Monday, December 19, 2022

As WisGOPs chose MAGA and resentment, suburbanites and city dwellers chose WisDems.

Really good deep dive from the Journal_Sentinel's Craig Gilbert discussing the electoral trends within Wisconsin over the past few years. It included these stunning numbers, which shows how Democrats made huge gains in the Milwaukee suburbs in the 2018 and 2022 elections, well past the 10 point change between Scott Walker's re-election in 2014, and Tony Evers' re-election last month.

It makes a decent man proud to be a Tosa East grad.

And while we know all about how Madison has become a Dem behemoth at the ballot box, let's note that the GOP's collapse in the burbs isn't just around Milwaukee. It's also in Dane County suburbs like Fitchburg, Middleton, and Sun Prairie, which are not only rapidly growing in population, but also growing margins for Dem candidates.

While Republicans have lost ground statewide, Gilbert notes they're doing better in rural Wisconsin than they ever have before.
One way to measure this is to use Wisconsin’s more than 1,200 towns as a proxy for the rural vote. Towns account for about two-thirds of the state’s communities (the rest are cities and villages), but only about 30% of the statewide vote, because these communities are overwhelmingly small.

In the 2006 contest for governor, won by Democrat Jim Doyle, Republicans carried Wisconsin’s towns by a combined margin of 5.5 points. Then came the rural red wave. Walker carried Wisconsin’s towns by 23 points in 2010 and by 25 points in 2014.

In the 2012 race for president, won by Democrat Barack Obama, Republicans carried the towns by 12 points. But Trump carried them by 25 in both 2016 and 2020.

This year, Michels did almost as well as Trump in the towns (winning them by 24 points). In the Senate race, Johnson won them by more than Trump or Walker ever did – 29 points. It was also an improvement on Johnson’s own performance in 2016, when he won the towns by 25 points.
This is the gamble that worked for the Wisconsin GOP as long as the traditionally GOP suburbs stuck with them. But it got pushed to another level of MAGA-ness in the Trump era, and now is backfiring on them in the burbs and the larger cities.

We know that Republicans have fallen further behind in Dane and Milwaukee Counties, but Gilbert brings up an interesting note for the always-key Fox Valley area, where GOPs win big when they win statewide, but Dems keep it close when they win. And in addition to double-digit wins in the cities of Green Bay and Appleton, Dems also showed growth in GB suburbs in 2022.
...many suburban communities around Green Bay and Appleton also got bluer in this election, though the trend was not as dramatic as it was in the Milwaukee and Madison areas. Republicans won De Pere by 3 points for governor in 2018 but lost it by 6 in 2022; Democrats won the village of Allouez by 1 point in 2018 and won it by 14 in 2022.
In fact, Marquette Law School researcher John Johnson crunched the numbers in all Legislative districts, and Evers ended up winning the 19th Senate district, which includes cities such as Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, and other Outagamie County towns and suburbs.

Unfortunately, that didn't translate to the open State Senate race itself, where prior trends held, and an election-denying Republican won by 8%. But the trends are there, and the newly open 8th Senate seat in the Milwaukee suburbs is another one that has now gotten into a range that Dems have a legit chance of taking it in April, and take the GOPs' gerrymandered 2/3 majority with it.

With Dems gaining in places that have more people, WisGOPs are going to have to decide if they want to continue being MAGAtted morons, or if they want to listen to the voters that are increasingly turning Dem in burbs that Republicans used to depend on. And maybe they should actually try to work with a Governor who did very well in some of the communities and districts they represent.

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