The case for Donald Trump

A Boston Globe news analysis of the presidential election posed the question that’s on the mind of many blue-state activists right now: Are we really that disconnected from the rest of our country?

Political analyst Anthony Cignoli told the Globe that a large group of Democrats “are completely shell-shocked and demoralized” about how close the vote is – with the presidential race still undecided on Friday, in a year many Democrats were convinced would be a blow-out.

“For Democrats who see Trump’s unfitness as blindingly obvious, it is as if a significant portion of the country has been watching a different movie for the last four years,” the Globe reports. 

Joe Biden won with 65 percent of the vote in deep blue Massachusetts. This is a state whose entire congressional delegation is Democratic and where even the Republican governor refused to vote for Trump. But outside our blue bubble, what was the rest of the country thinking? Why is Trump so much more popular in such a large swath of America and why is the race so close?

Let’s look at a few swing states.

To state the obvious, different constituencies have different interests. In Florida, where much was made of Trump’s popularity with Cuban Americans, former Florida Republican congresswoman and Cuban-American Ileana Ros-Lehtinen explains in a Globe op-ed: Cuban-Americans are propelled to vote by concerns about individual liberty, lower taxes, smaller government, and a muscular foreign policy confronting Latin American dictators – values that tend to align with the GOP. Trump took strong stances against dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

More broadly, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest newspaper owned by casino magnate and Trump supporter Sheldon Adelson, was one of the few major newspapers nationwide to endorse Trump. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was another.

The Review-Journal editorial cites Trump’s record on job creation and the economy pre-pandemic, his criminal justice reform that freed many inmates from prison, the peace agreements he achieved between Israel and several Arab neighbors, and his conservative court justices. The Pittsburgh paper – which had not endorsed a Republican since 1972 — acknowledged its distaste for Trump as a man, but defended his record: the pre-pandemic booming economy and low unemployment rate, rewritten trade deals, and support for US-produced energy — such as a Shell petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania. The Biden-Harris ticket, the paper writes, “offers an end to fracking and other Cuckoo California dreams that will cost the economy and the people who most need work right now.”

A recent poll in Georgia published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that while voters preferred Biden on the pandemic and racial equality, they favored Trump on the economy – which was also the issue ranked as the top concern by the most voters.

In North Carolina, where Trump was boosted by support from rural and suburban voters, exit polls found that voters whose most important issues were the economy or crime and safety were more likely to vote for Trump. People who reported wanting a “strong leader” also favored Trump.

The Guardian wrote that voters in rural areas broke overwhelmingly for Trump and they, too, frequently cited economic concerns as a primary motivator.

In many ways, despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, Democratic strategist James Carville’s famous 1992 axiom still applies: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

SHIRA SCHOENBERG

FROM COMMONWEALTH

In Massachusetts, President Trump made gains in heavily Latino Gateway Cities.

The Houses’s $46 billion budget proposal contains no new taxes and additional eviction protections.

A judge declined to impose pretrial restrictions on former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home superintendent Bennett Walsh, rejecting a request by Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. 

The state’s daily COVID-19 case count jumps as new rules take effect designed to stem the tide, including a curfew, restaurant closures, and new masking requirements.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

 

BEACON HILL

A Boston Herald editorial expresses wariness of spending too much from the state “rainy day” fund but doesn’t really make clear what is too much.

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

A Fitchburg pentecosal church has emerged as the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak. (Boston Globe)

Worcester officials say community spread of coronavirus is on the rise. (Telegram & Gazette)

A new report says Massachusetts has seen the largest increase in food insecurity of any state. (Boston Globe

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The US recorded a one-day record 121,000 new coronavirus cases yesterday. (New York Times

ELECTIONS

Television networks cut away from President Trump speaking yesterday at the White House as he unleashed a barrage of false charges of election fraud in a moment that seemed to cross a new line in violating norms of democracy and the presidency. (New York Times)

There were 40 Massachusetts towns that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but Joe Biden this year. (MassLive)

Sen. Ed Markey talks to GBH about the prospect of another GOP-controlled Senate.

Boston relied on high-speed scanners to deliver results quickly on election night. (MassLive)

Trump-Biden contest is nothing compared to John Adams’ 1800 re-election bid, according to Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch. (Patriot Ledger)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The state’s casinos were built to operate 24/7, but will now have to shut down nightly. (MassLive)

Restaurant leaders are pushing back on Gov. Charlie Baker’s new restriction on their hours. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

A Swampscott elementary school goes remote on Thursday to ensure students’ safety in light of a pro-Trump protest. (The Salem News)

ARTS/CULTURE

The Herald News profiles Jodi Stevens, the executive director of the Marion Art Center.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Massachusetts awards more than $8 million for land conservation projects. (MassLive)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Sgt. Beth Donovan, one of the top female Boston police officers, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging a pattern of gender discrimination in the department. (Boston Herald

A Worcester house that burned down turns out to be an unregistered sober home which was violating fire safety guidelines — another data point in a long-running dispute over whether municipalities can impose costly fire safety rules on sober homes. (Telegram & Gazette)

A Springfield mobster is released from federal prison due to COVID-19 concerns. (MassLive)

A Centerville’s woman who worked as a bookkeeper has pleaded guilty in two separate criminal cases for embezzling more than $1.3 million from two previous employers. (Cape Cod Times)

PASSINGS

The Globe looks at the life of Juan Torruella, the first Latino judge on the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals, who died in late October at age 87.