President Donald Trump made it clear he is focused on winning Minnesota next year when he spoke for over an hour at a campaign rally in Minneapolis. During his speech, he touted his America First agenda that’s contributed to Minnesota’s booming economy, significant job growth, and low unemployment numbers. President Trump’s campaign has also ramped up fundraising and started organizing efforts on the ground. The last time a Republican won Minnesota was in 1973, and if President Trump wants to turn the state red, he will need to be strategic.
A poll conducted after President Trump’s campaign rally shows him trailing behind the Democrat’s three front-runners, former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, by double digits in some cases. While he may face a tough battle in Minnesota, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are making it easier for President Trump to win over voters by jumping into local issues without all the facts.
One example is the Line 3 pipeline, that’s being updated and rebuilt to improve safety and efficiency. The issue has garnered impassioned reactions from national groups and local activists. Warren and Sanders have both vocally opposed the pipeline’s construction citing environmental reasons–but this may not be the winning issue they think it is considering Warren received backlash from construction union leaders who support replacing Line 3 because of the jobs it will bring.
They also have flawed reasoning. Pipelines are the safest way to transport oil with nearly 30% of our nation’s crude oil running through Minnesota. There are millions of miles of pipelines in the United States that safely and effectively deliver natural gas and liquid petroleum products that provide Americans with the energy that powers their lives every day. Plus, the Environmental Protection Agency implements strict standards, that include public input, before a pipeline can begin construction.
The Democrat candidates might also forget the economic benefits that the Line 3 pipeline construction would contribute to Minnesota like job growth and millions in tax revenue that can support education, infrastructure, and public transportation.
This issue isn’t likely to go away soon either. On the heels of the Minnesota Supreme Court rejecting an environmental challenge from tribal and conservation groups, such as Honor the Earth, protests have started to ramp up in opposition to the pipeline’s construction – and could reach a boiling point similar to the Standing Rock protests in South Dakota.
The protest levied against Line 3 is a well-known strategic move commonly used by outside groups attempting to further their agenda by holding up projects in litigation and false propaganda. And groups like Honor the Earth may not be fully trustworthy in their motives considering some of them are funded by billionaires that make money by transporting crude oil by railway.
As the presidential election continues to ramp up, it’s a safe bet that Minnesota is going to be a battleground between President Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee. No one knows how it will turn out yet, but one thing is clear: If Democrats want to win Minnesota again, they should be wary about opposing a divisive issue in the midwest that benefits the local economy in rural areas.
Michael Desantis the Chair of the NC College Republicans.