President Confused about Wisconsin Electoral History

The Story:

A statement by President Trump last week at a campaign rally sent fact checkers to their search engines. The President was flat wrong about the history of Republican presidential candidates in Wisconsin, and his error may have obscured the real point he wanted to make.

The Assertion:

The President said, “But think of Wisconsin. Reagan had his big win. He won every state except one, the great state of Wisconsin. I won Wisconsin. First time — first time since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.”

That is completely false. Eisenhower, after all, won Wisconsin again in 1956. Later, both Nixon and, yes, Ronald Reagan won it (Nixon three times, Reagan twice).

Also, the only state Ronald Reagan lost in 1984 was Minnesota.

The Thing to Know:

Trump would have been right had he simply said that he was the first Republican to win the state since Ronald Reagan. That may well indicate that Wisconsin’s political climate has changed in significant respects since the days of Nixon and Reagan, and it may indicate that Trump prevailed there despite defying the direction of that change. But if that was Trump’s point, his hyperbole obscured it.

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