling obviously tells them that Minnesota is in play this year.
UPDATE: A local reporter comments rather bitterly:
Trump supporters chanted and jeered a bit as @JoeBiden's motorcade left Jerry Alander Carpenter Training Center in Hermantown, Minnesota. I was outside covering protesters because the Biden campaign would not allow any local Minnesota news photographers inside. pic.twitter.com/tMmp11vBII
— Glen Stubbe (@gspphoto) September 18, 2020