We are almost at the finish line of the 2016 presidential election. As nice as it will be to relax in the weeks and months afterwards, assuming Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wins, there are always more elections to look forward to.
Maybe the most important race for Wisconsinites to think about is the gubernatorial election in 2018.
If Gov. Scott Walker decides to run again — which he will — he will almost certainly face an uphill climb.
Besides having to fight his way out of a trend of low approval ratings, Walker will also have to spend the majority of his campaign trying to convince all of the groups he has alienated in the last few months that he is still the right choice for Wisconsin.
He will almost certainly struggle with college-age voters, as he approved massive cuts on the UW System and serious changes to tenure policy, which wreaked havoc on our campus and UW campuses across Wisconsin. Many of us have watched as world-class professors we knew and admired left our schools as a result of Walker’s actions. Our educations have suffered because of Walker, and young voters do not forget or forgive easily.
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He will also probably face an uptick in resistance from minorities and Milwaukee voters as his attempts to disenfranchise through voter ID measures and restrictions have had serious ramifications.
Walker will also face more questions over the “Hillary-esque” scandals which continue to plague his administration — the ripple effects of the release of the John Doe papers continue to quietly move through the state.
On top of all of that, Walker will have to answer to all Wisconsinites for his inability to help the stagnant Wisconsin economy.
It will not be easy, but given that Wisconsin Democrats don’t have a known “champion” looking to run for governor, and Walker always seems to find a way to escape the box his numerous failings put him in, the election will be close.
In the end though, it might not be Walker’s gubernatorial failures that do him in.
It very well could be that Walker’s support of Republican nominee Donald Trump is what costs him the election.
While we have seen Walker’s poll numbers rise in the last few months, that could very likely be due to the unpopularity of both presidential candidates in Wisconsin. It is not difficult to understand that Wisconsinites may see Walker as relatively decent when the other major name they associate with the Republican Party right now is Donald Trump.
But Walker — and many prominent Wisconsin Republicans — continues to support Trump, albeit very quietly.
Democrats should and almost certainly will attempt to tie the two together come 2018, and rightly so.
While he did say that Trump’s comments to Billy Bush are “inexcusable,” he did not withdraw his support. After that, Walker still has not unendorsed Trump in recent weeks despite growing evidence that Trump has sexually assaulted multiple women. He wouldn’t even withdraw his support after Trump’s admittance of being unwilling to accept the results of the election.
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That’s inexcusable and shameful on Walker’s part.
While the eyes of the state and the nation are on the presidential election right now, sooner or later Wisconsinites will take notice of Walker’s cowardice concerning Trump, and it could be what costs him the election.