Could that 17-point Biden lead in Wisconsin be real?

Color me skeptical. For that to happen, a lot of traditional Republicans would have to break with their party and vote for Biden. But what if — what if — they do?

These folks are still around. And there’s reason why they might. They’re farmers, small town businessmen, parents and grandparents, many are veterans. Not the kind of people you expect to be enamored of someone like Trump. Biden, on the other hand, comes across as not particularly threatening. While they probably don’t agree with some of his ideas, they can relate to him, and he’s a known quantity.

We’ll find out soon, and until then, all we have to go on is anecdotal evidence like this comment posted on Daily Kos today (read it here):

“I’ve been thinking about that Wisconsin poll that has Biden seventeen points ahead … it might be less wrong than people expect.

“I’m a county board supervisor in a purple county in western Wisconsin. Because of that I spend a fair amount of time … with the kind of conservatives who get elected to local governing boards—though we’re a non-partisan board and our people take that seriously. … These are local business people and farmers who know that their decisions have real impact on the people in their immediate communities and who are proud to be a part of making local government work.
“For the past few years I’ve been hearing rumblings to the effect that the Republicans at the state level are going too far and not listening to the people. Mostly they’ve been very quietly voiced, but all the more serious for that. When 2010 swept Republicans into power in Wisconsin we ended up as the test market for a lot of the radical conservative agenda. We got the gerrymanders, the politicization of the courts, the stripping of local control, the kneecapping of the tax system, the floods of dark money, and Scott Walker.
“Then, when the Republicans lost all the statewide offices in 2018 they stripped those offices of most their power with the willing connivence of that politicized court. It was profoundly unfair, and everyone could see that. At that point, with a lot of the more traditional … types who were already starting to worry about state Republican overreach, I think they were primed to take a good hard look at the less savory bits of what their party was doing at the state and national levels.
“Then came covid. Now, … we have our fair share of covid denialism in my county … but mostly it’s the tea party types. The more serious and thoughtful sort of local Republican—the kind that gets elected to boards—started out worried and has become steadily more alarmed as the data has come in and our county numbers have climbed. Even some of our early denialists have come around.

“While that has been happening … the state Republicans have been doing everything in their gerrymandered power to prevent the governor and the state health apparatus from doing anything to mitigate the spread. … It’s dangerous, and it’s childish …. With the huge spike we’ve seen here in Wisconsin in the past few weeks … I think all those little doubts about Walker/Trump style Republicanism may have finally broken the dam of party loyalty for a lot folks.
“I don’t expect a seventeen point blowout. I think something more like mid to high single digits is likely. But, I also wouldn’t be surprised at seventeen points. Wisconsin had a very solid preview of extreme Republican government, and it might have primed us for that partisan dam to break hard.”

If it does, Democrats should understand that the Republicans voting for them in this election aren’t switching parties; a blowout Democratic victory in 2020 will be a one-off, and not a license to stray from the political center. Their policies should be moderate, and they should focus on the things folks are worried about — Covid, the economy, health care, schools, and just calming things down. If Biden and the Democrats take over, they should set about disproving everything Trump said about them.

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  1. Mark Adams #

    Or polling has gotten worse since 2016. There is good reason to be skeptical. Biden simply is not more popular than Franklin Roosevelt, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. It is also entirely possible that Republicans and others are saying one thing to pollsters, but when they actually vote it is not what they told the pollster.

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