The Good News Out of Wisconsin

There was some good news out of Wisconsin last night, and no I’m not talking about the results of the presidential primary. Though to be honest, it was a little gratifying seeing Joe Biden win by such a large margin a state Bernie Sanders carried convincingly four years ago. Clearly, the Democratic Party is coalescing around him in a way it didn’t do with Hillary Clinton in 2016. So, yeah, I suppose it is good news.

But the really good news is that Democrats picked up a valuable seat on the state’s Supreme Court. Liberal Jill Karofsky beat conservative incumbent Daniel Kelly by more than 10 points. This is only the second time since 1967 that an incumbent justice has lost a seat on that bench. Why is this good news? Apart from the fact that Trump tweeted his support for Kelly multiple times, including twice on election day, it narrows the conservative majority on the Court from 5 – 2 down to 4 -3. That means that some of the decisions that typically went against Democrats in the past might tip in their favor going forward.

But more than that, it shows that Wisconsin is moving to the left, if ever so slightly. Considering Trump won the state by just under 23,000 votes, this is, to coin one of dickhead’s phrases, bigly. What makes it even more significant is that voter turnout was down by almost 15 percent due to the Coronavirus. Usually, that would spell doom for Democrats, but not this time. So what was the reason for the happy outcome? Primarily, it was two things.

The first has to do with the growth of the suburbs outside of Milwaukee, particularly the Democratic growth. What used to be a GOP stronghold is now starting to look more and more like a toss-up. To put it succinctly, Trump is losing his grip on the suburbs. The results we saw from last night were a continuation of what we witnessed in the 2018 midterms. Not only hasn’t the blue wave receded, it appears to be building up in the shallows and is ready to sweep ashore again this November. Not even a lower than expected turnout was enough to save the GOP.

The second has to do with voter outreach. And here’s where the coronavirus could actually help Biden. Because Democrats are much better with digital targeting than Republicans and because more people are now forced to stay home, they were able to get more of their base either to vote in person or by mail. It is imperative that the DNC not let up in the coming months. As many Democrats as possible must be be encouraged to ask for a mail-in ballot just in case this pandemic hasn’t subsided by the Fall. You can bet the ranch Republicans will throw everything including the kitchen sink to ensure that their base turns out in November.

In another four weeks, there’ll be a special election in Wisconsin to fill a vacant congressional seat that was held by a Republican. If Democrats can flip that seat and hold it in November, it’ll be another net gain in their House majority. And more good news from the Badger state.

Author: Peter Fegan

Progressive but pragmatic. Lover of music, die-hard Giants' fan and reluctant Mets' fan. My favorite motto? I'd rather be ruled by a smart Turk than a dumb Christian.

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