As we enter the final turn of the horse race that is the 2020 presidential election, all eyes are on the swing states. Most specifically, the rust belt at the upper midwest. If you're a political junkie, you've no doubt heard the refrain repeatedly by this point- Hillary Clinton, despite winning the popular vote by just under three million, fell about 77,000 votes short in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Throw in Ohio and Minnesota, and well, most of the Big Ten conference really is located in crucial battleground states. The Upper Midwest or Rust Belt if you will. Today, we focus on America's Dairyland, where the latest polling shows Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump by seven points.
Additionally, the odds favor Biden at -250, while Trump is an underdog at +175. While Wisconsin went to Trump last time, by the narrowest of margins at 47%-46%, the cheese producing capital of the world isn't truly a purple state, in the most complete sense. At least not when you look at recent history. This isn't Florida, where it could easily go either way every four years.
Looking at the data at Electoral Vote, one sees that the Democrats took the state in the previous six presidential elections prior to 2016. While John Kerry (2004) and Al Gore (2000) won the badger state by just one point, Obama won it by seven points in 2012 and a whopping 13 points in 2008.
Additionally, Bill Clinton took it by double digits in 1996. Of course, any Upper Midwestern and/or Rust Belt state can very unpredictable in the era of de-industrialization. Via a combination of globalization and technological advances, a majority of manufacturing jobs have disappeared, and they're never coming back.
What the economically displaced choose to believe is the reason why, and how a politician can tap into those beliefs, is key towards winning these states. Perhaps the defining moment in the 2020 Presidential race, from a Wisconsin stand point, was the incumbent's response to the rioting in Kenosha.
Upon touring the damage and carnage in the Lake Michigan adjacent Wisconsin city, Students for Trump posted a photo of POTUS 45 with the caption: "President @realDonaldTrump tours what Biden will do to America."
The tweet, posted in early September, and the concept itself was universally mocked on social media, and deservedly so. However, the messaging was actually pretty close to the rhetoric of Republican National Convention- "America under Biden will be a hellscape."
You just cannot sell an idea like that while amidst civil unrest at a generational scale. Not to mention the concept of "we have problems, so let's the blame the guy who hasn't even won, let alone taken charge yet." That's an extremely intelligence-insulting sales pitch. Wisconsin was probably decided for good in that moment.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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Filed under: Current Events