Election 2020

Here's How the WI Primary Looked From the 'People’s Republic of Shorewood'

Your intrepid correspondent spent the entirety of Wisconsin’s primary day working as an inspector in the drafty gym of Shorewood High School, from 6:00 a.m. set-up until 10:00 p.m., when we finally had the vote tally straight. The results in the village provide an interesting microcosm of what actually took place in the Wisconsin primary, as Ted Cruz routed Trump and Kasich, and Bernie Sanders had a similarly spectacular day against Hillary Clinton.

Readers of the pre-election analyses I published in PJ Media last week will note that I did manage to predict both results: I said that Cruz would come away with at least 33 delegates and that Trump would be limited to three to nine, depending on how many congressional districts he carried. In the end, Trump carried two of the western districts (where he always was strongest) and won six delegates; Cruz won 36. I also said that Sanders would win handily, and he was able to deliver 56.5% of the Democratic electorate.

Sanders thus won six straight Democratic primary contests, he made it seven in Wyoming on Saturday, and he may well upset Clinton in New York, where he was born and raised and where Clinton served as senator.

According to the statistics published by the Shorewood village clerk, we had 9,757 registered voters in the village. There were 6,542 votes cast — a whopping two-thirds of the available electorate. I can only say that this confirms my impressions on election day; it was like drinking from a fire hose. From the moment the polls opened at 7:00 a.m. until closing at 8:00 p.m., we never had even a five-minute break in the action, and so many people were still in line at 8:00 p.m. that voting continued for one more hour.

Shorewood happens to be a center of left-wing activism in Wisconsin, which has become proverbial in the southeastern part of the state. This too was borne out by the statistics: of those votes, 4,859 were cast in the Democratic primary and 1,653 in the Republican primary.

The major issues in contention were of course the two presidential primaries and a hotly contested state Supreme Court race. There, highly professional, experienced incumbent Justice Rebecca Bradley — appointed by Scott Walker to finish the term of an elected justice who died unexpectedly in office — was opposed by a Leftist loon from the Dane County circuit, JoAnne Kloppenburg. She had tried for the Supreme Court once before and been only narrowly defeated. (Kloppenburg recently gaffed at a campaign event when she suggested that Abraham Lincoln had been a slaveholder).

Those Shorewoodians who voted in the Republican primary illustrate the validity of a well-known anthropological thesis, that of the person who lives on the border between two Kulturgebiete: as a consequence of his proximity to the foreign culture, he becomes a fanatical opponent. Of the 1,653 Republican votes cast, 724 went to Cruz (43.91%); 554 went to Kasich (33.60%); and 329 went to Trump (19.95%). It wasn’t close.

In the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders racked up 2,561 votes for 52.83% to Hillary Clinton’s 2,277 votes for 46.97% (three people voted for Martin O’Malley).

Had the Supreme Court race been up to Shorewood, the historically challenged Kloppenburg would have won in a landslide: 4.509 votes were cast for her (74.65%) to 1,510 for Bradley (exactly 25%). Note that in this allegedly non-partisan race, Justice Bradley got slightly fewer votes than were cast for Republicans in the partisan primary, 1510 to 1653. It is almost inconceivable that anyone voting for a Republican would consciously vote for the hyper-partisan Kloppenburg, who said in her routine stump speech that her chief role on the Supreme Court would be to provide a check on the Republican-controlled state legislature. So this result suggests either quite a few erroneous or spoiled ballots, or examples of members of one party voting in the other party’s primary.

Fortunately, it wasn’t up to Shorewood. With almost two million votes cast, Justice Bradley defeated Kloppenburg 52.35% to 47.65%. But in terms of the presidential primaries, the state results were much closer to those of Shorewood, with a couple of interesting twists.

A total of 2,105,706 votes were cast in both presidential primaries. This was a record turnout; the last time more than 40% of the electorate had turned out for a presidential primary was 1980 (the average turnout in a presidential election year in the general election over the last 30 years is about 2.5 million, so the number is astonishing).

Even more astonishing is that (unlike Shorewood, and boding well for the general election) slightly more people voted in the Republican primary than in the Democratic one: 1,101,046 to 1,004,666. This is astounding in a state which last voted for a Republican in 1984, and suggests strongly the possible trend in 2016.

In the Republican primary, Ted Cruz won 531,129 votes statewide, for 48.2% of the popular vote; Donald Trump was held to 386,200 votes for 35.1%; and Kasich won 155,200 for 14.1% (there were 28,427 votes cast for other candidates, since there is no proviso in current Wisconsin election law for “scrubbing” the ballot of candidates who drop out after they have already filed to be on it).

The generally very accurate Marquette University Law School poll in March had Cruz leading Trump by ten points, 42% to 32%, with Kasich bringing up the rear at 19%. That is basically what happened, but Cruz outperformed the poll, beating Trump by 13 points, while Kasich underperformed by five points (unfortunately, as of this writing Kasich has not drawn the logical conclusion).

The Democratic results, though they involved fewer people, were even more dramatic. Bernie Sanders amassed 567,858 votes for 56.5% of the electorate, while Hillary Clinton garnered 433,514 votes for 43.2% (there were again 3,294 votes cast for someone else). Even more shockingly, Sanders carried 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties; the only county won by Clinton, and narrowly, was Milwaukee County.

This may say a great deal about the state of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, which brought the unhinged shenanigans accompanying the passage of Act 10. The entire Democratic caucus of the state Senate fled to Illinois to prevent the calling of a quorum, and wild riots took place in Madison after the bill’s passage. I believe this behavior is also indicative of the Democratic party on the national level.

Delegates are awarded in Wisconsin by congressional district — 3 delegates per each of the eight districts for a total of 24 — plus the overall statewide winner takes another 18. Cruz won six of the eight districts, most by outright majorities: 51% in the First District (represented by Paul Ryan); 53% in the Fourth District (represented by Democrat Gwen Moore and entirely enclosed within Milwaukee County); 59% in the Fifth District (James Sensenbrenner); and 52% in the Sixth District (Glenn Grothman).

It is worth noting that the First, Fifth, and Sixth Districts represent what is by far the most conservative areas of Wisconsin, clustered around Milwaukee County. Cruz also won the Second and Eighth Districts (represented by Democrat Mark Pocan and Republican Reid Ribble, respectively) by plurality. Trump won the Third District (represented by Republican Sean Duffy) 43% to 40%, and the Seventh (Democrat Ron Kind) 47% to 39%. Both Trump wins were in the far western part of the state along the Minnesota-Iowa state border, as I had predicted.

Wisconsin Democrats award 86 delegates proportionately according to the statewide results, and ten unpledged “super-delegates” who are party officials and elected representatives. Sanders garnered 48 pledged delegates to Clinton’s 38. If Sanders continues to rack up wins in this way, his total of pledged delegates will soon rival Clinton’s, and the super-delegates who are presently showing loyalty to Herself but are not actually bound to anyone may come to be re-educated under serious grassroots pressure.

That, at least, is the view from Wisconsin as we barrel toward the New York primary. Will Cruz’s momentum from Wisconsin have any effect on the Empire State, where Trump has so far held a commanding lead in the polls? Stay tuned.