Wisconsin a key player in 2020 election
August 12, 2020
There’s no question the state of Wisconsin will play an integral role in the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The state’s economy is getting a huge economic boost as a result of the money being invested by both the Democratic and Republican parties. Experts agree though that it’s tough to quantify exactly how much of an economic boost and how events in the first half of the year have impacted that boost.
“The money spent in Wisconsin to elect presidents has a bigger impact on people than money spent anywhere else in the country,” said Ben Wikler, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “In order to win the White House, the candidate needs to win the majority of the electoral college which can only be achieved by winning in Wisconsin.”
Money spent on television advertising is always a big deal for candidates and networks, said Travis Ridout, professor of government and public policy at the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at Washington State University. Ridout, who is also the co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks and analyzes election advertising and investigates how the media influences voters, said the increased dollars are being used to hire local staff and field organizers. This, in turn, helps local lodging and restaurant industries thrive in a normal election year.
“It’s hard to quantify exactly how much, but an extra $10 to $15 million is not unreasonable,” Ridout said.
Wikler said the initial plan to host the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee would have provided the city and state with a huge economic stimulus. At least $200 million would have been spent before and during an event of this magnitude. “With that come thousands of side events, venues, musicians, restaurants, entertainment and generally, an investment into Milwaukee,” he said.
Wisconsin is a battleground state for several reasons, said Philip Shulman, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and director of Trump Rapid Response. According to Shulman, Wisconsin residents have healthcare on their minds. They are soured on former Governor Scott
Walker’s Medicaid rejection and are disappointed in President Trump’s campaign promise of lowered prescription drug costs that hasn’t happened.
“Folks are weary of the Republicans, and the independent-minded people of Wisconsin are also tired of this,” Shulman said.
He said the recent, ongoing trade war provided an opportunity for Democrats to take back some votes. The ripple effects are proving tough for companies and farmers, and this is a direct result of the Republican influence, he said.
“People are switching to the Democratic party or are simply unmotivated to vote for Trump,” Shulman said.
According to Shulman, Trump’s character is also not helping his re-election campaign. He’s broken multiple promises with healthcare and taxes, which all adds up to a recipe of how the Democrats can regain control of the state.
“People aren’t taking Wisconsin for granted anymore,” he said. “More people have been hired to knock on doors and there is more Democratic energy. We still have to fight for every vote, but we can keep swinging the pendulum back in our direction.”
The Republican Party of Wisconsin did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article.