Sunday, March 14, 2021

Because Trump "inspired" WisGOP voters in the sticks, we're getting the clown show of 2021

I wanted to draw attention to a very good deep dive by Criag Gilbert in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on turnout patterns in the 2020 election. What you'll find is that the themes that Republicans in Wisconsin are trying to push, in an attempt to pass new voting laws to help their chances in 2022 and beyond, are off-base from what the actual numbers tell us.

For example, Gilbert points out that while turnout was up throughout the state compared to 2016, most of the biggest jumps were in places that helped Trump's chances.
Look at where turnout grew the most in Wisconsin. Of the 20 Wisconsin counties that saw the biggest percentage growth in turnout over 2016, 16 voted for Trump, and 13 gave him bigger vote margins in 2020 than he got in 2016. Many of these were small rural counties where the total vote was much higher (14% to 19% higher) than it was in Trump’s 2016 victory. In all, Trump got almost 205,000 more votes in Wisconsin this time than last time.

A Journal Sentinel analysis found that counties where Trump did better typically had higher turnout growth than counties where he performed worse (though these correlations aren’t strong).
This correlates with something I looked at a few months ago. The counties that had the highest jumps in turnout vs population change were more likely to be turning towards Trump (marked in red) than Biden (marked in blue).
You also see that the GOP claims of "shocking turnout in Milwaukee and Madison" doesn't hold water whatsoever, proving it to be pure RW BubbleWorld BS with a side order of racism. Sure, Dane County had a large and decisive increase in votes vs 2016, but that's because Dane County is adding the most people in the state. And the COVID World likely reduced the number of students that voted around the UW-Madison campus (as it did in most counties with a UW campus last November).

And Gilbert puts down memes from both the GOP and from many national pundits, who claim that minority voters in Milwaukee were what put Biden over the top. Sure, there were a lot of votes by numbers in those areas, and voters of color in Milwaukee are an important Wisconsin Dem constituency, but urban areas in Wisconsin had lower increases in votes than the sticks or the state in general. And Milwaukee underperformed more than anyone else!
Milwaukee County had the smallest turnout increase over 2016 of any of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. And in the state’s biggest city, ultra-blue Milwaukee, turnout didn’t grow at all between 2016 and 2020. In a number of smaller Democratic cities, including Green Bay, Beloit and Racine, turnout grew by less than 10%. The overall turnout increase statewide was 11%.

Turnout (total votes cast) in all Wisconsin cities combined grew from 2016 to 2020 by 7.9%. Turnout in all Wisconsin towns combined grew by 13.6%.
Take a look at these maps from the Urban Milwaukee site. The blue-red map shows the shifts in votes toward Biden (blue) and Trump (red), and the green-purple map shows increases (green) and declines (purple) in turnout. And if you know Milwaukee, you'll see a large correlation between white (blue and green) and non-white (red and purple) areas of the City.
But making up stories about "fraud" by "THOSE PEOPLE" stirs up the trailer trash that consume RW media, and distracts them from real issues. That has proven to be an effective GOP strategy in recent years, allowing them to hold onto power long after their policies have been rejected by most voters. Gilbert notes that while Trump generally lost voters in highly educated and more diverse parts of the state, he gained among a group of people that generally didn't turn out until 2016.
Trump himself has altered perceptions about this by so effectively mobilizing supporters who haven’t been regular voters in the past. Voters without college degrees tend to vote less often than voters with college degrees. And since non-college white voters make up a growing part of the GOP coalition in the Trump era, it’s possible that higher turnout elections (which bring out irregular voters) may become more favorable to the GOP than in the past.

In Wisconsin the two highest-turnout elections in modern times were 2004 and 2020. Both were won at the presidential level by Democrats, but they were so close they were effectively “jump balls.” They were also much better elections for Republicans than the presidential contests of 2012, 2008 and 1996, which featured lower turnouts.
I suppose that theory of "Trump inspiration" (yikes) makes sense, although if I was a conspiracy theorist, I'd wonder if some ballot boxes were being stuffed by Republicans in those towns where more people are dying than being born. But I'm not a right-winger, so I won't make that excuse.

However, this might explain Our Dumb Senator's otherwise insane ramblings in the last week. Maybe he thinks this type of stuff plays well among enough hateful dimwits that it can fire up more of them to vote in 2022...or 2024. Given that mo(Ron) Johnson is talking to no one buy RW hate media, and that most of them are national, maybe he's talking more to dead-enders that vote in GOP primaries in Iowa and other states, instead of caring about the typical Wisconsin voter. There's more money and adulation with the grift of a "presidential/VP run" than in actually trying to get another term in the Senate. But that's just my theory right now.

Lastly, Gilbert says the Republicans' power-grabs against early voting and absentee balloting may be targeting a group that voted Dem in 2020, but may also be fighting the last war, with the method that voters choose could change again by 2022 and 2024.
Among the state’s 72 counties, high levels of voting by mail correlated strongly with good Democratic performance and Democratic gains over 2016. And high levels of voting on Election Day correlated strongly with good GOP performance and GOP gains over 2016, a Journal Sentinel analysis found.....

Many of the voting restrictions and regulations Republicans are proposing in Wisconsin and elsewhere are aimed at the voting method (absentee by mail) more heavily used by Democrats in 2020.

But Democrats’ reliance on voting by mail in Wisconsin in 2020 was a byproduct of the pandemic. It doesn’t mean the same pattern will continue in the future. In fact, there was no Democratic tilt in mail voting here prior to the pandemic.

That being said, it speaks volumes that Republicans believe that Stalinist show trials and whining about Potato Heads is more important than real issues, because they feel can't gain as many votes through honest discussion. GOPs in Wisconsin also feel that the gerrymander in the State Legislature will keep them in power, and allow them a veto over a Dem agenda that most Wisconsinites agree with.

And that won't change until GOPs get drilled in more than 1 election, and fall out of power in numerous aspects of our political system. So let's make that happen, to restore sanity and fair elections across our state and our country.


  1. The bar chart is confusing/wrong. Iron, Calumet, and Washington counties should not be colored blue. They went for Trump.

    1. It reflects whether Trump did better (red) or worse (blue) in those counties in 2020 vs 2016, not whether the county went for Trump or not.

      Given that Trump did 1.4% worse statewide, it’s really telling if he did better on those higher-turnout counties.

      It may be confusing, but that’s why I did it that way