Montgomery County’s Republicans Presidential Conflict Dissected by Wall Street Journal

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Art Bustard of Lansdale. Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

Two Wall Street Journal writers recently traveled to Blue Bell and Reading to highlight the split feelings on Donald Trump among Republicans in neighboring counties.

Whereas Trump’s swagger and promises to get tough with trading partners have rallied Republicans in Reading, many Republicans in Montgomery County worry that those same qualities are repelling upper-income GOP voters, writes Aaron Zitner and Dante Chinni in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.

That’s the tricky electoral math that Mr. Trump faces in an expected general-election push to win Pennsylvania and industrial Midwest states that haven’t backed a Republican for president in decades.

According to Zitner and Chinni, Republicans here fear Trump could amplify a recent tilt into the Democratic camp. Democrats in recent months there have made bigger gains than the GOP in voter registration.

“That’s the worry,” said Art Bustard, a 61-year-old who owns a promotional-products business in Lansdale and will be an alternate delegate to the GOP’s national convention. Mr. Trump, he says, “is very popular with small-business men, contractors, machine-shop operators,” but he must show “the professional class that he’s not going to hurt them, not upset the apple cart so much that their jobs are in jeopardy.”

Trump’s demeanor, by contrast, is a potential hurdle in Montgomery County, one of the state’s most populous and one of four counties in the state where he didn’t break 50 percent in the primary.

“The biggest thing he can do to help himself is to be a tad more reserved,” said Josh Arnold, executive director of the county Republican committee. “You have to be more presidential.”

According to Zitner and Chinni, Montco Republicans also said it was time for Trump to lay out a clearer governing agenda and to clarify his position on taxes, which has varied in recent days, and national security and trade.

Click here to read more about Trump’s split among Republicans from the Wall Street Journal.

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