When the so-called “Blue Wall” came tumbling down in 2016, it seemed like a new era of American politics had arrived. But the 2018 midterm results muddied the waters, leaving politicos with more questions than answers about how Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan will perform in 2020.
All three states, which Donald Trump won in 2016 after six consecutive presidential victories for Democrats, delivered major wins for Democrats in the midterms: Pennsylvania re-elected Democrats to the governorship and Senate, while Wisconsin and Michigan Democrats took control of the governorships and protected their incumbent Senators.
The conversation surrounding the presidential election focuses on whether Democrats can win — or even need to win — those three states. But, in Michigan, the presidential ballot won’t be the only major test of partisanship in 2020.
Democrat Gary Peters might be one of the least recognizable senators. But, in his fight for a second term representing Michigan, Peters’ personal image might not be as important as those of Trump and the eventual Democratic presidential nominee. Republicans, on the other hand, think they have an antidote to Peters’ low-key profile with John James, who they believe can outperform Trump, if necessary.
Democrats likely need to hold Michigan in order to have a shot at the Senate majority, which would require a net gain of four seats (and three for control, if a Democratic vice president serves as the tiebreaker). There are…