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Why Trump targeted Minnesota and New Mexico

While Bernie Sanders is tied down in a primary battle, the money-flush re-election campaign of President Donald John Trump not only can concentrate on holding the 30 states that elected him president, but it can add a few more.

The wish list begins with Minnesota and New Mexico. The former makes sense, as it was the second-closest loss for him, after New Hampshire.

But New Mexico seems to be a stretch. He lost by 8 points. Nevada, Maine, Colorado, and of course, New Hampshire were closer.

Campaign manager Brad Parscale has a plan and he unveiled it to Republican senators.

The Washington Examiner reported, "Parsacle argued that blue states such as Minnesota or New Mexico could be competitive for Republicans, a lawmaker in attendance told Politico."

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy told the newspaper, "They’ve been working hard. Whereas last time was kind of spontaneous, this time has been fully prepared. They’ve got states, the pathway to victory that we all know they have, and they may be expanding the field some."

That is an interesting take. Donald Trump had great coattails -- Republicans won all 22 Senate races in the states he carried -- but helping the ticket was an after thought.

He did better in the midterms, which are notorious for punishing a president's party. Nevertheless, he helped spike 4 incumbent Democrats. That's better than any president has done to an opposition party's senators since FDR knocked off 8 incumbent Republican senators in 1934.

Politico reported, "Parscale discussed the map during a Senate GOP retreat at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters. Among the states Parscale mentioned as potential targets are Minnesota and New Mexico. Both states have a Senate race this year, though Republicans are not expected to flip either. Hillary Clinton won Minnesota by 1.5 points and New Mexico by 8 points.

"A senior Trump campaign official confirmed that both states are being targeted, among others that Trump lost in 2016, including New Hampshire and Nevada."

Ah, now we are getting somewhere. Minnesota and New Mexico have Senate races. But so do Colorado, Maine, and New Hampshire. The first two have Republican senators who will need President Trump's help.

And New Mexico is 49% Hispanic -- Mexican Hispanic at that. Surely this should doom him if we were to believe the media reports of Hispanic opposition to the wall.

But with Democrat Tom Udall retiring from the Senate, Republicans see a rare opening in New Mexico.

President Trump has worked on keeping a Republican Senate. He stumbled in Alabama in 2017, but rebounded in 2018.

In 2020, Senate seats could be picked in Alabama and Michigan, states he won in 2016. But he could also lose Cory Gardner in Colorado and Susan Collins in Maine if he does not take those states.

Minnesota's Democrat Senator By Accident Tina Smith seems doable just as picking up the state in the presidential race does. Surely Ilhan Omar has worn out her party's welcome in Minnesota.

The news reports do not mention Virginia, where Democrat Mark Warner barely survived the 2014 midterm. Given the backlash over his party's plan to confiscate rifles, Virginia looks as if it can be in play.

A repeat of 2016 would keep the Senate the same. But if President Trump plays his cards right, he could keep Collins and Gardner in the Senate and pick up 4 more seats, for a 59-41 Senate.

That would be the best showing by Republicans in a century. In 1920, the Harding-Coolidge ticket helped Republicans win 25 of 32 races, giving them a 59-37 majority.

But we shall see how this goes. Twinning the presidential and Senate races worked in 2016, particularly in Florida and Wisconsin.

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