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A year of Trump: What does Wisconsin think?

I have never hosted a radio phone-in programme in the United States before, certainly not on a conse..

By admin , in USA , at November 8, 2017

I have never hosted a radio phone-in programme in the United States before, certainly not on a conservative station in the Midwest state of Wisconsin.

But given the unprecedented nature of American politics right now, it is an informative experience in at least one way.

The listeners to Gerry Bader's show on WIXX 101 in Green Bay- largely white, working class and angry – helped carry Donald Trump to the narrowest of victories a year ago.

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And despite everything that has happened over the first 12 months of this presidency, they would vote for him again now.

"He's fighting for us, he's on our side", "He kicking ISIS' butt out there", "He's our guy, he's doing a great job". Caller after caller was standing by their man and urging others to do so.

Yes, they do not like his Twitter rants, they do not particularly want him to pick fights with war widows and they are not overly impressed with his legislative failures, particularly over Obamacare.

But on helping business, prioritising American jobs, immigration and saying it like it is he is their man.

He is no Washington career politician, he is not part of the establishment, he is not just another Republican, and most important of all, he is not Hillary Clinton…and that is fine by them.

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Image:The combative tone of the election campaign has continued

Oh, and they have also totally bought his assault on the mainstream media.

Among Trump supporters here, everything that has gone wrong has been the media's fault.

Now, of course, you may not expect much different from conservative voters in the rural Midwest.

But the point about Wisconsin is, they are not the only people apparently content with the Trump Presidency.

In our swing through this swing state, where Mr Trump won by 0.7%,of the vote, many business people and blue collar workers, who were tempted on balance to go for something different, are still relatively happy.

Dairy is the big business here and we visited Ken Heiman, who has 500 head of cattle, and a big cheese factory in the heart of Wisconsin.

He says he will put up with all the "talk and the nonsense" of the Trump circus if he delivers on helping business generate jobs.

Ken Heiman, a cattle owner supports Trump and says would vote again for him.
Image:Ken Heiman, a cattle owner supports Trump even with his 'talk'

"I'll deal with the talk if you can walk the walk", he says.

"If business is doing well and the economy is doing well – then I can deal with the talk."

It is a common refrain here and, of course, right now the American economy is doing pretty well.

And these are the people – the people for whom a vote for Mr Trump was a close call – whom the President needs to keep on his side.

You just have to look at the November vote to see how polarised things are in Wisconsin.

One of the 500 cattle owned by Ken Heiman in Wisoconsin who supports Trump
Image:Trump is helping cattle owners like Ken Heiman in Wisconsin with his focus on economy

Some 47.2% went for Trump against 46.5% who backed Hillary Clinton. And if it was a divided state then, the politics are deeply, unpleasantly toxic now.

We met more than one person who said they no longer discuss politics at the dinner table or out with friends as it was all too stressful and nasty.

The Trump Presidency has certainly changed the tone of political discourse across America.

His opponents think it is bad for democracy, his supporters are happy their voices are being heard .

Mr Trump's success in Wisconsin – and across America – has given birth to a resistance movement on the left. They operate online and in coffee shops and target congressmen and women whose policies they dislike.

It is a political insurgency, called Indivisible, that exists outside the Democratic Party and is growing in number and strength.

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In Wisconsin it has a significant constituency of those who detest Mr Trump and all he stands for.

"He's an ass, a jerk," says third generation farmer, Alan Treinen.

Alan Treinen says a year on his nightmare has come true of Trump.
Image:Angie and Alan Treinen says a year on has been a 'nightmare of Trump'

And that pretty much sums up the view in much of urban Wisconsin too.

The question we wanted to answer is whether Trump would win an election were it held now – the polls suggest he would not.

Most say his support is down to 40% in Wisconsin.

But we found his core vote largely holding up and his wavering vote still giving him the benefit of the doubt .

Whether this holds up in the other swing states is difficult to say. But what is clear to me is that even the growing controversy over the Trump campaign's links to Russia is not damaging his support in the Midwest.

They don't seem to care. At least not yet.

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If there is firm evidence of collusion with Vladimir Putin's regime then that may change.

His base may well think my enemy's enemy is my friend – in other words anyone trying to help Trump beat Hillary is alright by them!

But there are two key issues in all this. Donald Trump has to deliver, and he has not yet.

If the economy stalls, jobs don't materialise and he sinks in the Washington swamp he so despises, he will not get a second term.

And a huge proportion of people we spoke to say they voted for Mr Trump as the lesser of two evils.

So if the Democrats produce a strong candidate in 2020 – and that is by no means certain as the party is in a bit of a mess – things will be very different.

But in a year of unprecedented, mercurial, combative, often unedifying politics, Mr Trump is still in the White House .

You may not like him, but if Wisconsin is anything to go by, and notwithstanding some extremely unlikely, fast tracked, impeachment ,you cannot write him off yet.

:: You can watch the Sky News special report Donald Trump – Making America great again here.

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