Who Wins Prairie du Chien Wins the White House

Who Wins Prairie du Chien Wins the White House

That would be Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, whose French name means “prairie dog,” and which is located where the Wisconsin River empties into the Mississippi River, third oldest town in the state founded by Europeans (the French) after Green Baay (originallly Fort Nicolet) and Portage, also located at crucial spots long used by the Native Indians for river transport.  It is also the county seat for Crawford County, with Grant County just across the Wisconsin River.

Many argue that Wisconsin is the ultimate swing state, based on that if all the states go as they did in 2016, Trump would stilll win if he loses PA and MI, but wins in WI.  It might be that Bernie in particular could swing AZ because of his strong support among non-Foridian Latinos, but even with that, Wisconsin is clearly about as crucial and swingy as any state in the Union.  How it goes is likely to align with the ultimate outcome in the electoral collage, at least as things stand now.

So why is Prairie du Chien so crucial?  Well, aside from several industrial cities, notably Erie, PA and Yongstown, OH, the parts of the nation that did the largest amount of changing their votes between 2012 and 2016, with then at least partly moving back towars Dems happen to be southwestern Wisconsin and noetheastern Iowa across the Miisissippi from SW WI.  While much of WI is now pretty rigidly partidsanly fixed, not so true in the past, this area is up for grabs and swinging back and forth at lot.  What matters in the rest of the state has more to do with base turnout issues, such as African Americans in Milwaukee and some other stories turning out a lot more in 2012 than in 2016.  But as of now, it looks like what goes on in SW WI looks to indicate how the state will go and thus how the national outome will go.

This is an area I think that continues to reflect a continuation of the “good government” tradition od the state examplified by the late senator, squeaky-clean William Proxmire (D-WI).  It seems to the part of the state that suddenly turned against Clinton in 2016 after James Comey came out with his report that she was again under FBI investigaation 11 days before the 2016 election. Maybe the lower black turnout would have done her in, but it looks to me that the sudden change in SW WI really sealed the deal.

I am looking at four counties in the Southwest in particular, moving from SE to NW: Lafayette, Grant (in the actual SW corner  of the state), Crawford, and larger La Crosse.  All four went for Obama more strongly than the state as a whole in 2012 but more strongly for Trump in 2016 than the state average.  Then three of the four went for Dem governor winner, Tony Evers, in 2018, who won by  hair over Scott Walker, 49.5% to 49.4%.  Of these four, Lafayette went for Walker, while LaCrosse went way stgonly for Evers.  The two sticking more closely to the state outcomes, but showing large swinging weere the other tow Crawford and Grant, with Prairie du Chien on their border, hence its significance.

I show the state totals for Dems for the three elections and the outcones for those two counties below.

Statewide

2012 Dems 52.83%

2016 Dems 46,45%

2018 Dems 49.5%

Crawford County

2012 Dems 59.22%

2016 Dems 44,24%

2018 Dems 51.83%

Grant

2012 Dems 56.04%

2016 Dems 41.25%

2018 Dems 50.19%

Heck, Grant in ths SW conrner may track it slightly closer than Crawford, but county seat Lancaster not as cool sounding as Prairie du Chien, and that small city is just across the river from Grant. So more generally, as those two counties go, so probably will the state and the nation.

Barkley Rosser

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