Since I invented the term “Minnewisowa” in 2004 in
my then weekly Washington Times column, its
political pertinence in national elections has grown
with each presidential cycle.
It was a classic portmanteau invention as I combined
iconic syllables of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa to
create a virtual megastate that follows very similar
voting patterns based on contiguous location, so many
shared media markets. similar rural-urban
demographics, comparable ethnic origins and almost
identical occupational histories.
It was a particularly useful analytic tool in 2016 when
the voters of all three states, expected to choose
Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, provided their
electoral votes to Mr. Trump in Wisconsin and Iowa ---
while Mrs. Clinton barely won Minnesota by a very
surprising small margin. In both 2008 and 2012, Barack
Obama carried all three states.
The outcome in 2020, of course, is unknown, but at the
beginning of 2019, based largely on the results of the
2018 mid-term elections, it appeared that Minnewisowa
was going to reverse course in 2020 by giving all of its
electoral votes to the Democratic nominee --- whomever
it would be. Opinion polls continued to support this
contention until recently. Mostly in response to the
Democrats’ highly politicized impeachment inquiry,
and an unprecedented Trump campaign effort in
Minnesota, that seems to be changing.
With 27 electoral votes, Minnewisowa is a presidential
battleground powerhouse --- as it was in 2016 when the
Midwestern states, especially Michigan, Wisconsin and
Iowa, provided Donald Trump his victory margin.
The significant rural and small town areas of each
Minnewisowa state component, in addition to being
turned off by the impeachment inquiry, also do not
seem excited by the leftward direction that some of the
major Democratic candidates have taken. These ideas
are popular in the three major Minnewisowa urban
centers (Minneapolis-St.Paul, Milwaukee and Des
Moines), but that might not be enough to offset the
more conservative voting outstate.
In fact, Minnewisowa might be a microcosm of all the
competitive states in 2020, including those in the
Middle Atlantic (Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio),
South (North Carolina, Georgia and Florida) and West
(Arizona, Nevada and Colorado) despite its obvious
differences with those other regions.
It needs to be remembered that Donald Trump did not
win Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania by
big margins in 2016. With so much undecided, including
the Democratic nomination contest, the state of the
economy next year, the outcome of current foreign
trade negotiations, and who will win key battleground
states, the election is up for grabs.
What is likely, however, is that whatever electoral
direction Minnewisowa takes, it will act in some
unison --- as it has so often in the past.
Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.