GOP being crushed in Wisconsin as state 'shifts leftward': report
Democratic strategists once regarded Wisconsin as a reliably blue state. Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis lost California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Maine and Florida to Republican George H.W. Bush in 1988's presidential election, but he carried Wisconsin.
During the Barack Obama years, however, Democrats lost a lot of ground in the state. Republican Gov. Scott Walker won in 2010 and 2014; Republican Sen. Ron Johnson won in 2010 and 2016; and Donald Trump carried Wisconsin in 2016's presidential election.
Moreover, Republicans took over the Wisconsin State Legislature and cemented their gains with severe gerrymandering.
But in a report published on May 30, Politico's David Siders stresses that recent Democratic victories in Wisconsin have been "jarring" for "a state that, post-Barack Obama, had seemingly been shifting to the right."
"For more than a decade," Siders observes. "Republicans have used aggressive redistricting and other heavy-handed tactics in the (Wisconsin) State Legislature to press a narrow advantage into a seemingly permanent upper hand over Democrats. …. But Joe Biden won the state in 2020. And in the April election, liberal Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz beat conservative former State Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly by a whopping 11 percentage points, flipping the ideological majority of the Court."
Siders cites abortion as a major reason why Wisconsin has "shifted leftward." Protasiewicz prioritized abortion rights during her campaign and hammered Kelly relentlessly on the issue.
Republican Rohn W. Bishop, mayor of Waupun, Wisconsin and former chair of the Fond du Lac County GOP, told Politico, "We got our butts kicked. What the Republican base demands and what independent voters will accept are growing further apart."
Walker was voted out of office in 2018, and his Democratic successor, Tony Evers, was reelected in 2022. As Walker sees it, his two gubernatorial victories and Johnson's three U.S. Senate wins were the exception instead of the rule for Wisconsin.
Walker told Politico, "Wisconsin has historically — and I think largely continues to be — a blue state."