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Sean Trende accidentally described the Wisconsin Democrats’ path to victory against Scott Walker

August 19, 2013

Sean Trende has, for the last couple of months, has tried to tell the national Republican Party’s establishment that they can oppose comprehensive immigration reform and still win future presidential elections by promoting his “missing white voters” strategy.

As a progressive-minded Democrat who supports comprehensive immigration reform, I’ve long dismissed Trende’s analysis as bunk. However, when I re-read the first part of Trende’s four-part series of articles on Real Clear Politics, I noticed that Trende described the “missing white voters” that, according to Trende, Mitt Romney failed to win over in the 2012 presidential election as “largely downscale, Northern, rural whites” who were Ross Perot’s base during his 1992 independent presidential campaign that received 18.9% of the national popular vote and 21.5% of the Wisconsin popular vote.

Believe it or not, Sean Trende accidentally described the group of voters that the Democratic nominee for Governor of Wisconsin would have to win over in order to defeat Scott Walker in 2014. The “missing white voters” that Trende described aren’t as conservative or bigoted as Trende would want you to think they are. In fact, they can be won over by a Democratic candidate for public office if he or she runs a left-wing populist campaign. Most of these “missing white voters” are actually people who are disaffected with the way that government operates and think that most politicians don’t care about them.

If the Democratic nominee for Governor of Wisconsin runs as a “business moderate” or an “overeducated liberal”, Scott Walker will probably win re-election unless 2014 happens to be an unusually strong year for Democrats on a national scale. If the Democratic nominee for Governor of Wisconsin were to point out the various ways that Scott Walker’s extreme, right-wing agenda has hurt Wisconsinites, especially rural Wisconsinites, and brings a progressive agenda that appeals to a broad coalition of Wisconsinites, including rural Wisconsinites, Scott Walker could very well lose re-election in 2014.

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