Op Ed

Can Democrats Win State’s Swing Voters?

They voted for Obama and then Trump. Will they swing to Democrats in November?

By - Jul 16th, 2018 12:08 pm
Donald Trump. Image from campaign website.

Donald Trump. Image from campaign website.

Trump governs by constant deception. His modus operandi includes inciting racial animus. For example, GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump’s 2016 attack against a Latino American federal judge “the textbook definition of a racist comment”. However, that was before Ryan became a Trump enabler and went mute. But the moral collapse of congressional Republicans doesn’t mean that Trump voters are invariably racist.

The New York Times said: “The swing of Obama voters to Mr. Trump proved a decisive factor in the 2016 presidential election. Of the more than 650 counties that chose Mr. Obama twice, about a third flipped to Mr. Trump. Many were in states critical to Mr. Trump’s win, like Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.” These voters are not racists. Voters told the Times “they chose Mr. Trump for the same reason they chose Mr. Obama: a deep craving for change and disgust with both political parties.”

Nothing is permanent. “Voters said they still liked Mr. Obama and that they voted for Mr. Trump because they didn’t want to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton. But they were still open to voting for Democrats – if the party could come up with the right candidates. For the most part, the midterm elections were not yet on their radars.” But Democrats need Wisconsin Trump voters to win in November.

Checks and balances are necessary to stop the erosion of democratic norms and hard-fought gains by regular folks. Both Trump and Walker are going backwards, while regular folks want to go forward toward economic security. A Trump voter who had previously supported Obama said Trump was “not there for the poor and the middle class” (Times). Same for Walker, with an increase in the Wisconsin poverty rate to 10.8 percent and still “short of the 250,000 new jobs … promised in his first four years” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Trump and Walker are on the same page, and regular folks who voted for them are getting shafted.

Rural Wisconsinites in counties that voted for Trump and Walker stood to lose their health coverage if the Affordable Care Act had been repealed. Worse, Walker’s refusal to expand Medicaid has meant that rural Wisconsinites missed out on health quality improvements (Times). Thirty-three states have used fiscal common sense and taken federal funding to expand Medicaid. Will Wisconsin be the last holdout?

Same for SNAP (food stamps). Trump, Walker and House Republicans are trying to fool voters that cuts and program changes are a “poverty-fighting system” (Speaker Ryan). No, their idea is to (racially) stigmatize the program as “welfare”. However, the Washington Post reported that the “changes to food stamps could especially sting rural Trump supporters” who depend on the program to buy groceries.

Finally, the escalating Trump trade war could devastate Wisconsin. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said 800,800 Wisconsin jobs supported by trade and state exports of over $1 billion are threatened by retaliatory tariffs. Trump says: “It’s going to all work out”. Walker muffled. Time for Wisconsin Trump voters to vote Democratic.

This column was originally published by Wispolitics.com.

Bill Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

9 thoughts on “Op Ed: Can Democrats Win State’s Swing Voters?”

  1. LenaTaylorNeedsToResign says:

    This has got to be one of the more pathetic excuses for ‘content’ this site has ever published.

  2. PMD says:

    Wow harsh criticism from LenaTaylorNeedsToResign, a serious and thoughtful person as their online moniker suggests.

  3. Frank Schneiger says:

    There was a time, not long ago, when the correct response to LenaTaylor Needs to Resign, Troll, and the gang would be to simply ignore them. Those days are over. Despite their continued posturing as victims, they and those who share their views, their ignorance, lies and bigotry now control the political narrative in our country in the age of Trump. They now need to be taken seriously, and to have their lies, distortions of history and bigotry challenged at every turn.

    Nobody knows how the current assault on democracy and basic decency is going to turn out, nor do we know most of the facts related to the Trump investigation. (Or, for that matter, the deep corruption of the Walker years.) But, especially after today’s Trump/Putin press conference, it is likely that putting the worst interpretation on these events will get you closer to the truth. That will move a large group of people, including those who post here, into the categories (words carefully chosen) of traitors, quislings and lying sycophants.

    In addition to those in public life whose reputations will be destroyed by connection to Trump, Walker and the Republican Party, that group will include, at the bottom feeder level, the likes of those who post lies here on a regular basis, e.g., Troll’s rewrite of history on socialist Milwaukee. LTNTR, Troll and the gang will then have limited choices. Based on history, they will either tune in to Fox News and decide that it is all a Deep State conspiracy or go silent for awhile and tell those who ask that they knew nothing of the criminality, treason and racism that has guided them through this period.

    But, who knows, maybe they will come out on top, and we will have a very different country. They can put up big statues of Donald Trump and Scott Walker on what will be left of Lake Mendota and have Nuremberg torch light parades to celebrate the triumph of their “culture.” Wild exaggeration? Take a look at the Helsinki press conference. Review the administration’s defenses of tearing families apart. Consider its alliances with dictators and neo-Nazi groups in Europe. Read the business section for the almost weekly revelations of presidential and cabinet level corruption.

  4. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    I’d have low-info/swing voters would be the ones most likely to be repulsed by a GOVERNOR WHO IS LITERALLY HUGGING A RUSSIAN SPY AT AN NRA CONVENTION.


    And as it becomes obvious that Ryan and Johnson are actively part of this coordination and cover-up, only the 30%er weak-minded trash will remain, hopefully.

  5. Duane Snyder says:

    I would only take issue with the notion that Trump has somehow started a trade war. Tariffs are nothing new and have existed long before Trump took office. For example, China has a 25 percent tariff on imported cars. For this reason American car companies manufacture the cars sold in China there, rather than make them here. Conversely, the US has only a meager 2.5 percent tariff on imported cars. American car companies are chomping at the bit to import cars into America from China since this tariff is so low. (Foreign car companies already are set to import 4 million cars into the US from Mexico this year, thank you NAFTA). I see how all of this “free trade” is beneficial to short term corporate interests and strapped consumers who have little interest in external costs. But there is a reason many people just don’t feel the economy is as good as we are being led to believe and can’t get a raise and our trade policy is a big part of the reason. (And one reason some may have voted for a dishonest con man like Trump since he promised to address the trade deficit while campaigning for President). I wish more Democrats would start have a sypathetic ear towards tariffs and see them as a possible solution to the massive trade deficit in goods this country has. (But too many have a “so what” attitude towards the trade deficit as we are being placated by cheap consumer goods). And as an aside, I read in the book China RX that the US no longer makes peniccillin, the last plant closed in 2004 as China dumped on that market.

  6. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Working people voted for obama cause they wanted a change, but the did not get one, so they went for Trump, 23 counties did that.
    So why would they go back to Kelda Roys or any of those nuts.
    Tony Evers has seen spending for schools go up tenfold in his ilife and scores go down. Nothing has gotten better in the schools under Evers despite big spending increases. He pushes the same idea that has not worked: More spending, more teachers, smaller class sizes.
    Has not worked. WE need leaders who will get away from the Lefty teachers union, and teach kids to read instead of multiculturalism and white privilege.
    Walker and company are for the kids and parents, Teachers union is only interested in money and bennies: Shanker said that.

  7. PMD says:

    They already are going back WCD. See the recent special elections and the state supreme court election. You might not like it, but voters are already going back. Spineless Walker is afraid to criticize Treasonous Trump and that hurts with independents and moderates.

  8. Adam says:


    We may find out that Walker is a treasonous rat just like Trump. If we’ve learned anyhting in the last 8 years, its that Walker will do anything to get re-elected.

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