TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Ben Wikler, Chairman of the State Democratic Party of Wisconsin
RE: The Economy Will Not Help Trump In Wisconsin
DATE: December 20, 2019
In the 2020 presidential election, the economy is going to be a source of weakness, not strength, for President Donald Trump’s reelection chances in Wisconsin. He won the state by a mere 23,000 votes in 2016. Since then, he has done nothing to broaden his coalition as he has pushed an agenda that has left Wisconsinites worse off. This was made clear in 2018 when Wisconsin Democrats won every statewide election and an assembly seat that was once held by Scott Walker.
Trump’s signature piece of legislation, the 2017 tax bill, has proven to be nothing more than a handout for the largest corporations and richest Americans. It did not, as Donald Trump promised it would, raise wages, increase workforce sizes, bring jobs back from overseas, or pay for itself. Instead, companies have shelled out even bigger bonuses to their executives and consolidated their businesses to ship jobs overseas. Meanwhile, everyday Wisconsinites are not seeing any positive impact in their lives from the bill.
Trump’s erratic trade war with China has added another layer of damage to the economy that Wisconsin is feeling more than almost any other state. Wisconsin has the highest number of farm bankruptcies in the nation, with nearly three farms closing a day. While the state’s agriculture sector was having some issues before the trade war, Trump’s decision to effectively shut down the markets thousands of farmers rely on—while failing to lift a finger to address agribusiness monopolization—has made things exponentially worse. Trump has tried buying off farmers with bailout money. However, the vast majority of it has been going to the largest farms. Many farmers are already swearing off Trump altogether in 2020, with others on the verge of being pushed past the point of no return.
The pain isn’t limited to farms: the manufacturing sector is in a recession. You can see the effects of Trump’s trade war loud and clear in Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector. Since Trump came to office, companies have had to slow their business growth, putting expansions on hold and laying off workers to ensure their business can survive. Places like Racine, which is a swing county and voted for Trump in 2016, have seen a decline in jobs. Some estimates show Trump’s trade war could result in Wisconsin losing 37,344 jobs, and since Trump’s trade war started, the tariffs have cost Wisconsin nearly a billion dollars. While Trump now touts “phase 1” deal with China, he has merely agreed to what China proposed a full year ago—with nothing to show for a brutal year of tariffs except laid-off workers and economic harm.
None of the problems and hardships Trump has manufactured for Wisconsinites are going away anytime soon. What’s more is his numerous other broken promises have added even more pain to the state. His inability to lower health care costs, which are at a record high for families and refusal to support HR 3, which would lower prescription drug costs, are forcing more families to decide between paying to stay healthy and paying their rent.
Wisconsinites know they can’t afford four more years of President Donald Trump, and the state Democratic Party is taking unprecedented steps to ensure whoever the Democratic nominee is wins Wisconsin, and therefore the White House, in November.