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Here's where Trump and Biden agree and disagree, and the problem they share

President Biden and Trump are each tasked with winning over a significant percentage of voters in their respective parties who haven't voted for either of them.
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Posted at 1:53 PM, May 28, 2024

Memorial Day weekend is over, but it already feels more like post-Labor Day given the pace of the presidential race.

Polls across the country have said the economy is the biggest issue in the 2024 election.

Donald Trump
File - Former President Donald Trump, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

A nationwide Marquette Law School Pollgave former President Donald Trump higher marks on the economy than President Joe Biden, at 52% vs. 29%, and voters listed the economy as the No. 1 issue.

This year, voters will have the opportunity for the first time in more than a century to compare the records of a former president to a current president to determine the next president.

"We brought a lot of economic development," said Trump during an exclusive interview with Scripps News political correspondent Charles Benson.

"I'm here to talk about a great comeback story in America," President Biden said at a big Microsoft event this month in Wisconsin.

Biden
President Joe Biden pauses as he speaks at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

It's no surprise Donald Trump and Joe Biden disagree on where the economy has been and where it's headed.

Two Projects, Two Different Outcomes

One project doesn't make a presidency, but it can have a big impact.

President Biden tried to draw comparisons to Trump's presidency at the Microsoft event on May 8, in what could be described as a "poke the bear moment" in Racine County.

He was promoting a $3.3 billion investment at the same location where Trump promoted a $10 billion investment by Foxconn during a 2018 groundbreaking ceremony in Mount Pleasant.

"They dug a hole with those golden shovels and then they fell into it, " said President Biden about a project Trump once called "the eighth wonder of the world."

President Biden said his big investments in infrastructure have benefited the state with construction projects and jobs.

"We make promises, and we keep promises."

Foxconn never delivered on its original promise, but it did make a big investment in Mount Pleasant. The Taiwan-based company says it has invested nearly $1 billion in the state and is currently manufacturing data servers with up to 1,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

Trump downplayed the big change with Foxconn in his interview with Scripps News.

"Foxconn spent a lot of money and the government didn't put up very much at all and we have other people, including them, continuing to look," said Trump.

Trump pointed to a $5.5 billion Navy shipbuilding contract he touted during his presidency for a company in Marinette, Wisconsin.

"You (Wisconsin) got one of the biggest shipping contracts or ship contracts," said Trump, "Your people are doing a fantastic job on it."

Different Voters, Same Problem 

If there's one problem President Biden and Trump share, it's winning over a significant percentage of voters in their respective parties who didn't vote for either of them in the April presidential primary.

For Trump, it's been Nikki Haley 's supporters. The former South Carolina Governor and Trump's U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is still getting double-digit numbers in Republican primaries despite having dropped out of the race more than two months ago.

Nikki Haley
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during a news conference, March 6, 2024, in Charleston, S.C.

Haley now says she will vote for Trump despite previously saying during the heated primaries he was "not qualified."

The vote total takes on even greater significance in close battleground states like Wisconsin.

Haley picked up 76,000 votes in the April 2 Wisconsin primary. Trump won with 80% of the vote. But in a state that has been decided by fewer than 25,000 votes in the past two presidential elections, Trump is going to need those Haley supporters, especially female voters, in November.

He dismissed any concerns when asked about Haley's supporters in the Scripps News interview.

"She got very few voters. And those voters are all coming to me," Trump said.

President Biden faces a similar problem within his Democratic base.

In April, 48,000 Wisconsin voters chose "uninstructed" in the Democratic primary — 8% of the total vote. It was nearly double that in Dane County, a blockbuster county for liberals.

Again, do the math: Where those voters end up on Nov. 5 is important to President Biden's reelection prospects.

Uninstructed or "uncommitted" votes in other states have been viewed as protest votes against President Biden. Many are disappointed with President Biden's decision to provide ongoing military aid to Israel in its war in Gaza after Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and seized 250 hostages.

Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan says he got an earful of concerns at town hall meetings last month with voters. He posted on X, "Gaza is a big concern. It's not just on college campuses. It's in rural America too."

The Madison Democrat opposed President Biden's request for additional military aid to Israel but he believes the president understands the concerns of voters and is best positioned to handle the challenges with Israel's war in Gaza.

“I do believe the president is saying many of the right things quietly,” Pocan said in an April interview with the New York Times.

Pro-Palestinian protesters have followed President Biden to almost every one of his public events, some carrying signs or chanting "Genocide Joe."

President Biden has called for an immediate cease-fire to bring all the hostages home, more food and water to help with the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and for a long-term solution to bring peace in the Middle East.

Win Wisconsin, Win the White House?   

Both President Biden and Trump believe winning Wisconsin could mean winning the White House.

Trump has campaigned twice in the Badger State in 2024.

"It really is an important state for us. Wisconsin has to be won by us," Trump told Scripps News. "We want to win it, if we win Wisconsin, I think we win the whole thing."

So far, the Biden-Harris team is winning the race for most visits to Wisconsin.

Labor Day traditionally kicks off the presidential campaign season, but it was more like New Year's Day this year.

Kamala Harris
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivers a speech at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore before departing for Vietnam on the second leg of her Southeast Asia trip, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP)

Vice President Kamala Harris first visited Waukesha on Jan. 22 to kick off her reproductive rights tour. She was back in Milwaukee on May 16. It was her fourth visit to the swing state.

President Biden has been in Wisconsin four times. The most recent visit for the Microsoft announcement also included a campaign stop to talk to Black voters.

President Biden's direct appeal to Wisconsin voters, especially African Americans, was evident when he was asked about what is at stake in this election during a radio interview with 101.7 The Truth's Sherwin Hughes.

"There's so much at stake: Democracy, freedom, our economy, all are on the line," said President Biden.

The Biden-Harris team in Wisconsin said it has already opened 46 offices across the state with 80 staffers.

Republicans hold their national convention in Milwaukee starting July 15. Democrats will gather in Chicago starting Aug. 19.

Polls in Wisconsin show President Biden and Trump in a dead-even race.