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The Midwest Holds the Cards for Biden and Trump

Is there a way to win over the hearts and votes of the heartland?

by | Jun 22, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

Regardless of what the elite coastal enclaves might believe, the real fight for the future of America is within the middle of the nation. From the crumbling blue wall of labor strongholds to bucolic small-town life and rural living, the victorious candidate of 2024 will be decided by the people who embrace family, hard work, good manners, and a sense of pride in the Republic. Both Republicans and Democrats chose Midwest swing states to hold their national conventions: Milwaukee and Chicago, respectively. Both candidates have struggled to get some distance in favorability but remain in somewhat of a standoff – at least according to the latest polls.

It’s a tossup as to who will come out on top: Is it Joe Biden or Donald Trump – or a political surprise popping out of the box in the eleventh hour? What is clear, however, is that Mr. Biden is struggling in all the Midwestern states.

When they selected Chicago, the Democrats felt they could highlight the party’s diversity and “formidable coalition” and that the Midwest would “showcase President Biden’s economic agenda.” It’s sort of like a Build Back Better reboot. But much has happened since the location was announced. Unchecked immigration ravages the city as locals continue to suffer and voters are beginning to rebel. A small but vocal cadre of pro-Palestinian protesters lurks around every corner demanding a cease-fire in Gaza, and no one can afford an $18 Maxwell Street hotdog.

Add in migration trends that have residents fleeing Big blue states like California and New York in favor of more rural areas. Is there a way to win over the hearts and votes of the Midwest nice folks, the angry progressives, and the disgruntled bunch of independents who reside in the heartland?

Biden Blue Wall Has the Blues

Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois are the Midwest faction of the Blue Wall – a group of states that voted for Democratic presidential nominees in every election from 1992 to 2020, apart from 2016. Even the “Wall” didn’t like Hillary. Those states, in the politest of ways, are telling Joe Biden he has not done a very good job so far. So why should they let him stay in office?

Not only are these states chock full of rural enterprises, but they are also home to labor unions. Joe Biden is probably the most labor-friendly president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, who proclaimed: “Only a handful of unreconstructed reactionaries harbor the ugly thought of breaking unions. Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of the right to join the union of their choice.”

“Nobody can take union members for granted,” said Steve Smith, deputy director of the AFL-CIO. “There’s nothing magical about union members that they’re going to vote Democrat. It all comes down to the communication.”

GettyImages-2158011085 Joe Biden

Joe Biden (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

But the love of Joe is waning.

In February, the Teamsters donated a sizeable amount to the Republican National Committee after its president, Sean O’Brien, met Trump the previous month. O’Brien may be a pop-up guest speaker at both conventions this summer.

In 2016, Trump won Michigan with a tiny margin of 0.3%. In 2020, Biden took it back for the Democrats by 2.8%. Recent polls show union voters in the Wolverine State voters are giving the president a nine-point edge over Trump. But that number is declining; he once held a 25-point advantage among union households. And he is slipping considerably with other Midwestern demographics, especially black, Middle Eastern, and young voters. Wisconsin is showing a statistical dead heat, and Minnesota has Biden at 44.5% of voters, while Trump holds steady at 40.6%. The wildcard is, of course, the undecided 7% mulling their options.

Go Midwest, Young Man

People are migrating to states with lower taxes, less business regulation, and more entrepreneurial opportunities, and they are landing in red states in search of a contented paradise. Tennessee is experiencing an influx of disgruntled Californians. The US Census Bureau released migration data showing that over 110,000 folks moved to Kentucky and nearly 150,000 people decided to make the Hoosier State home between 2021 and 2022.

To win the region – through clenching the votes in the battleground states – Joe Biden needs to either accomplish something or spin his record to show that gas and food prices are not skyrocketing, that inflation is a myth, and that he is mentally capable of four more years at the helm.

Voting is a privilege instilled in the very nature of those born and raised between the coastal elite enclaves. In the blizzard of 2024, Iowans braved the bitter cold and a foot or so of snow to participate in the Republican Caucus. Joe Biden and Donald Trump have to earn the respect and support of the midlanders if they want a trip back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Read More From Sarah Cowgill

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