Democrats are growing nervous that the solidly blue state of Michigan could slip from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE’s grasp.
“Beds are damp,” said Van Jones, former “green jobs” adviser to President Obama, on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
“There is a crack in the blue wall, and it has to do with trade,” Jones said. “This is the ghost of [Sen.] Bernie SandersBernie SandersDon't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs MORE [I-Vt.].”
Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, and President Obama will both be in Michigan on Monday, a sign that suggests they see a tight race. Clinton will be in Grand Rapids, while the president will visit Ann Arbor. The Clinton team has also launched a late statewide TV ad blitz, according to the Detroit News.
No Republican has won Michigan since 1988, but Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE's anti-trade message is resonating throughout the state. And Democrats are worried about a drop in black voter turnout that could be the difference between defeat and victory.
Clinton lost the presidential primary in Michigan to Sanders in an upset. Though Michigan has a large African-American population, the Sanders message on trade and economics was strong enough to defeat Clinton in the state.
A loss in Michigan would be devastating to Clinton. While she will head into Election Day as the favorite, a defeat in Michigan would offset a Trump loss somewhere else, and could also bode well for the Republican in Ohio, Pennsylvania or even Wisconsin — all states that he has been focused on.
The Clinton campaign sounded a confident note on Sunday.
Asked about the Obama and Clinton visits, the Democratic nominee's campaign chairman, John Podesta, said the push was being made because most voters cast ballots on Election Day in Michigan.
"If we hold on to Nevada, if we hold on to Michigan, then Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president of America," Podesta said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"Most people vote on Election Day in Michigan, so our schedule has been oriented toward being in the early vote states in the earlier period of time," he said. "We feel like we've got a lead in Michigan. We want to hold on to it, and we think we can do that."
Trump is now within 5 percentage points of Clinton in Michigan, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of state polls. Two week ago, Clinton led by 12 points on the same model.
Jones described a “discontent” among some Democratic voters over trade that is harming her standing among disaffected workers in Michigan.
“Some blame Hillary Clinton,” he added. “There’s no point pretending that there’s not some concern here.”
Clinton surrogate Jennifer Granholm, the former Democratic governor of Michigan, insisted on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the Democratic nominee had nothing to worry about, largely because of demographic advantages.
Granholm described a patchwork of ethnic and other demographic groups in Michigan that are energized and voting early for Clinton.
“When you combine African-American, Latino, Arab-American, and women and millennials,” Granholm said, “we’re encouraged.”
The Clinton campaign in recent days has made more of an effort in Michigan.
Clinton visited Detroit on Friday, and on Sunday, former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFive takeaways from Arizona's audit results Virginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Business coalition aims to provide jobs to Afghan refugees MORE is holding a public rally in Lansing.
Trump is pressing hard there in the final days as well. He’s added late TV buys in the state and his team is signaling, both publicly and privately, that Michigan provides perhaps his best path to 270 electoral votes.
Trump plans to end his campaign with an 11 p.m. Monday rally in Grand Rapids.
On CNN’s "State of the Union" Sunday, Granholm said it is “awesome” that Obama is headed to Michigan on Monday to campaign for Hillary Clinton.
The Republican National Committee’s chief strategist, Sean Spicer, quickly interjected, suggesting her optimism was spin.
“I wouldn’t want to put my money in that bank,” Spicer said.
“Since 1988, a Republican hasn’t carried Michigan,” he added. “The idea that you’re deploying the president of the United States 48 hours from an election to go to Michigan says that that blue wall is cracked big time.”
Granholm responded that Trump is not ahead in Michigan and has never been.
“But why,” Spicer replied, “are you wasting the President of the United States’s time then?
“Tell him to go somewhere else.”