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Analyst: Lower Voter Turnout in Milwaukee Contributed to Trump's Wisconsin Victory

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Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech as Vice president-elect Mike Pence looks on during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City.

One of the many surprises of Tuesday's elections was the fact that Donald Trump won Wisconsin's electoral votes. The last Republican to do so was Ronald Reagan, more than 30 years ago.

Christopher Murray, of the Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington, D.C. has been crunching the numbers to find out why the state turned red.

Murray says it appears that Democrat Hillary Clinton's loss in Wisconsin partly was due to voting patterns in Milwaukee County. He says Clinton got the same percentage of the vote here as did President Obama in 2012, however, it appears 60,000 fewer residents voted this time.

"From the perspective of the Hillary Clinton campaign, that is the most important county for you or for any Democrat to win Wisconsin is, you need to run up really big numbers in the biggest, most Democratic county in the state," Murray says.

Clinton did not campaign in Wisconsin after April, after she lost the state's Democratic presidential primary to Sen. Bernie Sanders.

It had been reported that the Clinton campaign had a much bigger ground game in Wisconsin than Trump did - maybe four to five times bigger when it comes to field staff working to turn out the vote. Murray says campaign organizers may consider the outcome - and whether field work is as impactful these days, as it has been in the past, or whether voters may tune it out, after a while. He says Wisconsin's Voter ID law may have also caused some would-be voters to sit out the election, particularly minority and student voters who may lack the required identification. This was the first presidential election subjected to the state's new voter requirements.

Regarding Rep. Paul Ryan's future as House Speaker, Murray says the job will not get any easier because of this week's election. He says the House has lost a few GOP seats, so Ryan would have a smaller majority to work with, "And even the majority he has now has not been easy to manage. So the job is going to get harder just in terms of the raw numbers," Murray says.

And, Murray says, Ryan and the Republican Party must figure out what they will try to accomplish with Donald Trump as president. "A lot of positions that Donald Trump took during the campaign were directly counter to what Paul Ryan and traditional Republicans have believed for decades, especially if you look at trade policy," Murray says.

Murray says the job of House Speaker will not be easy and is a thankless one.

At least one group wondered whether turnout in Milwaukee might be lower than anticipated. Members of the Reproductive Justice Collective Project had been out for weeks, working to engage voters of color, but Director Charmaine Lang says the team encountered a lot of rejection. Would-be voters did not think the candidates differed or cared enough about issues close to home. BP WHY SOME DID NOT VOTE (INT) 1:15 IN: “So, I was at a grocery store…” OUT: “…is speaking to their concerns.”

Ann-Elise is WUWM's news director.
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