After the 2016 debacle, Vinehout and Kane zeroed in on another species of voter who contributed to the surprise: rural white men who were not regular voters. “I called up the clerks. I called up the poll workers. I wanted to know what happened,” recalled Vinehout in a telephone interview. What the clerks and poll workers told her was that a number of Wisconsinites who voted in 2016 were new faces. In rural counties like Buffalo, Vinehout said, “ward-level data shows that a lot of people came to the polls for the first time.”
Some Democrats fear that Trump has the equivalent of reserve troops — non-college-educated white males who didn’t vote in 2016 but who, after four years of Trump’s domination of media, political culture and the very oxygen we all breathe, might turn out in 2020.
You can register and vote in Wisconsin on Election Day. In three counties in this southwest corner of the state, each of which flipped from Democrat to Republican, same-day registration jumped from 2012 to 2016 — up 22% in Vernon County, up 40% in Crawford, up 54% in Grant. “They were in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and they were farmers and they were mostly men,” Vinehout said of the new voters. “And they voted for Trump.”