Photo by Saiyna Bashir, The Capital Times

Dems plan to win Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential election by convincing farmers they’ve been abandoned by the GOP through President Trump’s trade policy and boosting African-American turnout, according to Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.

“[Trump] told Wisconsin farmers that they were ‘over the hump,’ but his trade war has put them over a barrel,” Perez said in a teleconference Friday on DNC strategy.

Perez called the state the “farm bankruptcy capital of the United States in 2018” and placed blame squarely on Trump. He also blamed the president for the ensuing suicide crisis among farmers.

But a spokeswoman for the state GOP said Dems are being opportunistic with Wisconsin farmers and are more focused on impeachment than policy.

“Democrats abandoned rural Americans in 2016 when they lumped them in with a ‘basket of deplorables’ and only seek to prioritize them when it’s politically convenient,” state Republican Party spokeswoman Alesha Guenther told WisPolitics.com in a statement. “If Democrats really cared about farmers and rural Americans, they would pass the USMCA instead of trying to come after President Trump with another witch hunt.”

The Democratic 2020 plan comes in contrast to Republican’s victory strategy to boost turnout in Republican-heavy Washington, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties by touting a strong economy and manufacturing industry, Republican National Committee spokesman Rick Gorka said in a teleconference yesterday.

Trump won the so-called WOW counties with 104,501 more votes than the 2016 Dem presidential nominee. But his 224,747 vote total came up 27,520 votes fewer than 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“We know that when we put the president’s record of accomplishment up against what Democrats are offering for 2020 that we’re going to carry the state again,” Gorka said.

DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa also said Dems have “a special focus on communities of color.”

She said they are training local community organizers to be in place and ready for 2020 once the presidential primary ends and the general election comes around.

Hinojosa said 17 regional organizers are working in the state — a number only expected to grow the closer we get to 2020.

Slightly over 69 percent of the state’s African-American population lives in Milwaukee County, according to the Department of Health Services. 2016 Dem presidential candidate Hilary Clinton received 39,268 fewer votes in the county than Dem President Barack Obama did in his 2012 reelection bid.

Trump carried Wisconsin over Clinton in 2016 by 22,748 votes.

While the impeachment inquiry of Trump, which was formally approved in a U.S. House vote this week, will certainly come up on the campaign trail, Perez said Dems plan to focus more on “kitchen table issues” like healthcare and economic insecurity.

“Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Perez said.

The latest Marquette University Law School Poll, conducted in mid-October, found approval for the impeachment inquiry among Wisconsin’s registered voters at 46 percent, a sharp increase from April’s poll numbers of 29 percent.

Approval for an inquiry among independents rose from 28 percent to 44 percent.

Perez called it “remarkable” how quickly inquiry approval has risen. And he said he expects more people to get behind the investigation as the Dems’ interviews and arguments become public.

But Gorka said impeachment will only garner support for Trump, especially among Republicans who will rally behind him.

“In our 17 target states, the president’s approval has actually gone up by 3 points since Nancy Pelosi enacted this charade and his favorability among Republicans has actually increased as well,” Gorka said, citing internal RNC polling numbers.

October’s Marquette poll also showed an increase in favor of an impeachment inquiry among Republicans from seven percent to 12 percent.

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