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Thursday, March 12, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Joe Biden had a big night on Tuesday. The mainstream media is all over that story.

Just as big of a story is what is happening in the Republican primaries in 2020. Unbelievable numbers of voters are turning out for President Trump.


Skeptics will note that Mr. Trump has token opposition in the Republican primary contests. That is exactly my point. There is no real reason to come out in mass as the president does not face a credible opponent, yet they are turning out.

In New Hampshire, Mr. Trump received 129,734 votes. When Barack Obama faced no real opposition in 2012, he received 49,080 votes in the New Hampshire primary. That is a huge gap.

This was also true in a number of other states. In Alabama, Mr. Trump received 695,469 votes compared to then-President Obama’s 241,167 votes in 2012. In Arkansas, it was 240,789 for Mr. Trump compared to 94,936 for Mr. Obama. In Texas, Mr. Trump’s total vote count of 1,889,006 was more than Mr. Obama (520,410) and more than the combined votes for Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren.

So why are Republicans turning out in such large numbers for the president in primary races when the outcome is not in question? They are ticked off.

Republicans are ticked off at the partisan impeachment process. They are ticked off at the biased mainstream media. And they are ticked off at the hysteria of the left. Republicans don’t typically protest, so the way they express their frustration is by voting.

Most people don’t remember this, but I had a primary during the 2012 Wisconsin recall election. One of the protesters collected enough signatures to get himself on the primary ballot as a Republican.

The media focused on the other primary to see who would face me that June. There were four candidates running as Democrats, but only two of them had the name identification, finances and organization to win. They were crisscrossing the state on the campaign trail and overwhelming the airwaves with TV ads.

On May 4, 2012, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett received 390,109 votes, defeating Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, who received 228,940 votes. Mr. Barrett was a former member of Congress who ran for governor in 2002 and again in 2010. Ms. Falk ran for governor in 2002 and for attorney general in 2006.

Mr. Barrett and Ms. Falk had a hotly contested primary. Together, they garnered 619,049 votes.

In contrast, hardly anyone knew about our primary. The media ignored it. Since the recall was an extraordinary election, people would not normally vote on that date. Yet, we received 626,538 votes. That was more than the combined totals of the two major Democrat candidates.

It was at that point that we knew we had a fighting chance in the general election. Republican voters had watched the left occupy our state Capitol. They had watched the nasty protests and vial threats. But instead of responding in kind, they had a better way to express their frustration: They voted.

We won the recall election a month later with more votes and a higher percentage of the vote than we did the first election. Why?

The liberals started out with all of the energy. Protesters came from around the state and eventually across the country to occupy our state Capitol. Soon, conservatives woke up. On Election Day, we turned out in mass.

But what ultimately put us over the top was overwhelming support from independents. Our research later showed that while many did not agree with every action I took, they felt the recall was not fair. I had done what I said I would do, and they were satisfied to see how it all played out. They had a general sense of fairness.

Ironically, this week marks the anniversary of the day I signed the law that prompted the recall in the first place: Wisconsin Act 10. Since then, the tax burden on state taxpayers has gone down by more than $13 billion while our schools continue to have some of the best graduation rates in the nation and highest ACT scores for states that test every student. Our pension is fully funded, schools and local governments have saved billions, and the rainy day fund was 190 times larger when I left than when we took office. Common sense conservative ideas work.

The same sense of fairness is at work in the primaries for president. Instead of protests, Republicans are showing up to vote. They are motivated. It is just like our primary in the recall election. That, along with the general feeling by many Midwest independents that the impeachment process was not fair (like many felt about my recall election), is why Mr. Trump is on track to win in November.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.


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