It wasn’t even like an election, Trump said Tuesday on the soggy asphalt in grieving Lansing, Michigan, that the coronavirus had jeopardized his political prospects and forced him to get back to work and tackle the weather turbulence during his campaign.
I probably wouldn’t be here with you in the freezing rain, he said to the crowd of warm souls who stood for hours in the constant cold to hear him speak. If I wasn’t here, I’d be in the White House doing what I do.
While Trump is looking for votes to take part in the elections, he causes unrest in the country. Trump hopes to surpass his rival in areas he claims have long been ignored by the political class. But he also made it clear that he would probably ignore them if they didn’t provide him with political fuel.
He did not hesitate to tell his supporters that he would never be in their condition if he did not need their votes.
We win Wisconsin, we win the whole baseball game, he said last week at another icy airport, this time in Yanesville. What do you think I’m doing here on a cold night with 45 degrees wind?
He continued as the temperature dropped and part of the crowd fled. I’m not doing this for my health.
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Interactive map The road to 270 CNN
A week earlier, at Des Moines airport, he had warned a crowd of adorable fans gathering outside an airplane hangar that he would never return unless he received six votes in the Iowa election.
I’m never allowed to come back here unless I get Iowa, he said. I’m never coming back.
While Trump tells his many viewers that he has restored their way of life over the past four years, he doesn’t write that this isn’t really life for him. It is a well-known brand of Trump: I’m not like you, but you can be like me.
In his speech on Monday in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump spoke briefly about the freedom that an 18-wheel-drive vehicle can offer. But it was not so much the attraction of the truck stops and the open road that lay in the background, but rather the possibility of getting out of the life he leads today.
By the way, good trucks, on the tarmac of another airport, he didn’t say much to anyone. Do you think I could stop by their house and scare them away?
I’d like to get out of here. Go away, he’s moved on. I’ve had such a good life. My life has been great.
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In the final phase of the campaign, Trump makes its appeal to suburban women, the elderly, white people without a university education, and what can be imposed on these groups. It limits the offer of attractions outside the major urban centres by calling for voting in rural areas or small towns. Trump only tried to get on the road once in a while this Wednesday.
Trump’s rallies almost never take him further than the airport where he lands, the taxi is parked next to a well-lit and busy hangar, he gets off the plane, talks, dances in the YMCA and walks up the stairs in an hour.
On Tuesday he took a small tarmac attack in Wisconsin and drove for 15 minutes to a nearby motorsport track in Western Salem, passing the shopping streets and Sam’s club. On the way he went around the circuit in a presidential limousine, but as soon as he turned around he quickly got in the car and drove off.
Trump made it clear it wasn’t his first choice.
We wanted to go to the airport, but the governor made it difficult, so I said: Okay, find a spot, he said. Nice people.
Unlike his rival, Democrat Joe Biden, whose working-class biography forms the basis of his entire political personality, Trump does not require voters to identify with the life he has led or the struggles he has fought.
Because Trump stays in Pennsylvania, he often claims to understand the state better than his opponent, who was born in Scranton because he went to university there. Trump graduated from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, an area he does not hope to win. After two years in Fordham, Queens, he was transferred there.
Trump attacked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes for her position on renewable energy and suspiciously asked her crowd if she even had a university education (she had attended Boston University) – barely nodding at the uneducated university voters who form her base.
His obvious approaches to what he calls a suburban woman are becoming increasingly archaic in the run-up to the elections, as was the case in Lansing on Tuesday, when he claimed he was trying to get your men back to work – a line that seemed to ignore the one-sided impact on women of the economic downturn associated with the pandemic.
In Florida, Trump described himself as an old citizen in a conversation with many former followers, hoping that his self-identification would make him look more like them. But his story of experimental antibody treatment, repeated at every meeting and available to almost no one else, hardly ranks him among Americans concerned about their health or the coronavirus pandemic.
Very specific complaints
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When he tries to upset his supporters in general, it is often because of very specific accusations related to his presidency, such as a Russian investigation or aggressive media coverage, in the hope that they will take his supporters in the same way that they have brought him back to life.
Trump’s masses usually organize rallies, but the more he deals with the strongly coded and sometimes mysterious events of his presidency, the darker his reaction becomes.
When he opened the lid on Tuesday (a hallmark of media attention telling reporters when no further events are expected for a candidate or president), his meetings in Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska didn’t swell. References to Article 230, which protects certain large technology companies from liability, have allowed only a few isolated hooks and bells. During last week’s debate, Mr Trump gave his opinion about a big man and a laptop from hell without growing.
Trump never explains what that means, assuming his followers are as good as he is in the jargon and details of various conservative scandals. Trump’s political advisors said they wanted the president to stay close to issues like the economy.
Trump recently received support for his message with a video montage of his campaign showing Biden’s views on energy, law enforcement and trade. The clips are shown on the large screens that Trump records for his spectators and for which he has spent a lot of money.
The good thing is it saves you a lot of words, doesn’t it? It saves a lot of words, he told the crowd in Wisconsin on Tuesday.
The economy of the words made the rallies a little shorter; his Tuesday events diminished in length as he went west. When Trump left Omaha on Tuesday after a 45-minute speech, thousands of people watched and rejoiced in the cold air as Air Force One flew into the night sky.
But in the course of the next few hours, hundreds and hundreds of people who took part in the rally got stuck in chaos in the dark streets of a remote area near Omaha airport. They were waiting for buses that could not arrive because of a blocked two-lane road.
Many people started walking to their cars and parking lots three or four miles away, which further blocked the roads. Several ambulance workers were spotted by CNN escorting people into the bony evening air. The temperature was fine when it froze, but the wind chill temperature was much lower.
Trump recognized the cold weather in the crowd of the stage earlier in the evening, wearing a jacket and gloves.
I mean, here I am, frozen, he said. I have a little favor to ask: Go to hell and voice.
Jeff Greene from CNN contributed to this report.