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Donald Trump Heads to Crucial Campaign Stops

Two states neither 2024 contender can afford to take for granted.

by | Apr 2, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

Today (April 2), former President Donald Trump takes his 2024 campaign to Michigan and Wisconsin, two states that will likely have a significant impact on the upcoming presidential election. Despite historically low approval ratings, Joe Biden is still giving Trump a run for his money in most polls – either statistically tied with him or not so far behind as to be staring defeat in the face. In a couple of the most recent surveys, the incumbent enjoys a slight edge, so this is shaping up to be another presidential election that will be decided by a handful of battleground states.

In 2016, Trump carried Michigan with a margin of less than 12,000 votes – but even that was an achievement. He was the first Republican to take the state since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Barack Obama easily carried Michigan in 2008 and 2012 with approximately 16 and 10 percentage point margins of victory, respectively. In 2020, Biden came out on top, 50.6%-47.8%. If Trump can repeat his 2016 success, those 16 Electoral College votes could make all the difference.

Biden also carried Wisconsin in 2020 – by about 20,000 votes. The Badger State handed Trump a razor-thin victory in 2016, making him the first Republican White House contender to win there since an incumbent Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Trump was leading in almost all Wisconsin polls up until late March, but the race has tightened, and, at this point, it is impossible to predict a winner. In Michigan, it’s the same story.

Trump Facing Campaign Hurdles

Meanwhile, the 45th president, who has become known as a prolific and apparently tireless campaigner, is finding it difficult to maintain his usually busy rally schedule. A March 26 article in The Hill explained why:

“The former president’s ability to hold rallies moving forward may be limited after a New York judge set a trial date for April 15 in Trump’s case over an alleged hush money scheme during the 2016 campaign. Trump will be in court four out of five days during the week, leaving him scarce time to hold large events for his campaign.”

Understandably, Trump and his supporters claim the various legal cases brought against him are less about justice or alleged crimes than they are about sabotaging his 2024 campaign. It is difficult not to recognize there might be something to this narrative: Biden is a deeply unpopular incumbent if the polls are to be believed. He is presiding over a struggling economy, soaring prices, multiple foreign policy crises, out-of-control crime in many parts of the country, and an illegal immigration catastrophe that is even touching the Upper Midwest states he will need to win if he is to secure a second term.

Add to that his obviously deteriorating physical and cognitive health – meaning that he can’t possibly compete with Trump’s always-popular MAGA rallies – and one could hardly be criticized for suspecting, rightly or wrongly, that it is in Biden’s best interest to have Trump off the campaign trail.

Also critical in the next election are the states of North Carolina, Arizona, and possibly New Hampshire and Georgia. If it comes down to the wire, Wisconsin – and perhaps Michigan too – could be where the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is determined. Neither Biden nor Trump can afford to make any assumptions about where the hearts of voters in either of those states lie.

Read More From Graham J Noble

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