Why Trump Could Lose Wisconsin
Politico says Trump in trouble because WOW counties never fully embraced him.
There’s always reason to doubt national coverage of Wisconsin, but yesterday’s story by Politico feels well reported and close to the ground. It’s written by the publication’s national correspondent Natasha Korecki, who is a Midwesterner, and previously worked as chief political writer at the Chicago Sun-Times. And she managed to connect to quite a number of Wisconsin folks in drawing her conclusions.
The headline is “Why it will be hard for Trump to win Wisconsin again”, with the arresting deck: “Milwaukee’s Republican suburbs have never really warmed up to the president. That could be a big problem.”
Republican candidates typically can’t win the state without a big turnout in the WOW zone of Waukesha, Washington, and Ozaukee counties, and that looks a tad iffy. “It isn’t that the Republican Party is withering away in the WOW counties; it was that they weren’t particularly thrilled with Trump and they showed it by not voting for him,” as Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School poll, told Politico. “Trump still struggles to get more than 40 percent approval, even in the WOW counties. It really is an open question about whether Republicans have come back to him here.”
“They don’t like the Twitter, they’re nervous about the tariffs but they’re scared witless about Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders or Pete Buttigieg,” as GOP strategist Brian Fraley, himself a former Never Trumper, noted. “Nothing rallies a diverse group of people like a common opponent.”
Kathy Kiernan, chairman of the 5th Congressional District GOP, offered this take: “I hear less and less people complaining about the tweets. People want Trump yard signs now. Everybody is trying to get their hands on anything Trump and you’re sold out before your day is over…I believe that the president has truly won a lot of these people over.”
In truth, it’s probably possible for Trump to win Wisconsin without the most robust turnout from the WOW counties. A key reason he carried Wisconsin by a slim margin was the unprecedented rural vote — he got 63 percent of that vote — in 2016.
“Brian Reisinger, a GOP strategist and longtime Walker adviser, predicted Trump would easily carry rural Wisconsin, the story reported.
“Farmers and others are supporting what the president is doing with getting tough with China,” he said. “They trust the president to stick it to China the way nobody has in the past.”
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