President Donald Trump's election chances, once again, will likely hinge on Wisconsin's suburbs -- but he can't expect a "free ride."
Hillary Clinton infamously lost the crucial state after failing to campaign there in the waning days before the 2016 election, but some GOP voters there are souring on the president, reported Politico.
“For the president to win Wisconsin again, he’s not going to have the free ride he had last time,” said Brandon Scholz, former executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party. "He’s not going to have Hillary Clinton sitting on her hands “He’s going to have a completely engaged opposition party on the ground.”
Milwaukee and Madison are reliably Democratic, but enthusiasm is waning for Trump in the traditionally more conservative "WOW" counties — Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington —surrounding those population centers.
“It isn’t that the Republican Party is withering away in the WOW counties, it was that they weren’t particularly thrilled with Trump and they showed it by not voting for him,” said Charles Franklin, a Marquette Law School pollster. “Trump still struggles to get more than 40 percent approval, even in the WOW counties. It really is an open question about whether Republicans have come back to him here.”
Trump's performance in those counties 2016 fell behind the level of support for Mitt Romney four years before, and Republican voters are still worried about the president's character and temperament.
“There comes a point where everybody has their own threshold of how much they can take,” said Aaron Perry, a Waukesha alderman who changed his party affiliation in June from Republican to Democrat. “We’re getting to the point now where there’s no way he’s gaining supporters. The only way for Trump to go is down.”
Republicans remain optimistic that Trump can carry the state again if he convinces voters that his opponents are dangerous.
“They don’t like the Twitter, they’re nervous about the tariffs but they’re scared witless about Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders or Pete Buttigieg,” said GOP strategist Fahey, a former Never Trumper who now backs the president. “Nothing rallies a diverse group of people like a common opponent.”