The president’s challenge in November is not only to hold on to those who supported him last time but to win over new voters to offset the increased determination by Democrats in the Wisconsin’s larger cities to vote this time and a shift away from him in some conservative suburbs.
Trump has his work cut out in rural Forest county, in the upper reaches of rural Wisconsin, which has consistently backed presidential election winners of either party in recent times.
His support remains soft in the county among some of those who voted for him before … and who have long criticised his erratic leadership, confrontational tweets and outright lies but who remained loyal because they said the economy was strong. The only plus for Trump is there is little evidence of widespread enthusiasm for Biden.
Terri Burl, the Republican county chair until last month, concedes that Trump is struggling.
‘It’s a coin toss here with Wisconsin. Things are a little more ominous now for us. But I’m not a pessimist. I’m an optimist. The word out there is that we just have to stay positive, we have to get a positive message out,’ said Burl, a former social worker.
But it’s hard to push the positive in the middle of a pandemic, mass unemployment and a tanking economy.