The Battle for Wisconsin: Joe Biden Bets Big on Infrastructure

President Joe Biden and his administration are intensifying their efforts this week, spurred by a recent uptick in consumer sentiment.

by Faruk Imamovic
The Battle for Wisconsin: Joe Biden Bets Big on Infrastructure
© Getty Images/Anna Moneymaker

President Joe Biden and his administration are intensifying their efforts this week, spurred by a recent uptick in consumer sentiment. This surge in positivity is seen as a pivotal opportunity for the Biden team to enhance public perception of the President's economic policies.

This strategic push is particularly crucial as the President looks ahead to a potential rematch with Donald Trump in the upcoming elections. Biden's campaign will be prominently showcased through two key events in the Midwest.

The President's itinerary begins in Superior, Wisconsin, where he announces a significant $1 billion federal investment for the replacement of an old bridge in this crucial battleground state. Concurrently, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be in Chicago, where she is set to deliver a significant speech.

Yellen's address will not only bolster Biden's economic vision but also provide a rare rebuttal to the economic strategies of the former administration. These initiatives arrive at a momentous time as Biden prepares for a general election battle with Trump, who, according to the President, has already clinched the GOP nomination following his New Hampshire victory.

In a post-primary statement, Biden emphasized the economy as a critical issue for the upcoming November elections, praising the recovery the U.S. has seen since Covid-19. Despite these efforts, Biden faces challenges in connecting with voters on economic issues, with less than a third approving of his approach.

However, a shift in public sentiment may be on the horizon, driven by improving economic indicators such as a significant rise in the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey, a cooling inflation rate, rising wages, and a robust labor market post-Covid.

Lauren Hitt, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, underscores the importance of conveying this economic narrative as the elections draw nearer. She notes the growing confidence among Americans about the economy, an optimism that the Biden team aims to capitalize on.

Strategic Endorsements and Infrastructure Investments

A major boon for Biden's campaign is the recent endorsement from the United Auto Workers (UAW). UAW President Shawn Fain's endorsement of Biden is particularly notable, given his stark criticism of Donald Trump, whom he labeled as antithetical to the union's and society's values.

Joe Biden© Getty Images/Scott Olson

However, the effectiveness of Biden's economic messaging against Trump's counter-narrative remains to be seen. The President is set to defend his 2020 victory in Wisconsin, a state he narrowly won.

Here, Biden will focus on the Blatnik Bridge, highlighting a fresh influx of funding for its repair. This investment is part of a broader $5 billion initiative for various infrastructure projects nationwide, underscoring the administration's commitment to addressing longstanding infrastructure needs.

These developments present Biden with an opportunity to highlight a key area where his predecessor fell short – passing significant infrastructure legislation. The White House is framing this as not just a week of infrastructure focus but a herald of a decade of infrastructure development.

Yellen's upcoming speech in Chicago is anticipated to further this narrative, contrasting the Biden administration's proactive approach with the Trump administration's perceived inaction on infrastructure. Yellen is expected to praise the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as a transformative $1.2 trillion investment.

The Biden team is also keen to highlight the contradiction of Republicans who are now praising the benefits of the infrastructure bill, despite having voted against it. This includes individuals like Rep. Pete Stauber, whose approval of the bill's impact on his district despite his initial opposition has drawn criticism from Democrats.

While construction on projects like the Blatnik Bridge is yet to commence, the Biden administration hopes that these initiatives will serve as tangible evidence of its achievements by Election Day. The President's frustration with the slow materialization of these projects is palpable, and the administration is exploring new communication strategies to effectively convey their economic message.

Biden's recent visits to Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where he engaged directly with local business owners and families, reflect a shift towards a more personal and relatable approach in promoting his policies. This strategy aims to highlight real-life benefits experienced by Americans under his administration.

Ben Wikler, chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, acknowledges the ongoing economic challenges faced by Americans but remains optimistic about the positive trajectory of the economy. He believes that as wages continue to rise and inflation falls, the public will increasingly recognize the benefits of Biden's policies.

Navigating the Road to Election Day

The Biden campaign's efforts are now increasingly focused on key battleground states. Vice President Kamala Harris recently initiated her reproductive freedoms tour in Waukesha County, with Biden and Yellen continuing their economic messaging in Wisconsin.

As the general election nears, the Biden team is ramping up its ground operations, with a full-scale campaign expected by early summer. This includes a strong focus on Wisconsin, where the campaign, in collaboration with the Democratic National Committee, is actively canvassing and organizing.

The campaign's relational organizing initiative is also in full swing, leveraging social networks to reach voters more effectively. "This is game on in Wisconsin," states Wikler, encapsulating the campaign's determined approach as it navigates the path to the November elections.

Joe Biden