Many Wisconsin Progressives are extremely unhappy with the candidacy of Trek Executive, Mary Burke. Nary a day goes by without Facebook posts about Burke’s lack of a progressive outlook and Vinehout’s expected announcement.
Most recently a member of the Solidarity Sing-A-Long put up a post stating that “Burke is among the one percent” and “she spent $100,000.00 to defeat ‘candidate XYZ’ for Madison School Board.” He then appeared to insult Burke for not taking part in the Solidarity Sing-A-Long or other protests. Perhaps Burke is not partaking in these activities because she is busy running a credible, state-wide campaign against a highly funded, well-known, incumbent governor?
Burke has been criticized for not taking part in other activities such as Fighting Bob Fest. These allegations are more worthy of ridicule considering that Bob Fest is a great platform for her to reach out to like-minded individuals and voters, yet she neglected to us it. It is less relevant, though, that she is not taking the time to sing songs in the Capitol Rotunda.
The Solidarity Singers have every constitutional right to do what they do. It was wrong for Walker to have them arrested and they have proven that they have the organizational skills and the perseverance to be a credible group. However, a question to pose to them is: Are you using your time effectively?
If the singers want to bring about change in Wisconsin, would it not be more effective if they spent their hour-a-day time slot registering voters? Writing blogs? Writing letters to the editor? Campaigning for progressive candidates? If these types of actions were used during the spring elections, perhaps Ed Fallone would be sitting on the State Supreme Court listening to such arguments as Act 10, Voter ID, and Anti-choice legislation.
The outbursts against Burke may or may not be justified, that will certainly be determined in the coming months; but right now, she is the only person in the state who has stepped up to bat for us. There are other candidates who are lesser known, but Mary Burke is the one who has put herself out there for the state to see and judge. Also, as the polling from Marquette shows, she is appealing to everyday “centrist” voters. Voters that will decide the election in 2014.
More often than not, progressives will point to Kathleen Vinehout as their candidate. Senator Vinehout is a great progressive who has proven to be a fighter for the people of her district and the people of our great state. If I sat in a room with Burke and Vinehout, I have little doubt that my ideologies would align with Vinehout more often than Burke. Given the choice (which will most likely be presented), Vinehout would most likely be my personal choice.
However, in the case that Vinehout loses the primary, or decides not to run at all, the question that needs to be asked of Wisconsin progressives is as follows: What can a progressive governor accomplish without the State Assembly?
The Republicans have gerrymandered our State Assembly into a right-wing stronghold. In 2012, nearly 200,000 more Wisconsinites pulled the lever for a Democrat than a Republican, but the GOP stills holds nearly two-thirds of the seats in the Assembly. A mid-term election will generally pull in less voters, so that margin will shrink at best and reverse at worst. The sad reality is that in 2014, Wisconsin’s best hope could be to simply plug the leak by ousting Scott Walker, which will result in stopping the GOP’s railroading of the state, as well as Walker’s Presidential ambitions.
If you are angry with what Walker has done to Wisconsin, just imagine what would happen if he were able to get into the Oval Office. 2014 will help form 2016. Do you really want to mould it to Walker’s liking because “Burke is not progressive enough for you,” so you didn’t show up?
Note: This is not an endorsement for Burke, nor meant to bash the Solidarity Singers. It is simply meant to spark a conversation that I don’t hear anywhere else. If you believe that a progressive governor can be effective without the State Assembly, or if you believe that we can take back the Assembly: Convince me! (but be professional in doing so)