Trump Makes New York A Battleground State

Former President Donald Trump is poised to make history as he threatens to become the first Republican presidential candidate in four decades to win New York. Amid internal debates among Democrats over President Joe Biden’s candidacy, Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, is gaining traction in the typically blue Empire State, which holds 28 electoral votes.

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, a Democrat, acknowledged the changing political landscape. “We’re still acting like this is a one-party state, which for pretty much 20, 25 years it has been,” Levine told Politico. “I truly believe we’re a battleground state now.”

In 2020, Biden won New York by a 23-point margin. However, Trump improved his support in New York City, rising from 17.9% in 2016 to 22.6% in 2020, according to Spectrum News. Recent private polls in a key swing New York House district show Trump leading Biden by 1 point, indicating a tight race.

Trump is now targeting New York’s 28 electoral votes, hoping to be the first Republican to win the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984. In late May, Trump held a campaign rally in the South Bronx, a Democrat stronghold, to erode Biden’s support among voters of color.

“Even if he [Trump] doesn’t win New York and New Jersey, if he comes close, what does that tell you about the rest of the country?” said Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), as reported by Politico.

A Siena College poll from June revealed that Biden’s lead over Trump had narrowed from 12 points in February to just 8 points. The decline in Biden’s support extends beyond his age and immigration issues. Independent voters, concerned about high taxes and crime, are increasingly leaning Republican.

“We were definitely alarmed at how bad he’s doing statewide,” a union official told Politico.

Basil Smikle, a former executive director for the New York Democratic Party, emphasized the need for Biden to revamp his campaign strategy in the state. “The [Biden] campaign needs to do a better job of framing the argument that the choice is between a convicted felon and a president who has done a good job,” Smikle said. “It’s alarming they have to do this in New York, a progressive state with a progressive history.”

Democrat leaders, union officials, and consultants are urging Biden’s campaign to invest resources in New York. However, former New York Gov. David Paterson warned that such a move could divert funds from other crucial areas. “The money that needs to be spent here will be subtracted from other areas he’s going to lose,” Paterson told Politico.

With control of the House at stake, particularly in battleground districts in the Hudson Valley and Long Island, Democrats are concerned about Biden’s down-ballot impact. Former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran advised, “If I’m a Democrat in some of these suburban races, I’d run the hell away from Joe Biden.”