With his arrest on corporate fraud charges by a New York grand jury, Donald Trump is now in a better position than he has been in months to capture the Republican presidential nomination for 2024.
Nevertheless, real outcomes reveal that the past president may not be beneficial for the GOP brand among the general voter.
The Democratic-backed Janet Protasiewicz celebrated winning the Wisconsin Supreme Court election on the day of Trump’s arraignment in Manhattan on Tuesday, giving liberals control of the high court in the crucial swing state.
This outcome is only a small piece of a wider picture in which Democrats and Democratic-backed candidates have been doing better in races around the country this year than Joe Biden did in their states or districts in 2020. And that might be a good omen for Democrats’ chances in 2024.
Lessons from Wisconsin
The Wisconsin outcome encapsulates the GOP issue. Trump had won the state by a similar percentage four years prior, and Biden won it by less than a point in 2020. The Badger State is one of a few few that has supported the victor in each of the last four presidential contests and is one of the select few states with a senator from each party.
In comparison to Biden’s Wisconsin 2020 campaign performance, Protasiewicz’s 11-point victory margin against her GOP opponent was a relative rout.
At her election night watch party in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on April 4, 2023, Wisconsin Supreme Court nominee Janet Protasiewicz rejoices after learning she won.
The election of a liberal judge to the Wisconsin Supreme Court signals a political shift in this crucial swing state.
Another election held on Tuesday, this one for the state Senate in the Milwaukee region, provides further evidence of the Democratic underperformance in Wisconsin. Republicans needed to keep the open seat in order to achieve a supermajority in the state Senate, even though it wasn’t discussed nearly as much as the race for the state Supreme Court.
The Republican candidate did prevail, although by a narrow margin of 2 points. The Democratic nominee outperformed expectations by three points, after Biden lost the district by five points in 2020.
The Wisconsin results are consistent with what has been happening nationwide in special elections for 2023.
In Virginia’s 4th Congressional District’s lone special election this year, Democrat Jennifer McCllean surpassed Biden’s 2020 margin by 13 points.
Democrats have typically performed approximately 4 points better than Biden’s margin in the nearly 20 special state legislative races.
Considering that the president won the 2020 election, it is encouraging for his party since the political climate currently appears to be more favorable for Democrats than it was back then.
It also represents a significant departure from what we witnessed in 2019, when Democratic margins in special elections were almost identical to those of Hillary Clinton in 2016. After the 2018 midterm elections, where Democrats outperformed Clinton, it happened. It was a warning indication that the elections in 2020 might be close.
a president who is unpopular
The fact that the Democrats are performing well this year despite Biden’s support rating remaining in the mid 40s makes their performance all the more peculiar. In regular elections, you wouldn’t anticipate the party of an unpopular president to perform so well.
This implies that the factors in play right now are comparable to those in the second half of 2022. Halfway through the year, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Democrats began to outperform Biden’s 2020 margins in districts that held special elections.
On September 7, 2022, pro-choice advocates assemble outside the Michigan State Capitol for a “Restore Roe” demonstration in Lansing. A voter initiative that would have enshrined abortion rights in the state constitution was rejected by Michigan’s elections board last Wednesday owing to formatting issues with the petition language for the November ballot, setting up a legal battle at the state Supreme Court. A petition to add a clause protecting reproductive rights to the Michigan State Constitution received more than 730,000 signatures. (Image courtesy of JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP) (Picture courtesy of Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images)
Democrats use an old GOP ploy to get abortion rights to the ballot in 2024.
And in the midterm elections in November, Democrats had a historically amazing night. Despite Biden’s approval rating being considerably below 50%, they more than held their own.
Exit surveys from the midterm elections showed that many people who disliked Trump or Biden voted for the Democratic Party. In almost all of the crucial races in the states where the 2024 presidential election will probably be decided, Democrats prevailed. To put it another way, Biden didn’t influence swing voters as much as you might have thought he would. Trump was a consideration in their vote as well, despite not being the president.
Trump and abortion appear to still be relevant issues in 2023.
Liberals hoped that a Protasiewicz victory would give them a majority to legalize abortion in Wisconsin, which was at the forefront of the state’s Supreme Court contest.
And despite his indictment and ongoing unpopularity with the population as a whole, Trump continues to be the overwhelming favorite to win the GOP presidential nominee.
Republicans could be in serious trouble if those things don’t alter by 2024.