GOP takes shot in Robeson

Each presidential candidate will officially claim victory after the recent debate. Unofficially, many Trump supporters think Hillary did better than expected. Hillary supporters think Trump did better than expected. Trump attempted to be more reserved and disciplined. Hillary attempted to be more pleasant by smiling and staying on script. But there are some interesting things the media isn’t noticing.

Mainstream media pundits say Hillary won though the polls are all over the place. Official left-leaning polls naturally have Hillary winning the debate. Right-leaning polls have Trump winning.

But the margins are revealing. Left-leaning Public Policy Polling had Hillary winning the debate at only 51 percent. A CNN poll had the highest percentage at 62 percent.

But right-leaning polls have more overwhelming margins. The Drudge Report poll has Trump winning the debate at 82 percent with more than 800,000 people voting. Again, there is more movement, wider margins and greater excitement in the Trump camp when you look beyond the spin.

Trump actually won 17 out of the top 21 polls when voters were asked who won the debate. But you won’t hear that in the liberal media.

The real question is whether the debate moved any votes. Both candidates scored points. Neither landed a knockout.

The Trump campaign has been reaching out to places no presidential Republican has ever reached. Lara Trump is the highest profile Republican presidential candidate representative to visit Robeson. Visits from presidential candidates or their surrogates are rare from either party. So a visit by Trump’s daughter-in-law in Robeson was monumental on many levels.

It would seem that Democratic presidential candidates would visit more often as Robeson was long considered heavily Democrat and very large. But while presidential candidates flock to deeply divided counties in Ohio and Florida every four years, they are notably absent from Robeson.

Former President Bill Clinton did visit Robeson during Hillary’s first run against President Obama. In fact, he came twice and they were great events. The Rev. Jesse Jackson also visited the county when he ran for president. Both were rare visits from candidates at that level.

A member of Trump’s own family visiting Robeson signals his confidence in Democratic support. He also has been courting the African-American vote heavily. Trump’s message is that a century of Democratic policies has not helped Democratic regions. So his daughter-in-law, a North Carolina native, was here to reach out to former Democratic strongholds.

We informed Trump’s team directly that his message that NAFTA was terribly negotiated resonates in Robeson. Trump’s position that NAFTA isn’t really free trade rings true here. NAFTA was just as much the fault of Republicans as Democrats to be fair. Trump wishes to change that and other policies that have failed areas run by Democrats for years.

Robeson is more attractive to Republicans for a change. It is especially attractive to a political outsider like Trump.

After last week’s Trump family visit, Gov. Pat McCrory stopped in for a private fundraiser. McCrory is essentially tied with Attorney General Roy Cooper in that race, but McCrory has been climbing among conservatives as he fights the liberal Charlotte Council over HB2. A win for Cooper is a win for the liberals. A win for McCrory will continue North Carolina’s return to competitiveness as jobs have finally returned under conservative policies.

Local Republican candidates such as Senate candidate Danny Britt, House candidate Brenden Jones and commissioner candidate Lyn Locklear have been all over the county as well.

So at least for conservatives, it has been a busy political week. Trump signs are all the rage statewide and suppliers keep running dry. But more will be in soon.

Oct. 14 is the last day to register for this election or change party affiliation. Early voting begins Oct. 20.

Phillip Stephens is chairman of the Robeson County Republican Party.

Phillip Stephens is chairman of the Robeson County Republican Party.

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