Crowd gathers as President Trump prepares for his Milwaukee rally

MILWAUKEE — President Donald Trump is set to address a crowd of his supporters at the Panther Arena in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

The crowd set up early, some securing their spot in the line across from the arena at 5 p.m. Monday.

Hours before the speech was scheduled to begin, hundreds had showed up.

Jim VanLieshout, a retired banker from Jefferson, said he and his wife got in at 9 a.m. because they were excited to see Trump.

“Back in 2016 we were more anti-Hillary-Clinton voters, but as we’ve progressed in through the Donald Trump first one, of two that we hope, my wife and I have become very big supporters of Trump,” VanLieshout said. “We really like what he’s been doing.”

He said the economy, national security and general American presence have improved since Trump has gotten in office, and it’s keeping VanLieshout signed on through the 2020 election. He said if voters take their emotion out of it and look at the economy, “Trump will win in a landslide.”

On the north side of Milwaukee, Rick Banks doesn’t think Trump has a chance.

In his work as the political director and organizer for Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, Banks has talked to dozens of people who live on Milwaukee’s north side to try and get them politically engaged.

“Our thought is we’re going to go out, we’re going to talk to people about why it’s important to participate in elections,” He said. “We’re going to tell them about who their elected officials are, the decisions that they’re making and how that’s affecting them, and we’re hopefully going to motivate them to vote and go beyond that to be civically engaged in contacting their elected officials and holding them accountable.”

Banks said he is aware of how narrowly Wisconsin went for Trump in 2016, and he thinks the voters on the north side can turn the state blue in 2020.

“The future of the world basically feels like it’s reliant on what happens on the north side of Milwaukee,” he said.

The importance of the state isn’t lost on voters in the Republican Party.

VanLieshout said he is sure Trump will be back to try and secure the state, and if he comes to Madison or Milwaukee, VanLieshout is going.

“He learned his lesson from 2016, Hillary,” he said. “You ignore Wisconsin, you may be getting beat, so I don’t think Donald trump is going to ignore Wisconsin at all.”

Trump is slated to speak at Panther Arena beginning at 7 p.m.