Definitely worth a read: the recent series by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel called "Dividing Lines" on the political polarization of Wisconsin. The main focus is on the Milwaukee metropolitan area, and the stark difference between the passionately Democratic Milwaukee County, and the equally passionate Republican Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties. What does this mean for us?
What it means is that, while Wisconsin remains a swing state, we do so nowadays because there are two strong bases of voters high-population areas that will turn out in high and almost-equal numbers: Milwaukee and Dane Counties for the Dems, the three suburban Milwaukee-area counties for the GOP. As you read through the four parts, you see that the political battles of the past few years have actually increased voter interest and turnout (as opposed to the usual theory that negative political ads/news depresses turnout). You also see that the most-vivid hues of red and blue are based right around the Milwaukee county border; it's almost like the bright green/bright red contrast you see on Doppler radar that indicates strong rotation in a tornado. That same vortex exsists in a political way in the southeastern part of the state.
Much of the rest of Wisconsin is more swingy, though Eau Claire County -- as I noted in a recent post -- is trending blue. Yet if Republicans in Waukesha/Ozaukee/Washington Counties are ever below than their usual turnout, Dems will probably win; the opposite holds true for Democrats in Dane and Milwaukee Counties. They drive out statewide elections.
Is this good? Higher voter turnout is inherently good, but the reason is not only the passion but, in many ways, growing dislike of the other party. If the state is to move forward the best way possible, all positions need to be considered, and if massive chunks of our population believe positions of the other party are anethema to society, we will have either more gridlock or more one-sided rule that discounts about half of the state. Sadly, there may be no correction to come, as the Journal-Sentinel explains.
Read the four parts here: