Democratic Stronghold in Minnesota Shifting to Trump, Voters Say

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
September 20, 2019 Updated: September 20, 2019

A Democratic stronghold in Minnesota is shifting to support President Donald Trump, according to some voters there.

Many of the voters who spoke to CNN in rural northern Minnesota, who previously voted for Democratic presidential candidates, told the outlet that they’re finding themselves aligned with Trump and predict more support for him in 2020.

“We’re two brothers who are staunch union Democrats for years and they’re not anymore,” Jeff Foreseen, a resident of Mountain Iron, told CNN.

The area is heavily involved in mining taconite, a mineral used in making steel.

Eveleth Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich said that thousands of people are switching from supporting Democrats to supporting Trump.

He himself votes Democrat in state races but is openly supportive of Trump.

“Economics. He’s our guy. He supports mining, he’s our guy,” Vlaisavljecivh said.

Voters told CNN they support Trump’s tariffs on imported steel, his easing of environmental laws, and his crackdown on illegal immigration.

Melissa Axelson, an Eveleth resident whose husband works for a mining company, said that Democrats have changed over her lifetime.

“Conservative candidates seem to be more for the working person,” she said.

“The Democrats kind of shifted more to the left and the Republicans are kinda taking over the party for jobs,” said Mik Volker, another Eveleth resident.

Cindy Forseen of Mountain Iron said rural areas in the state could help Trump flip Minnesota red and Cindy Rugeley, associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, told CNN: “I don’t think by any means this is a lockdown Democratic state and it used to be.”

Attendees sing the national anthem at a Make America Great Again rally in Rochester, Minn., on Oct. 4, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
President Donald Trump during a visit to the southern border of the United States on Sept. 18, 2019. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

The trend towards rural areas supporting conservatives has happened in conjunction with some suburban areas flipping blue, as highlighted in “Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide.”

The book’s author, Jonathan Rodden, argues that the left-right political dichotomy has shifted to an urban-rural divide that’s seen most of the large cities in the United States exclusively vote for Democratic city, state, and national candidates and rural areas do the same for Republicans.

Voters in Rochester told Epoch Times last year that they’ve witnessed support for the president grow since the 2016 election.

“I think there’s more Trump supporters,” 31-year-old Casie Steeves said. “I have a lot of friends that were on the line, or even very the opposite of me, that have kind of gotten a little bit closer.”

Some expressed optimism about the midterm elections. Republicans ended up losing the majority in the House of Representatives but gained two seats in the Senate.

Trump and his campaign have spoken about winning Minnesota since last year.

Campaign manager Brad Parscale said turnouts at Trump rallies were part of the reason he thinks Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada are in play.

The president said in July that a battle over the Pledge of Allegiance showed why he’ll win the state, writing, “People are sick and tired of this stupidity and disloyalty to our wonderful USA!”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.