Raleigh – Frequent visits from the president aren’t enough to distract North Carolina voters from Trump’s failed coronavirus response, which has upended the lives of families across the Tar Heel state and led to more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases, 3,400 deaths and record unemployment.
According to a new AP report, Trump and his allies hope the fight to confirm a new Supreme Court justice will unify a “fractured Republican party” that is bleeding support from college-educated suburban voters, particularly white women.
But the women who are the targets of Trump’s messages aren’t having it.
AP: Pandemic overwhelms Trump’s message in critical N. Carolina
By Steve Peoples
- But on a recent morning along Arbor Street, a peaceful tree-lined road with stately brick Colonials and Tudors near Winston-Salem, the women who are the targets of Trump’s messages were confronting much more tangible threats.
- As conservative activists canvassed the neighborhood, one young mother, a baby in her arms, shouted through a closed window that she was in quarantine. Across the street, another was focused on teaching her children their daily lessons at the kitchen table.
- And a few doors down, 49-year-old Christina Donnell, an independent who voted for Trump four years ago, said through a black face mask that Trump’s “terrible” handling of the pandemic and divisive leadership more broadly are her chief concerns.
- “It’s embarrassing to the country,” Donnell, a lawyer who previously lived in Washington, said of Trump’s leadership. “He’s an embarrassing role model.”
- Trump’s challenge is acute here in North Carolina, a state that his senior aides describe as a “must-win.” A loss in the state, which Democrats have carried only once at the presidential level in the last 30 years, would make Trump’s path to a second term incredibly difficult and signal dire challenges elsewhere on the electoral map.
- The swing voters in the suburbs swung from Obama in 2008 to Trump in 2016 and are threatening to swing to Biden because of the pandemic.
- “When you think about the issue set they’re focused on, their lives are still centered around COVID,” [Morgan] Jackson said, noting that many have school- or college-aged children whose lives have been transformed by the pandemic several months after it first exploded in the United States.
- Back on Arbor Street, there were more lawn signs expressing support for Black Lives Matter than Trump.
- Donnell explained that she voted for Trump four years earlier because she thought he would be better on the economy and taxes. But two years into his presidency, she was so appalled by his behavior that she left the Republican Party and became an independent.
- The Supreme Court may influence her vote, but not in the way Trump hoped. “I would hate to see the court become ultra-conservative. I’m a lawyer. That’s a big issue for me. … I’m worried that women’s rights might disappear,” Donnell said. “That’s what would sway me toward Biden.”