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Wisconsin’s Kenosha County shows why hoping for a last-minute shake-up could be perilous for Trump

  • October 23, 2020

Cramer said that given the polarization in the country, which was reflected in Wisconsin, nothing short of a new international military conflict was likely to change many minds. And, even then, she said, it was hard to imagine people who didn’t like Trump suddenly rallying around him if the U.S. went to war.

“It’s hard to imagine something that would change the race at this point,” she said.

The stickiness of voters’ preferences isn’t all bad for Trump. It could also mute the impact of news events that would, in an ordinary race, hurt the incumbent.

On Monday, for instance, the tech website The Verge published a major investigation showing that a Foxconn LCD factory that Trump had touted as an economic engine for southeastern Wisconsin will almost certainly never create the jobs he had promised.

On Wednesday, Wisconsin reported a record number of deaths from the spreading Covid-19 pandemic. Seventy-four people in Kenosha County, which has a population of under 200,000, died of the disease as of Tuesday.

Cramer said that partisans on both sides are looking at those events in ways that suit their preferred candidate, meaning Trump might not suffer a political hit as a different president might.

Joe Zepecki, a Democratic strategist in the state, said the fact that the Blake shooting did not swing the race in Wisconsin was a bad sign for Trump, who needs the race to shift quickly. Early voting kicked off across Wisconsin on Tuesday.

Worse for the president, Zepecki predicted that Covid-19’s recent uptick in the state will prove to be more salient.

“I think it is clear that the most important shoe to fall has been Covid-19,” Zepecki said. “That’s not to say that everyone who voted for him is abandoning him.”

Zepecki believes the race will be close but that Biden will come away the winner.

Trump, who visited southern Wisconsin for an event on Saturday, continued to downplay the virus.

“I wish you had a Republican governor because, frankly, you’ve got to open your state up. You’ve got to open it up,” Trump said. He added that if he wins Wisconsin “we win the whole ball game.”

A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign said that they will beat Biden in the state with an effective ground game.

“President Trump built the greatest economy in the world, created jobs, and has stood up for law and order, whereas Biden oversaw the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, killed Wisconsin jobs, and has been weak in the face of his supporters’ violent riots,” the spokeswoman, Samantha Zager, said in a statement.

“The Trump campaign’s massive ground game ensures we will turn out President Trump’s supporters by Election Day, and Biden simply won’t be able to compete with a nonexistent field program,” Zager said.

The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

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