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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Ashley Arentz is a political unicorn.
The 28-year-old Marine from Jacksonville, North Carolina, didn’t vote in 2016, and she wasn’t even registered to vote in the state. But there she was on Monday, standing in line for hours in the 90-degree heat waiting to enter President Donald Trump’s rally in Fayetteville. That made her a golden target for the volunteers in day-glow yellow T-shirts working to register new voters.
Arentz - President
Arentz said she likes the president because he’s “just being straightforward.”
She filled out a registration form on the spot.
Months - Election - Day - President - Team
Less than 14 months before Election Day, the president’s team is banking his reelection hopes on identifying and bringing to the polls hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters such as Arentz — people in closely contested states who didn’t vote in 2016. The campaign is betting that it may be easier to make voters out of these electoral rarities than to win over millions of Trump skeptics in the center of the electorate.
It’s a risky wager borne of political necessity, and helps explain Trump’s provocative communications strategy, from his attacks on the media to his racially polarizing rhetoric. Trump, aides and allies say, knows he needs to fire up his supporters, and anger is a powerful motivator.
People - Voters - Time - Voters - Jersey
“People trying to persuade swing voters are probably wasting their time because nearly all voters have already put their jersey on,” said GOP strategist Chris Wilson. “Trump needs to bring more of his fans onto the field.”
Tens of millions of Americans choose not to vote in federal races every two years. The president’s campaign is determined to turn out the Trump supporters among them. It views them as an untapped stash of Republican support that can help him overcome stubbornly low poll numbers and his difficulties in winning over voters in the shrinking political center.
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Aim and timing is evereything.