President Donald Trump is concerned cannabis legalization measures in several states on the November ballot could hurt his re-election chances, as well as those of fellow Republicans seeking political office this fall.
Voters in Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Montana will all head to the polls in November to decide on allowing legal weed in their respective states, along with voting in the U.S. presidential election. However, marijuana legalization efforts tend to attract more progressive voters, which typically lean toward Democratic candidates.
According to a report from The Daily Beast, the president discussed these fears with Republican strategists before blaming marijuana legalization initiatives for the 2018 defeat of former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in public.
Speaking at a campaign event last week, Trump addressed Walker’s defeat by stating: “The next time you run please don’t put marijuana on the ballot at the same time you’re running. You brought out like a million people that nobody ever knew were coming out.”
The president also reportedly asked for updates on swing-states that could vote on legalization measures on November 3.
“The president is keenly aware of how presidential elections [nowadays] can be won at the margins. The pot issue is one of many that he thinks could be a dange. He once told me it would be very ‘smart’ for the Democrat[ic] Party to get as many of these on the ballot as they could,” one source, an unnamed GOP strategist, told The Daily Beast.
Arizona has been shaping up to be one of the 2020 election’s battleground states. Trump carried the traditionally red state in 2016 with 48% of the vote despite Hilary Clinton’s spending efforts and campaigning in the state just ahead of the election.
Now, Democrats are placing their hopes on young Latino voters in the state, particularly as the president has made headline after headline during his presidency over his views on immigration. According to the New York Times, Democrats believe Joe Biden has the best shot at winning the state since Bill Clinton won there in 1996.
Biden on the other hand, although himself an opponent of full federal weed legalization, has tapped Senator Kamala Harris as his vice president. Harris is the lead Senate sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act and has come out in support of legalization during her own presidential campaign.