Election day is here. We at Wisconsin Right Now have spent endless hours pouring over polls, researching, interviewing and analyzing poll data. We are, like many out there, conflicted on what we are seeing. On the one hand, we see polling data putting Biden up 17 points in Wisconsin and with an overall significant lead nationally. However, our personal observations and research, along with history and the current environment, suggest President Donald Trump could win for some of the same reasons he stunned Hillary Clinton and the nation in 2016 – and a few new ones.
James Carville once famously said of politics, “It’s the economy, stupid.” He was referring to the Bill Clinton campaign, of course. But this applies to Trump. Polls show Americans give him higher marks on the economy, and it’s clear the stock market prefers the president. If Americans vote based on who they think will be more likely to improve the economy, they’ve got to go with Trump.
Trump has hit a law-and-order message hard. We find it difficult to believe that most Americans, including so-called suburban “security moms,” appreciate the total anarchy and burning businesses they see on their TV sets. We think most Americans like their local Police Departments and don’t want police abolished or defunded. We doubt that torching an office furniture store in Kenosha and burning a police precinct and businesses in Minneapolis helped Biden win those areas. There’s a reason Trump chose Kenosha for one of his final rallies of the campaign. Looting and rioting in Philadelphia certainly won’t boost Biden’s chances in that state. If Trump wins, thank Black Lives Matter. In times of disorder, people turn to a candidate who shows strength.
Could Trump stage a surprise upset in Minnesota? The polls say it’s possible. If so, thank Mayor Jacob Frey and his decision to hand over the keys of the police precinct to arsonists.
There is little debate Biden is up in the polls. COVID has brought misery and economic destruction to the country. If Biden wins, a big reason is probably because he’s not Hillary Clinton. She was a uniquely polarizing candidate who drove away a lot of independents and even some Democrats or just kept people home. But national poll leads are irrelevant and can be off the mark in local and state level polls. Even with polls currently showing an advantage for Biden, there are plenty of states where Trump is slightly ahead or within the margin of error that could break for Trump and the Electoral College math could work out for him once again. In addition, pollsters that factor in such Trump-unique phenomena like “shy voters” secretly voting for Trump have the president leading or closer in some key states. Check out the Trafalgar Group as an example of this; the pollster predicted key states right in 2016 when no one else was, and they’re showing Trump winning in some important battleground states like Florida and Michigan. The pollster has its critics, to be sure. In addition to shy voters, though, they believe that traditional polls miss irregular voters who Trump brought out of the woodwork. The biggest argument for a Biden victory is the polls. But we all remember what happened in 2016. If anything, it’s become more risky to admit you support Trump, which is just wrong in a free country. Hillary Clinton was banking on the polls being right too. Look how that turned out.
We’re also curious whether Trump improves his standing with Republicans, helping achieve victory. We don’t think there are many “Never Trump Republicans” left. An example of this: The WOW counties that ring Milwaukee County. Trump underperformed in those counties in 2016 for a Republican, in part because of relentlesss attacks from a talk radio host who is no longer there and because he was, then, a non-traditional candidate who had been going after Republican establishment elites. Since that time, he’s adopted a hardcore GOP agenda, pleasing Republicans with his Supreme Court picks and economic focus. If he gets a higher percentage in the populous WOW counties, that would help him a lot in Wisconsin.
COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising, and this year has been surreal in so many ways for all Americans. But do Americans blame Trump for it? We doubt it, outside of hard-core Democrats who weren’t going to vote for him anyway. Most Americans get, we think, that the virus was a surprise and unpredictable thing that no one knew much about on the front end. Americans are pandemic fatigued and want nothing more than to return to normal life, which is a current theme Trump is highlighting. Biden promises an isolated, austere America with no normalcy in sight. Trump, now a COVID-19 survivor, maintains that it is time to open up the economy and limit our concerns about the spread of the virus. There’s no question those issues will play a key role in the election. The downside to this angle is that Trump coming down with COVID made that issue front and center of discussion in the waning weeks of the campaign instead of a Trump favorable issue like the economy. That hurt him. However, he kicked it fast. However, small business owners, including those who are Democrats and Independents, have suffered under Democratic lockdowns. Will some of them flip to Trump? The positive message for America is usually the one that wins in presidential elections, not the depressing alternative.
Trump’s stamina, doing five energy rallies a day is simply unbelievable for anyone, not to mention a 74 year old. The American people are watching this intense rally schedule, which conveys a message that he really wants this job, and has the endurance to do it.
Biden and his campaign are making mistakes. Biden was late in hitting the campaign trail, and when he does, his appearances are lackluster. The Biden campaign’s failure to get on the ground in neighborhoods early and often is another bad decision ignoring the lessons learned from prior campaigns.
Considering what happened to Hillary and her decision not to stop in Wisconsin, even once, is proving reckless. The American voter want to see a leader traveling the county and engaging with voters. Biden appeared at Mitchell airport in front of 12 people, including political insiders, who were sitting in circles. Does that count as visiting Wisconsin? Barely. We think if Trump wins it’s due, in part, to his tireless rally schedule in the final week. He really wants it, and it shows. His rallies have been policy-heavy seal-the-deal closing arguments.
Trump’s performance in one of the debates was bad. You know which one. Even for him, he simply went too far. Trump appeared like he controlled the stage. He interrupted often and came off as a bully and likely turned off some suburban and rural woman who may have been looking for a reason to vote for him. If Trump loses, due to early voting, blame that debate in part.
Biden’s poor performance in the final debate should not be underestimated. The message he sent was that he would eliminate the oil industry and would transition from it because the “oil industry pollutes, significantly.” Trump jumped on that statement and capitalized on it. The economy is in a fragile state, and to make that statement was a huge blunder. He very well could lose Pennsylvania, where fracking is very important, over that comment and hence the presidency. It hurt Biden in Texas, which was somewhat competitive. Pennsylvania matters a lot tonight. If Biden loses, blame his comment on oil.
Black and Latino Voters
We think Trump is going to do much better with black voters than in 2016. Pre-pandemic, black unemployment was at historic record lows. Trump signed and lobbied for criminal justice reform, which resulted in the release of many black prisoners. Biden is haunted by some of his recent comments like “You ain’t Black” or “Unlike the African-American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly diverse attitudes about different things.” He’s the guy who referred to “super predators,” not Trump. When referencing President Obama, Biden said, “You got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” If Trump loses, it will be because elderly voters and rural whites preferred Biden to Hillary and because of turnout among an angry left. If he wins, black and Latino men will likely have played a key role.
Biden’s Mental Deterioration
Wisconsin Right Now finds the obvious signs of Biden’s mental deterioration quite troubling. What is even more troubling is the media’s refusal to report on it. The media was all too happy to report on the president’s opponent’s talks to invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump for some time now, but yet we hear crickets from them in regards to Biden. We think the American people see these obvious signs and that is a concern to them. There are many video examples of Biden making nonsensical comments that raise legitimate concerns about his mental state. In addition, the media have virtually ignored the Hunter Biden laptop story. If Biden wins, it’s partly because the media have neglected their duty to look into these things. If Trump wins, it’s because enough of it got through in a media ecosphere that includes alternative voices.