Donald Trump’s hopes of returning to the White House could come down to a Rust Belt state with almost the same population as Yorkshire & Humberside.

Wisconsin, traditionally a Democratic stronghold, only really came into play for the Republican Party during the 45th President’s shock victory in 2016.


Having voted for the Democratic Party nominee in every other poll since 1988, the Badger State now represents the fault lines of the ever-changing state of US politics which emerged in a post-Trump world.

Wisconsin is not particularly large, with just 5.9 million residents handing it 10 electoral college votes.

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event, in Racine, Wisconsin

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event, in Racine, Wisconsin

REUTERS

However, after siding with Joe Biden by just over 20,000 ballots in 2020, both campaigns will look to target the Badger State as the 2024 race looks set to become the closest election to date.

It could even end up narrower than the year 2000 poll between George W Bush and Al Gore.

Despite losing the popular vote by 0.5 per cent, Bush ended up winning the race to the White House with a 537-vote lead in Florida.

After the Sunshine State fell into the Grand Old Party column, the 43rd President ended with 271 electoral college votes, just one more than what is constitutionally required to enter the White House.

I am not sure many are expecting quite as fine a margin when it comes to state-by-state voting in 2024.

However, Wisconsin could end up all the more important as American voters count down to polls opening on November 5.

Recent opinion polls do not paint a clear picture for the Badger State, with Morning Consult handing Biden a three-point advantage but Emerson College putting Trump ahead by the same margin.

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Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Sherman Middle School, in Madison, Wisconsin

Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Sherman Middle School, in Madison, Wisconsin

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Other swing states needed for Trump to have a shot at serving two non-consecutive terms in the Oval Office look far more likely, with Arizona and Georgia firmly holding up for the now-convicted former President.

North Carolina and Nevada also appear to reflect a shift in the Sunshine Belt and Bible Belt, with the Silver State last siding with a Grand Old Party candidate in 2004.

However, Trump campaign insiders have become increasingly confident about taking the four swing states, taking Trump’s electoral college haul from just 232 to 268.

Such a situation would leave the Rust Belt, key to Trump’s 2016 victory, as decisive to both Biden and his Oval Office predecessor.

Biden will hope to use his roots in Scranton to cling on in Pennsylvania, having claimed all 20 electoral college votes by just 82,000 ballots in 2020.

And Michigan, which also flipped to Biden last time, saw the 46th President open up a lead of 154,000 votes.

Opinion polls across the swing states have continued to bounce around since Biden’s disastrous debate with Trump last month renewed calls for the 81-year-old to quit the race.

Donald TrumpDonald Trump Reuters

However, with Trump’s impending and ongoing legal issues, victory for the 45th President is not yet a foregone conclusion.

Taking a closer look at the Trump campaign’s chances in Wisconsin, it quickly emerges where the 78-year-old lost ground in 2020.

There is a major difference in the Badger State between who supports Trump and who backed Biden last time around.

Biden’s victory was driven primarily following a surge in support in cities and suburbs, particularly in Dane and Milwaukee.

Despite continuing to garner large levels of support in rural Wisconsin, Trump’s support in Green Bay dropped compared to 2016.

Green Bay tells an important picture as it contains voters who backed Barack Obama before pivoting to the property-tycoon-turned-politician.

A similar shedding of the Republican vote was witnessed in Ozaukee County, which has a population of just over 90,000.

Joe BidenJoe Biden is the president of the US Reuters

Despite growing concern about Biden’s capability of serving another four-year term, expressed most recently by liberal-minded award-winning actor George Clooney, fine margins separate the two men ahead of November.

Voters who made the switch from Obama to Trump, nationally tallied at around eight million, will prove decisive on election night.

And the push for the Badger State, particularly significant given its proximity to other Rust Belt marginals, is already in full swing.

Trump held a rally in Milwaukee on June 18 at Racine’s open-air festival park.

However, the 45th President appeared to backtrack after voicing his “love” for the city, despite labelling it “horrible” previously.

Trump insiders claimed the description was made in reference to alleged but unsubstantiated voter fraud in the city.

Milwaukee is also the location of the Grand Old Party’s all-important national convention on July 15, with Trump still yet to pick his 2024 running-mate after falling out with Mike Pence over the January 6 insurrection.

Trump and Biden have already started to push for voters across Wisconsin.

Directly seeking to win back lost suburban voters, Trump said: “The violence, riots and destruction that have taken place in Milwaukee is an assault on the right of all citizens to live in security and peace.”

Efforts were ramped up after Trump reportedly made the unflattering comments, with billboards erected throughout Milwaukee blaring out the 45th President’s description.

Speaking to GB News about the fight to win Wisconsin, Trump ally Pastor Mark Burns said: “Wisconsin is very important. Consolidated polling numbers suggest that President Trump is ahead of Biden in Wisconsin just outside the margin of error of three points.”

He added: “The message to the voters of every swing state President Trump is leading in is the same, has your life been any better with four more years of Biden, who’s clearly incoherent and unable to complete sentences that people can understand clearly? ‘Dr’ Jill Biden should be ashamed of herself for not advising her husband to stand down.

“But I personally hope Biden doesn’t drop out. I need him to stay right where he is so President Trump and the American people can let our voices be heard loud and clear that we choose a stronger economy, secure borders, American jobs, less spending, endless wars and move away from woke racist policies.

“The American people will choose the greatest President in our lifetime, President Donald Trump.”

Democratic strategists have also opted to pump $50million into swing state advertisements highlighting Trump’s hush money conviction.

However, the Badger State could pose a serious legal impediment to Democrats hoping to replace Biden before November 5.

A recent ruling declared that the only allowable reason for a candidate to drop out is death.

Joe Biden listens as Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during their debate in Atlanta

Joe Biden listens as Republican presidential candidate and Donald Trump speaks during their debate in Atlanta

REUTERS

Heritage Foundation Oversight Project Executive Director Mike Howell said: “We are monitoring calls from across the country for President Biden to step aside, either now or before the election, and have concluded that the process for substitution and withdrawal is very complicated.”

Despite recent calls for Biden to step aside, the 81-year-old has unequivocally told voters that he will take on Trump in a rematch of the 2020 US Presidential Election.

Biden, who recently shared a picture with members of the Milwaukee Bucks voicing his “love” for the city, reiterated his position in Madison.

A pumped-up Biden said: “I’m running and I’m going to win.”

He added: “Despite that some folks don’t seem to care who you voted for, well guess what, they’re trying to push me out of the race.

“Well, let me say this as clearly as I can. I’m staying in the race.”

Both men know just how significant Wisconsin will be if either of them want to return to the White House.

For Trump, it is the golden opportunity to become just the second Commander-in-Chief since Grover Cleveland to serve two non-consecutive terms in the Oval Office.

But Biden’s ambition of not joining Trump on the list of Presidents to lose re-election also hangs on the Badger State.