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As Joe Biden Visits Wisconsin, Will Swing Voters In The Badger State Prove Crucial In November?

© AP Photo / Carolyn KasterJoe Biden boarding a plane to Kenosha, Wisconsin on 3 September.
Joe Biden boarding a plane to Kenosha, Wisconsin on 3 September. - Sputnik International
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Donald Trump shocked Hillary Clinton’s campaign office in 2016 by winning Wisconsin, a traditional Democrat stronghold which had last gone Republican way back in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was President.  

Joe Biden is visiting Kenosha, Wisconsin on Thursday, 3 September, and is due to meet the father of Jacob Blake, who has been paralysed after being shot seven times in the back by a white police officer last month.

​The Democratic nominee’s visit comes 48 hours after President Donald Trump visited the city, which is on the shores of Lake Michigan in the south-east corner of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin - which is known as The Badger State, because of the nickname given to Cornish migrants who mined for lead there in the 1820s - is also set to become a crucial swing state in this year’s presidential election.

On the eve of his visit to Wisconsin, Joe Biden said: "This is about making sure that we move forward" and he stressed he would not be going to Kenosha to "tell them what to do."

The violence and disorder in Kenosha and in cities like Portland, Oregon, has put Biden in a difficult position.

He is not keen to condemn Black Lives Matter campaigners, who are considered to be mostly natural Democrat voters, but if he does not support the police he is in danger of losing voters in the centre ground who have been unimpressed by Trump especially during the coronavirus crisis.

© Morry GashA Black Lives Matter activist shouts as a Trump supporter watches on in Kenosha, Wisconsin
As Joe Biden Visits Wisconsin, Will Swing Voters In The Badger State Prove Crucial In November? - Sputnik International
A Black Lives Matter activist shouts as a Trump supporter watches on in Kenosha, Wisconsin

So why has Wisconsin become so important this year?

A poll by Marquette University carried out last month - before the Jacob Blake shooting - put Biden five points ahead of Trump in Wisconsin.

The Badger State had voted for the Democrats in every single presidential election between 1988 and 2012 and was considered such a “blue state” that Hillary Clinton did not bother to campaign there in 2016.

That year Trump got 47.9 percent of the popular vote in Wisconsin, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 46.9 percent, with the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson winning 3.58 percent.

​The Democrats may have considered it safe in 2016 but between 1932 and 1988 Wisconsin was something of a swing state.

Franklin D. Roosevelt won it in 1932, 1936 and 1940. He lost it to the Republicans in 1944, but managed to get re-elected to the White House, only to die six months after the election.  

© REUTERS / LEAH MILLISFILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he stands with Kenosha police and business people while examining property damage to a business while visiting the city in the aftermath of recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice and ensuing violence after the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., September 1, 2020
As Joe Biden Visits Wisconsin, Will Swing Voters In The Badger State Prove Crucial In November? - Sputnik International
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he stands with Kenosha police and business people while examining property damage to a business while visiting the city in the aftermath of recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice and ensuing violence after the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., September 1, 2020

His successor Harry Truman won Wisconsin in 1948 but the Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower carried the state in 1952 and 1956.

The Democrat, John F. Kennedy, was unable to win it in 1960 but was still elected President.

​After his assassination, victory in Wisconsin helped Lyndon B. Johnson to win the 1964 election.

Richard Nixon - who had won the state during his 1960 defeat - carried Wisconsin in 1968 and 1972 but Jimmy Carter won it back for the Democrats in 1976.

Four years later it swung back to the Republicans when Ronald Reagan was elected President and it stayed red in 1984.

This time round its 10 electoral college votes will be all to play for.

​Last month the Wisconsin Elections Commission recommended West and his running mate Michelle Tidball be kept off the ballot in the state because they missed deadline to submit 2,000 signatures from voters.

The Democrats claim the Republicans are covertly pushing West's candidacy in a bid to take away crucial votes from the Democrats in a handful of swing states, such as Wisconsin.

Around 35 percent of those polled in Wisconsin said they planned to send mail-in votes, rather than in person, which meant President Trump’s recent attempts to reduce funding for the US Postal Service could have been crucial if they had not been reversed by Congress.

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