Trump rallies in Grand Rapids today. Research shows counties with 2016 events had spikes in hate crimes.

    Donald Trump | Wikimedia Commons

    President Donald Trump is gearing up for a 2020 campaign rally in Grand Rapids on Thursday. Michigan is the key to his re-election, as new state GOP Chair Laura Cox has said, so this likely will be the first of many events.

    Van Andel Arena | Wikimedia Commons

    Trump, who won Michigan in 2016, is expected to draw a large crowd in Van Andel Arena.

    There will be a counter-protest featuring former Democratic presidential candidate retired Maj. Richard Ojeda, as the Advance first reported Wednesday, as well as the “Baby Trump” balloon.

    Against that backdrop, it’s worth noting that new research from political scientists who write for the Washington Post shows a disturbing trend for Trump’s 2016 rallies.

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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