It’s Time For Wyoming to Make Some New Friends
This article originally appeared in the Laramie Boomerang on July 6, 2019.
Donald Trump has his work cut out for him in 2020, leaving Wyoming staring down the possibility that in about a year, not only will one or both houses of Congress be controlled by the Democrats, but the Oval Office as well. Which means that with our deep reliance on energy policy and half of our land controlled by the Federal government, we need to start making some friends across the aisle provided we care more about our state than we do about scoring points on Twitter.
The 2016 electoral map conceals the fact that Trump won the election by only one percent margins in the winner-take-all states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Today his net approval rating in those must-win states is negative three in Florida, negative nine in Pennsylvania, negative fourteen in Wisconsin, and a staggering negative fifteen in Michigan. To put this in perspective, today he is better liked in Colorado than in the must win states of Michigan or Wisconsin.
The math is even worse for him because he’s currently getting clobbered in the farm belt as a result of the trade war with China. In 2016 he easily beat Clinton in the state of Iowa, the largest producer of soybeans in the nation. But today using composite polls, Donald Trump’s approval rating in Iowa is negative twelve points. In Republican Nebraska, his net approval rating has dropped twenty-one points and today voters approve of Trump by a razor thin one percent margin. Even more remarkable, in the state of Texas, Trump’s net approval rating has dropped sixteen points to where he now has only a fifty percent approval rating.
Some discount the polls under the theory that the 2016 results revealed they were unreliable or controlled by the liberal press. But Fox News polls are consistent with the composite polls, and currently show Trump losing to Joe Biden by ten points, Bernie Sanders by nine points, and to Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg by small margins. As well, we now understand that the 2016 election polls were largely correct in assessing overall voter preference; what they didn’t adjust for was Donald Trump’s remarkable ability to get his supporters out to the voting booth on election day. Of those demographic groups likely to support Trump, 77% voted at a rate greater than the national average, while only 38% of Clinton supporters voted above the national average. If Clinton voters had turned out in the same way as Trump voters, she would have won.
While Trump supporters will likely show up at the polls in high numbers again in 2020, this time so too will the Democrats. We know this because increased Democratic voter turnout was instrumental in their 2018 mid-term victories. Furthermore, while in the 2016 Presidential election only 28% of Democratic voters reported themselves to be “extremely enthusiastic” about voting, today that number has jumped to 43%. That’s not only historically high compared to data going back to 2003, but more than enough to change the outcome in every state where Trump won by narrow margins.
Of course, nothing is certain. Democrats may nominate a candidate too far to the left for moderate voters in midwestern and farm belt states. As well, with over a year to go Trump may sign historic deals with China, Iran, or North Korea which could turn around the opinions of voters in Iowa and Wisconsin. But given the importance of Federal policy on Wyoming, it’s time our Washington delegation prepares to take care of us under a Democratic President. This begins with a shift from hyper-partisanship to friendship.
After eliminating comments unrelated to public policy, a full eighty-four percent of Rep. Liz Cheney’s 2019 tweets are devoted to bashing Democrats, often using the platform for unnecessary sarcasm and insults. While poking fun at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be entertaining in the moment, creating enemies unnecessarily with her Democratic collegues is reckless and does nothing to advance the needs of Wyoming families as long as Rep. Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House. Such needless tweets will prove even more damaging to our state under a Democratic President.
We must remember that we have only one congressional seat and a measly three electoral votes. As well, we don’t have large corporations headquartered in Wyoming that can put financial or lobbying pressure on Federal policy. Our influence is tied to the relationships our representatives can build within both political parties, and previous generations of Wyoming politicians understood this. Senator Simpson and Senator Wallop often disagreed across the aisle, but they always treated Democrats with dignity and respect because they knew it was a smart thing to do if they wanted to get things done.
If there is any truth to the math, there’s a decent chance we’ll have a new President in eighteen months. Which is why for the sake of Wyoming families, if we want a voice in Federal policy going forward, we best change our tone and make some new friends.
Dave Dodson lives in Wyoming and is an entrepreneur and former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Follow him on Twitter @davedodson307