It looks to me like Wisconsin organizers are leaving it all on the field. No regrets. i respect that.
Organizers are working hard, on every front, to bring Wisconsin home for us in November. We all know about Ben Wickler’s impressive efforts, and most of us know about Souls to the Polls in Milwaukee. But what about the other work that’s going on in Wisconsin? How much do we know about that?
VidaLoca was kind enough to bring two inspirational articles to my attention this week. I believe that he is an organizer in Wisconsin, and some of you may remember him from his guest posts here a few years ago. I wanted to share the articles with anyone who might be interested, and let you know that VidaLoca plans to be here for the thread in case anyone wants to talk or has any questions.
But first, a bit of levity from one of the great movies of all time. This may be all of us on November 3.
Wisconsin: We’re All Counting On You
The New Yorker: Can Latino Voters Tip Wisconsin in Biden’s Favor?
Each month, the list of Latino voters who have promised Gabriel Quintero to cast a ballot for Joe Biden has steadily grown. Quintero works the night shift at a foundry in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he settled in the nineties, after moving from Mexico City. Outside work, he is known as a vocero—someone who spreads the word—and a leader of a volunteer effort to increase turnout among Latinos in Wisconsin. “In the beginning, I was very skeptical,” Quintero told me of the initiative, which was started by a Milwaukee-based advocacy group, Voces de la Frontera Action. As someone who has not yet gained the right to vote, Quintero couldn’t conceive why anyone would choose to forgo theirs. In conversations with relatives, close friends, and members of his church, he realized that a sense of alienation was at play.
“A lot of them asked, ‘Why go voting if my vote won’t make a difference?’ They thought the margins of victory were much larger than they actually are,” Quintero said. Over the past several months, the group has been trying to persuade twenty-three thousand voters to support Biden in November—a number roughly equal to Donald Trump’s margin of victory in the state four years ago. The work has been painstaking because of distrust sown in the community by a federal immigration crackdown and the state’s history of voter suppression. So far, nearly eighteen thousand voters have pledged to back the Democratic nominee; Quintero has persuaded fifty people, triple the number he had initially hoped. “And that’s only me,” Quintero said, alluding to the fact that he is one of five hundred voceros in Milwaukee. “If each one of us can draw some fifty voters to the polls, just imagine how that number grows.”
New York Times: What Will It Take to Vote in Milwaukee?
The pandemic is making voting more complicated, with higher stakes. But, activists note, it’s just one more thing to worry about on top of strict identification and mail-in ballot laws that can disproportionately make it difficult for eligible low-income voters, and Black and Latino voters, to cast their ballots.
Across the city’s predominantly Black North Side and Latino South Side, organizers and activists are registering new voters and helping others navigate the system.
Eugenia Medina moved to the United States from Mexico for a housekeeping job in the 1970s, but was naturalized just this summer. She cast her first ballot at an elementary school on the South Side last month.
In her work for Voces de la Frontera Action, a voter advocacy group, she calls and texts community members to make sure they know how to vote.
“You have to push the door until you finally have what you dreamed for,” she said. For her, that dream includes voting in the presidential election and helping others do the same.
Nadxely Sanchez, 18, and Gissell Vera, 20, are both first-generation Americans who became organizers in their communities.
Ms. Sanchez has spoken to several people who didn’t know they could vote by mail in the November election. Many lack information, she said.
Ms. Vera, who was born in the United States but grew up in Mexico, returned to attend Marquette University. Voting this year is so important to her, she said, that she planned to go in person, despite the risks.
“I know that way my vote is being counted,” she said. “We’re not in times of giving people the benefit of the doubt.”
Just a few minutes ago, someone posted this article about Wisconsin. Lots of good info.
FiveThirtyEight: Wisconsin Was Never A Safe Blue State
These trends have left Wisconsin a light red state; according to FiveThirtyEight’s partisan lean metric (newly updated for the 2020 cycle!),2 the state is 2.8 points more Republican-leaning than the nation as a whole. Yet Democrats could easily still win it in 2020, given Biden’s double-digit lead against Trump nationally, and considering they have multiple (non-mutually exclusive) paths forward in the state.
First, they could keep improving among suburban voters. As the map above shows, the Milwaukee suburbs were pretty much the only part of Wisconsin that actually moved toward Democrats in 2016. The problem is that, unlike, say, the Philadelphia suburbs, Milwaukee’s are still deeply Republican. The so-called “WOW counties” — Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington — have historically been the center of Republican power in the state, powering such politicians as former Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus and former Gov. Scott Walker. And all the Trump era has done is turn them from maroon to crimson: Even as Republicans bombed in other suburban areas around the country, Trump still carried the WOW counties in 2016 by 28 percentage points, and Walker carried them by 35 points in Wisconsin’s 2018 gubernatorial race. It will be very interesting to see if Biden can continue to eat into that margin, though — if so, it could have long-term implications for Wisconsin politics.
Second, Democrats could fix their turnout problem among Black voters. According to the CAP analysis, 74 percent of eligible Black voters turned out to vote in Wisconsin in 2012, but only 55 percent did in 2016. Given that Black Wisconsinites voted for Clinton 92 percent to 4 percent, that was a huge blow to Democrats: According to CAP’s calculations, Clinton would have won Wisconsin if Black voters had turned out at 2012 levels but everything else had stayed the same.3
Third, of course, Democrats could win back some non-college-educated white voters. This may be the path of least resistance: In the 2018 gubernatorial race, Democrat Tony Evers won six predominantly white, working-class counties in southwest Wisconsin that Trump carried in 2016. And according to a Siena College/The New York Times Upshot poll of Wisconsin from early October, Trump led Biden just 50 percent to 44 percent among white voters without a bachelor’s degree — much closer to the 2012 margin than 2016’s.
Indeed, it appears that Biden is on track for something much closer to the comfortable Democratic victories he and his old boss enjoyed in Wisconsin in 2008 and 2012 than Clinton’s showing in 2016. The FiveThirtyEight forecast gives Biden an 88 in 100 chance of winning the state; the average projected vote share margin is Biden 53.0 percent, Trump 46.1 percent. But Biden owes that commanding lead mostly to his overall national strength: We’re expecting him to win the national popular vote by 8.3 points — which means that Wisconsin is still more Trump-friendly than average.
Happy Friday, everyone. Just 17 days to get it done. If we win, no matter how crazy it gets, the end of this madness will be in sight. Let’s do it.