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Democrats Have an Uphill Climb to Win Back Michigan From Trump

July 29, 2019


David Welch and Tyler Pager 

Democrats say they’ve got lots of answers for Michigan’s woes — automotive and agriculture sectors suffering from the trade war, racial economic inequalities, and a lack of affordable health care. But they face a skeptical audience when they arrive for this week’s debates.

Hillary Clinton in 2016 was the first Democratic presidential candidate to lose the state in 28 years, by a slim 11,000 votes. The party seems to understand it can’t take Michigan for granted this time around.

State and local officials want the candidates to know that they need to not just show up, but to show up with a clear message on key working-class issues like health care, trade and jobs. Even with the U.S. economy growing, plant closings in Michigan and Ohio have many factory workers on edge.

Unemployment is 8.8% in Detroit, double the state’s average, and there’s a strong sense that prosperity is concentrated in seven miles near downtown, among white-collar workers at big employers like GM and Quicken Loans Inc., Grossmann said. Democrats will try to exploit that disparity and get the city’s voters to come out for them.

A recent poll from the Detroit Regional Chamber found that 51% of likely Michigan voters think the national economy is on the right track and 62% believe the state economy is on the right track. But the poll showed a stark racial and gender divide. Some 62% of women and 83% of black voters said they believe the national economy is on the wrong track.

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