2) Biden peeled away Trump’s support in conservative suburbs
The suburbs outside of Milwaukee constitute the most conservative metropolitan area in the country. Each of the three counties that surround the city—Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington, the “WOW” counties—have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1968, and by double-digit margins. These counties are each wealthy, exceptionally well-educated and north of 90 percent white.
In 2016, the president carried the WOW counties by yawning margins. Washington was decided by 40 points, Waukesha by 27 and Ozaukee by 19 points. (The Ozaukee result was particularly interesting: It was the tightest race in generations, and yet, no Democrat had broken 40 percent of the vote there in a half-century.)
Four years later, Biden closed the gap in all three. Trump won Washington by 38 points, Waukesha by 21 points and Ozaukee by 12 points. Biden’s vote share in Ozaukee? You guessed it: 43 percent.
In a vacuum, those totals might not seem noteworthy. But taken together—as a picture of suburban Milwaukee and as a wider snapshot of wealthy white suburbs across the Midwest—they are the difference between a President Trump and a President Biden.