Trump tries to win Virginia via Blue Collar Support in the Fighting Ninth

The Donald Trump for President campaign announced their campaign leadership team in Virginia’s 9th Congressional District Wednesday. Former 9th District Chairman Jack Morgan will serve as 9th District Trump Chairman, along with former Buchanan County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tamara Neo as Co-Chair

 ” Jack Morgan, the former Chairman of the Ninth Congressional District Republican Party will serve as Chairman of the Ninth District Team. Former Buchanan County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tamara Neo will serve as Mr. Morgan’s Co-Chair.

Virginians in Southwest Virginia have born the brunt of the failed and misguided government policies for years. Overreaching regulations and the Obama Administration’s outright war on coal has uprooted and destroyed families and entire communities that have lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for generations.

Horrible trade deals such as NAFTA, which Mr. Trump has consistently opposed, have shipped manufacturing jobs overseas, and crippled the area economically. America, now more than ever, needs a true leader with proven ideas and real world experience to fix Washington. Mr. Trump is the only one who can Make America Great Again.”

In addition to Mr. Morgan and Mrs. Neo, there were additional local elected officials who endorsed Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump recently submitted 16,000+ signatures to receive a spot on the primary ballot. Bearing Drift has also confirmed that Mr. Trump has hired a staffer in Southwest Virginia.

It is not surprising at all that Mr. Trump has made his bet on Southwest Virginia. Multiple studies and polls have shown Mr. Trump’s strength comes from “Blue Collar” households. This week, William Galston wrote an article at the Wall Street Journal showing recent polling that shows strong support among blue collar white voters.

“By contrast, Mr. Trump is the staunchest champion of the white working class that American politics has seen in decades.

Among Mr. Trump’s white working-class supporters, the demographic group most likely to back him is composed of men ages 50-64, with no more than a high-school education. Compared with other groups in the PRRI-Brookings survey, these men are the least likely to believe that immigrants strengthen the U.S. and the most likely to believe that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens. More than other voters, they are disturbed by the rising prevalence of non-English speakers in the U.S. And many blame Chinese imports and corporate outsourcing for U.S. job losses.

A comparison of Mr. Trump’s core supporters with white college-educated Republicans and Republican-leaning independents highlights the distinctive sentiments of white working-class Americans. Only 30% believe that immigrants strengthen the country, compared with 51% of whites with college degrees.

Since the late 1960s, white working-class voters have deserted the Democratic Party in droves and now form a key component of the Republican base. For most of this period, the Republican establishment has held these voters with social conservatism and a tough-sounding foreign policy.”

Look no further than Virginia’s “Fighting 9th” to further illustrate that Mr. Galston’s article is making. The population of Southwest Virginia represents a more blue collar population than any other portion of the Virginia. The populist rhetoric of Mr. Trump plays to the voters of Southwest Virginia better than any other part of the Commonwealth.

In the early 20th century, Republicans faired well in Southwest Virginia. However, with the rise of FDR and the Byrd Democratic machine, Democrats held their power in Southwest Virginia for years. The district changed Congressman multiple times until the 1980’s when Congressman Rick Boucher was elected. Fast forward to 2010, the 28 year incumbent Boucher loses his election to then House of Delegates Majority Leader Morgan Griffith. The election of Mr. Griffith after 28 years is a culmination of EPA regulations destroying the economy while trade deals caused manufacturing jobs to leave the area.

The demographics of the 9th district also play well for Mr. Trump. The demographics show blue collar, unlikely to be college educated, and more impoverished voters. The rhetoric about job losses in manufacturing is music to the ears of these voters. These voters are angry and upset that Richmond and Washington Republicans expect Southwest Virginia to vote for them, but never expect the Republicans to listen. One could argue that these voters are looking for a short term answer to a long term problem. Job losses in coal and manfacturing would take multiple economists hours upon hours of deliberation of how to fix the problem. 9th District voters are angry, unemployed, and more importantly feel ignored. They don’t have time for economist deliberations.

This is a smart play for Mr. Trump’s campaign . They feel ignored by elected leaders in Washington and Richmond. Year after year, candidates never bother to send collateral or make campaign visits to the area. They just send a mail piece out 2 weeks before the election and expect the 9th District to turn out in droves. The Ninth District turnout gets lower every year, yet no one at RPV or the RNC can figure out why. The reason why is because no campaign ever bothers to put in the time and effort to win Southwest.

It is time for the other campaigns to follow suit. If the election of Glen Sturtevant in Virginia’s 10th District and Ben Chafin in the 38th district special election last year shows anything, it shows that if a campaign works a rural area, they can win a rural area. Sturetvant worked Powhatan County like it was his job and it paid off. Same goes for Senator Chafin. Campaigns should never ignore rural voters, because they are more likely to have success there.

It is imperative for other presidential campaigns to follow suit. If the campaigns of Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, or Marco Rubio want to win big in Virginia; they need to be traveling down I81 as fast as possible.