MANCHESTER, N.H. — President Donald Trump made a rare move Thursday night — holding a rally in a state he didn’t win in 2016, New Hampshire.
Trump has spent most of his time as president in the key swing states of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. But his advisers urged him to make a stop in New Hampshire, which he lost by less than 3,000 votes, despite the state’s having just four electoral votes.
In an election that could again turn on a razor’s edge, every vote will count. With New Hampshire at the center of the Democratic primaries, the rally gave Trump an opportunity to hit back at Democratic rivals who have been attacking him in the state for months. He took the opportunity to again accuse the party of being full of socialists who want to tear America apart.
“They look down upon the hardworking citizens who truly make our country run,” Trump said of Democrats, though he made only glancing references to potential 2020 rivals such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Vice President Joe Biden, or to Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., whose planned trip to Israel was short-circuited on Thursday after presidential tweets urging the government there to deny her entry.
Trump suggested without evidence that the only reason he lost New Hampshire in 2016 was because the election here was stolen from him.
“New Hampshire should have been won last time, except we had a lot of people come in at the last moment, which was a rather strange situation,” Trump told reporters before departing his summer retreat in Bedminster, New Jersey, for the rally in Manchester. “Thousands and thousands of people coming in from locations unknown. But I knew where their location was.”
It was a claim he repeated during the rally. “New Hampshire was taken from us,” he said.
In an hour and a half speech, Trump hit on most of his usual themes — emphasizing the economy and saying New Hampshire had been hit worse than most other states by negative long-term trends.
“You look like central casting for the closing of factories,” Trump said.
New Hampshire, which had a 2.8 percent unemployment rate when Trump took office, has continued to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
In a week when bond markets flashed what has historically been a major recession warning and the stock market had its worst day of the year to date, the president rolled out both his positive and negative economic pitches, again arguing that if he loses re-election, the stock market will plummet.
“You have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k) is down the tubes. Everything’s going to be down the tubes,” Trump said. “So whether you love me or hate me, you’ve gotta vote for me.”
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Rapper Scarface of The Geto Boys in runoff for Houston City Council seat
HOUSTON — As a member of Houston’s pioneering rap group The Geto Boys, Brad Jordan co-wrote the early 1990s hip-hop anthem “Mind Playing Tricks on Me.”
Now, the 49-year-old rapper better known as Scarface is working to ensure Houston voters that no, their minds are not playing tricks on them: He is running for City Council, and he’s a serious candidate.
Jordan says he knows his celebrity carried him into a runoff election slated for Saturday. But he’s hoping he can persuade the voters who got him there to turn out again so he can represent the council’s District D.
“You can sit back and point out the problems or you can address them and bring solutions to the table,” Jordan said Tuesday, referring to chronic poverty and crime that afflicts his neighborhood.
With more than 200,000 residents, District D stretches into the south and southeast sides of Houston. 2017 data compiled by the current city council member, Dwight Boykins, says African Americans make up 53 percent of the district. Thirty percent of the population earns less than $25,000 a year, and although that figure has risen over the past two decades, it’s still a plurality.
While campaigning, voters ask him what he plans to do if he’s elected, but many can’t help themselves and ask to take a smartphone photo with him.
Though his name recognition is his chief asset in his mostly African American district, Jordan insists that his Scarface persona is part of his past, not his future.
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Political observers note that two big obstacles lie in Jordan’s path to getting elected.
“Voter turnout for runoffs is usually low,” said Mark Jones, a political science fellow at the Baker Institute at Rice University.
Michael Adams, a political scientist at Texas Southern University, a historically black college that is in the district Jordan wants to represent, says the rapper also has to convince the most dependable voting bloc in his neighborhood to vote for him — black women over 60.
“He needs to improve voter turnout from his home ground in subdivisions like Sunnyside,“ Adams said. “Older African Americans may be not swayed by the notion a hip-hop artist can be in public office.”
Jordan’s opponent, Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, may be more to such voters’ liking.
“My belief is that City Council is not a training ground, it’s a proving ground. I’ve already proven my record,” said Evans-Shabazz.
The 66-year-old sits on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees and the executive committee of the local NAACP, and she worked for the Houston Independent School District as as an education evaluation specialist.
“I know she’ll get our potholes filled, our ditches dug out and more police in the neighborhood,” 81-year-old Lula Wilson said outside of the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, which is a polling place. Wilson, clad in a Evans-Shabazz campaign T-shirt, said her preferred candidate has “always had a seat at the table.”
But Gerry Monroe said Jordan’s political outsider status is what attracted him to campaign for the rapper. “We have a serious gang issue in District D,” Monroe said this week outside of the polling station at the Sunnyside Multi Resource Center. As he spoke, a group of teenage boys down the street fought in a brawl that was quickly broken up when adults arrived.
“Who can go into one of these rough gang infested neighborhoods and have a conversation with gang members to put guns down? Carolyn (Evans-)Shabazz or Brad Jordan? I’m gonna ride with Brad because I’ve seen him do it,” Monroe said.
The weekend before the run-off, the two candidates were busy hitting up the district’s churches, temples and mosques, eager to be seen among the faithful and hoping turnout for the mayor’s race can drive their numbers, too.
There have also been lighter campaign moments — Evans-Shabazz’s husband, upon seeing his wife’s opponent, also asked for a selfie.
“Everything’s cordial, “ Jordan said.
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