North Carolina Battleground: New Voters Provide a Critical Test for Trump

“If he just can’t talk. The stuff he says is just embarrassing,” Oswald shook his head as he stood outside the salon where she works as a hairstylist. “But I think they have done some great things for our economy.”

“I did not believe that enough information was being given in the past,” Oswald said. “But because of all this, I had to stay home, we are all watching the news, we are all watching TV, I feel like I can inform myself to make the right choice in my mind this year. “

Oswald is one of more than 1.3 million new voters who have registered in North Carolina since 2016, when Trump won the state by nearly 173,000 votes. Her upbringing in a conservative Republican family, she said, allows her to keep an open mind toward Trump, even as she tries to learn more about the Democratic ticket.

So far, she said, she has not sold on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Oswald acknowledged his unfamiliarity with Biden’s long record, saying, “He’s been in the post for so long and he hasn’t really done much.” “He was the vice president and what did he do? I don’t know. It’s tough.”

Voting is already underway in North Carolina, with more than 700,000 absentee ballots sent to voters in the past week who requested them. And in person, early voting starts on 17 days, 15 October.

Both options have intensified the already frenzied final stretch of the campaign. One of the nation’s most competitive Senate races, which can help determine whether Democrats win control of the US Senate, is also on the ballot, with a major governor’s contest.

Amidst all this is the hangover virus epidemic, which is affecting how – and for whom – people are voting. Or if they decide to vote.

“The epidemic has nothing to do with politics,” said David Plyler, president of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, but it explains everything, who criticized some fellow Republicans this week before suggesting to Trump that Must follow state law. And wear a mask when he arrives here for the rally.

It was the third presidential visit to North Carolina in the past three weeks. His trip was followed by separate trips to his three children – Don, Jr., Eric and Ivanka – all of which passed through the state when the campaign or official government shut down.

The collective Trump itinerary, along with recent visits by Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet members, underscores the critical importance of the state’s 15 electoral votes to win the president’s second term.

Without North Carolina, Republicans acknowledge, Trump faces a difficult path to 270 electoral votes. Barack Obama led the state narrowly in 2008, but it has long been reliably Republican.

At the end of a challenging week for the president, where his own blunt words to famous journalist Bob Woodward about the deadly severity of coronovirus became a new flashpoint, his supporters are unbreakable.

“I think people can see beyond that noise,” said Mecklenburg County Republican Party Vice President Sarah Ready-Jones. “Frankly, his record of achievement will stand.”

She and other friends who belong to the Uptown Charlotte Republican Women’s Group discussed presidential races and local politics at a beer garden this week. Many women said the revelations the president made to Woodward did not change his perspective about Trump.

Reidy-Jones has praised Trump for more than four years now – in part, he said he made during his first term due to judicial appointments.

History shows why the next few weeks are important for Trump 2020

“Four years ago, President Trump was not my first, second, third, or fourth choice,” she said, noting that she was unsure whether she would be a true conservative or live up to what she believed her Is near “Put aside the personality and see who has been a strong leader for us.”

The record does not sit well with Blake Stewart, who co-owns the city’s bar, who believes the president’s leadership over the coronovirus has been horrifying.

Stewart said, “They had the opportunity to grab this bull by the horns, but instead they let it run on all of us.” “He initially discharged his responsibility. If he had said, ‘Let’s take a strong lockdown approach and everything should be closed for two and a half months,’ we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

His business is still closed. For this, he said, he blames Trump, not the government, a Democrat government.

However, interactions with more than two dozen voters this week have revealed who is responsible for the economic decline from the epidemic. Cooper, who has adopted a far more aggressive posture than most Southern Republican governors, has also drawn criticism, especially from Republicans, but also from some independent voters.

The interview suggested that coronovirus politics may be contradictory in November in a state of uncertainty.

Not for Bakar Kanu, a college professor who received his absentee ballot in the mail this week.

He said that the president’s rejection of science and his overall conduct in office made his choice clear. He believes it is time for a change in the White House and he said he will return the ballot to the county election office, so he can be certain it will count properly.

“Everything is on the line this year,” Kanu said. “These have been trying for a long time. In the future, we will be asked what did you do when all this was going on?”

As he looked at the ballot he requested, carefully reading the instructions and noting that a witness and signature were required, he dismissed any talk of potential voter fraud. He said he believes Trump is trying to intimidate voters.

Proponents of the president here are already echoing Trump’s baseless claims, which means reducing the legitimacy of the election. In one interview after another, Republican voters said they were concerned about the potential for voter fraud and said they intended to cast their ballots in person. Voter fraud is extremely rare in the United States.

“I’m worried about mail-in ballots,” said Don Scarborough, a mortgage banker. “If we can all go to Walmart and Lowe’s, then we too can stand in line to vote.”

As he attended the Trump rally here this week, which saw the president in person for the first time, he said he believed Trump had “done above-average work, given the circumstances and challenges.”

Scarborough, like most of Trump’s supporters when interviewed in North Carolina this week, frequently expressed his tiredness on the president’s Twitter in bitter accents.

“I don’t like it tweeting that much,” he said. “And sometimes he takes it very hard about a situation against those he disagrees with.”

Asked what he thought of the possibility of a Biden presidency, and whether it scared him as much as Trump suggests Scarborough should stop for a moment.

“Just like anything, we’ll have to live through it,” he said. “Whether you agreed with the previous administration or not, we all lived through it. I don’t think it would be the best thing for the country.”

There is little question that Trump’s loyalists have been expelled from here.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have collectively knocked on nearly 1 million doors and made six million phone calls in North Carolina this year, with party officials organizing supporters at the president’s scale-back rallies.

Yet there are signs that he is awake on the other side.

The owner of a downtown business here, who did not want to be identified by name, said he rarely voted in the presidential race, but would vote for Biden in hopes of preventing Trump from winning a second term . He believes the division under Trump, especially during the summer of racial unrest, is dangerous for the country.

“I know many people like me,” he said. “We are the silent majority.”

The Trump presidency inspired Angela Levine to become politically active for the first time. She said she has never done anything more than vote, but has spent the last four years voluntarily with the County Democratic Party, with an eye to defeat Trump.

But she worries whether the Democrats are doing enough.

“There are many Democrats here four years ago who, you think, are sitting in a park that didn’t exist four years ago, a sign of rapidly growing North Carolina,” Levine said. “The biggest thing is just getting to people who might not be considering participating. Those are the ones I worry about the most.”