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There’s something almost Trump-y about John Fetterman’s first TV ad in Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate race.

Not in the politics, of course, or the tone or even the overall message. But in the nostalgia for places that have been “forgotten.”

“There’s a lot of great towns in Pennsylvania that feel like their community’s best days were a generation ago,” Fetterman says in the spot, which aired on CNN and MSNBC just before the State of the Union on Tuesday night. “Nowhere deserves to be abandoned.”

Fetterman, the lieutenant governor, is trying to tap into a very real sentiment that Trump mined to powerful effect: A sense that in much of the country, people’s potential has been cut short, their communities eroded, hope has washed away. That there’s only opportunity now in certain big cities.

I’ve heard that sentiment from voters across the state: People lamenting that their kids had to leave home to find good careers, and how they’re never coming back, while the communities they love decline.

Trump won in 2016 partly by appealing to these areas. He also laced his pitch to them with grievance and anger, and often with xenophobia and racism.

» READ MORE: The Divided States of Pennsylvania: How one state embodies America's political discord

But for many who live in those places, he also spoke to a deep sense of stagnation. It’s a real problem that different candidates might approach, and try to solve, in a very different ways.

Fetterman’s ad suggests he’s trying to be that candidate.

And that he’s trying to reach some of these callused farming areas or longtime industrial towns with an element of the “tough guy” outsider appeal Trump used to reach voters who felt like white-collar “elites” didn’t care about their needs. “A Democrat with backbone,” the voice over says.

It’s a tough needle to thread. The communities Fetterman is talking to have long slid away from Democrats. Some Democrats argue it’s a lost cause — especially with so many more votes to be won in cities and the suburbs. And Fetterman’s critics question whether he can appeal to the places that now make up the Democratic base.

Fetterman argues that Democrats can’t keep getting destroyed elsewhere. It’s just his first ad, but it shows where he hopes to take his campaign — and how he hopes to win the primary.