Thursday, May 14, 2020

Even Conservatives Think Trump's "Big Win" In WI-07 Is A Sign Of Trouble For Him

The last time a Democrat got above 43 percent of the vote in that district, a Democratic candidate for president won the state.

President Donald Trump this week stated that Tom Tiffany's win in Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District's special election was a "big" victory. The numbers, of course, tell a different tale.

Image via The White House/Flickr
The 7th District, like most of the political boundaries in the state, were wildly gerrymandered by Republicans last decade. Indeed, prior to the last census, the district had been held by Democrat Dave Obey for decades. After his departure — and after a redraw of the district that changed its normal-looking shape change into one that dips into the middle of the state for no reason, splitting a number of counties in half — it has been held by Republicans exclusively.

Let's not split hairs here: Tiffany won, and that's a loss for Democrats. The race itself shouldn't be looked at in any other way.

But the president acting as if it's a win for Republicans, or for himself? Not so much.

Consider that the district voted for Republican Sean Duffy, a Republican, in 2016 (the same year Trump won the presidential election in the state) with 61.7 percent share of the vote going for the former congressman. Four years later, during the special election, Tiffany's numbers sank somewhat, to 57.2 percent.

That difference in electoral outcomes may not sound like much, but in a state where Trump's victory was decided by less than 23,000 votes (a margin of 0.7 percent statewide), that point drop (which really represents an 8 percent change from Republican totals election year-to-election year) means a heckuva lot.

Others are taking note of the win that Trump is calling "big" and seeing that it's not-so-much a victory for the president as it is a sign that he's facing difficulties in the state. Jennifer Horn, former chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party and a founding member of The Lincoln Project (a group of conservatives who are dedicated to ensuring Trump doesn't win reelection), explained just how worried Trump should be.

"Donald Trump can’t afford to lose even 1 percent of the vote, much less 8 percent. His failures of leadership are catching up with him in the most tragic way possible," Horn said.

The former state party chair went onto elaborate that Wisconsinites would not trust Trump to lead again — especially since he was failing so hard at controlling the coronavirus crisis:
Over 82,000 Americans have lost their lives in this pandemic — including, unfortunately, over 400 Wisconsinites — due in great part to the president’s gross incompetence. The president has put his own political interests ahead of the safety and well-being of the American people and he will pay the price in November.
Horn is not wrong. Trump's approval rating in Wisconsin is slipping, with the latest Marquette Law School poll showing 47 percent approve of his job while 49 precent disapprove. On the issue of how he's handling coronavirus, his numbers are worse: 44 percent approve while 51 percent disapprove.

In March, the Marquette Law School poll showed a slightly higher approval rating in general, and a much higher approval rating on coronavirus, almost flipped from what his May numbers looked like on that subject.

The most recent Marquette Law School poll also demonstrates Trump is losing in a hypothetical election against presumptive Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden, by a margin of three points. Trump's Real Clear Politics average between him and Biden shows about the same spread.

One last thing to point out: as mentioned above, Tiffany's numbers showed he garnered around 57 percent of the overall vote. His Democratic opponent, Tricia Zunker, got around 43 percent of the vote.

The last time a Democrat managed to get over 43 percent of the vote in the gerrymandered version of the 7th Congressional District was in 2012 — the year Barack Obama won Wisconsin yet again in his reelection campaign for president.

The special election congressional race in Wisconsin this week was indeed a win for the Republican running in it — but it wasn't really much of a win at all for the man in the White House.

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