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MI seen as 'must have' state for Biden or Trump win


Political experts have deemed Michigan a swing state, not knowing which way it's going to vote in this year's presidential election.

They say President Joe Biden and challenger, former President Donald Trump will need to focus on key issues and target specific groups in order to get the proverbial pendulum swinging in their direction.

Dante Chinni, director of the American Communities Project at Michigan State University, says Biden, a favorite in the past, may be in trouble this time around.

"They voted for Joe Biden because they wanted change. Joe Biden's there. They have not seen the amount of change that they thought they'd see," said Chinni. "That doesn't mean, 'So now we're going to go back to Trump.' But, what it does mean, I think for a lot of them - is just, 'Well, we thought we'd see more change, we're not seeing a lot of change, I'm just not interested in voting in this election.' I think that's the real fear."

From 1992 through 2012, Michigan voted Democrat. But in 2016, the state voted Republican. Then in 2020, it went back to Democrat.

Chinni said Donald Trump has altered the turnout models in the state, selling image more than policies.

"Trump is really selling more of an image," said Trump. "Something that resonates with blue-collar voters, particularly white blue-collar voters - which is this idea that 'you've been wronged and the system doesn't work for you, and I'm going to fix that.'"

Chinni said votes from suburbanites, African Americans and college students ages 18 to 29 are crucial to Democrats - adding that college students seem less enthused about voting this year.

Chinni said younger voters may be turned off by the U.S. government's position on the Israel-Hamas war, which also affects Arab American voters.

He said as for Trump, turnout from areas that many people don't think about will be key.

"A lot of people think Michigan is just Detroit and Flint, and maybe Lansing and Ann Arbor," he explained. "There's a lot of small counties in upstate Michigan. Rural turnout for Trump, and sort of blue-collar suburban turnout for Trump, those are really big issues. Those are the biggest things for him he needs to get."

Chinni said small shifts can mean a lot - and he predicts the election will most likely be close.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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