The scene in the northern Minnesota mining town of Virginia fit perfectly into the Trump campaign’s story line.
On one side of the street, a group of Republicans were waving Trump flags and singing “God Bless the U.S.A.” Across the street at the local steelworkers’ union office, a smaller group stood masked and silent, looking on with Joe Biden signs.
One of the Trump supporters made a crack about the size of the Biden crowd. Rob Farnsworth, a Republican state House candidate and member of the Minnesota teachers’ union, extended an invitation.
“You can be a Republican and you can be a union member,” he yelled across the street. “So come on over, the water is nice.”
Events like this have come to define the narrative of northeastern Minnesota, which both presidential candidates have visited: union members breaking ranks with their leadership; longtime Democratic mayors, like the mayor of Virginia, endorsing Trump, all signifying that the political allegiances of Minnesota’s long-blue Iron Range are now matching its red ore-stained dirt.