Wisconsin just voted for a Republican president for the first time since 1984. The state’s governor, Scott Walker, thinks the GOP and President Donald Trump cannot bank on that support to continue without showing economic results.
“We need to earn those votes every single time. I don’t think any vote, particularly those votes are in no way a given,” Walker, a Republican, told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on Wednesday.
“They were looking for somebody to shake things up. We did it in Wisconsin. To keep earning their vote, Donald Trump as president is going to have to deliver on his promises.”
In November, Trump surprised Hillary Clinton in recently blue Wisconsin, topping her by less than a percent. Trump’s frequent appeals to working-class voters and focus on manufacturing also helped to fuel close wins in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Democratic strongholds in presidential elections for more than 20 years.
On the campaign trail and since taking office, Trump has made ambitious pledges to create jobs and revive manufacturing that may prove daunting in practice. In an address to Congress Tuesday night, he pledged that “dying industries will come roaring back to life.”
Trump has promised that corporate and individual tax cuts, regulatory rollback and penalties for companies that move abroad will help to boost job growth in areas like Wisconsin. He has given few specifics about how those policies will work in practice, while Congress has yet to enact much of his agenda amid a packed schedule.
Still, Trump has had just over a month in office so far.
Walker said Trump will need to focus on fulfilling his campaign promises to keep the trust of people in Wisconsin. The governor said he was most optimistic about Trump’s early push to slash regulations, adding that he believes three-fourths of regulations could get cut or moved to the state level.
“Probably the No. 1 issue I hear from employers of any sort, particularly in manufacturing, is rein in the out-of-control regulatory process in Washington. And this president is committed to doing it,” Walker said.
Critics of Trump’s economic agenda have argued that his tax plan and regulatory rollback could help wealthy individuals and large corporations more than working-class people.
Wisconsin had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in December, below the national rate of 4.7 percent.
Walker was first elected governor in 2010, surviving a recall election in 2012 before winning again in 2014. He sparked backlash in the state with efforts to curb public-employee union collective bargaining rights. Walker briefly ran against Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.