When the Republican Party was first formed in the 19th century, the Northeast was a solid Republican stronghold. This has changed over the years, and the GOP hasn’t won the Northeast since 1988. While New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are still regarded as swing states, the rest of New England is strongly Democratic. Yet in the upcoming Presidential Election, Donald Trump is looking to change that. This past weekend, Trump hosted a rally at Sacred Heart University, a Catholic college in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Most Republicans don’t compete in Connecticut, although Trump has said it’s one of the typically Democratic states where he plans on competing. Nearly 5,000 people attended the rally. The choice to host a rally in Fairfield, Connecticut, specifically at Sacred Heart, came as a shock for many Connecticotians. Located about an hour and a half from New York City, Fairfield and the area around it is mostly a commuter area, much Long Island and New Jersey. While there are Republicans in the area, most of them are more moderate, and they’re vastly outnumbered by Democrats. Trump’s main support base, working-class whites, are much more of a presence in the north and east of the state than around Fairfield. This, in addition to the fact that Trump has been having trouble winning over the Catholic vote, makes a Catholic college in a part of the state that mostly opposes him an unusual place to have a rally.
While Connecticut is a small state and has frequently been lampooned as homogeneously white, it’s in reality a deeply divided and varied state. Most of the state’s major cities, such as Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford, are run down, although there have been efforts to revitalize them. The area around Sacred Heart is typically divided between wealthy suburbs and run-down cities, with a major wealth imbalance between the two. Further north and east into the state is mostly rural and working-class. All of these areas are highly segregated around race and income, with the different classes hardly interacting with each other. And maybe it is this division, that Donald Trump most likely noticed while living in Greenwich, CT, is exactly why Trump has decided to focus his attention there.