I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to make an endorsement in the race to succeed Mike Tate as Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW), and until this weekend I had intended on not making an endorsement. My reluctance to make an endorsement for DPW Chair was due in large part to my belief that each of the five candidate for DPW Chair possessed different strengths and experiences that I’d like the next DPW Chair to have, and so I didn’t feel there was an “ideal” candidate in the race. However, as I’ve thought about the direction I’d like to see the Democratic Party of Wisconsin take over the next few years and who might be able to best move the party in a new direction, I began to realize that there is in fact a candidate running for DPW Chair who can move the party in a new, more positive direction.

That’s why I’m endorsing Martha Laning for Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

As I noted above, my endorsement of Martha Laning for DPW Chair isn’t made lightly, nor is it an endorsement I make without risk of alienating myself from the establishment of Democratic Party of Wisconsin, but it’s an endorsement I felt I had to make. After evaluating each of the candidates for DPW Chair and comparing their ideas on how to move the Democratic Party of Wisconsin forward, Martha Laning just stood out to me as a solid progressive with the best ideas on how to move the Democratic Party of Wisconsin forward in a way that improves not only the party’s messaging, but also that works towards rebuilding the party across the state.

In regards to messaging, I believe Martha Laning’s ideas on messaging that is not only values-driven but also more personal and relatable for the voters that the party needs to bring back into the fold is the right approach to take to move the Democratic Party of Wisconsin forward. Instead of simply being against Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican allies in the Legislature, we Democrats (starting with the DPW itself) need to define what we’re for. Democrats have a message that should resonate with poor and working people across Wisconsin, regardless of gender, ethnic background, religious beliefs, or whether those folks live in cities like Milwaukee or rural communities like Mineral Point.

What’s more, I’m endorsing Martha Laning because she represents a break from “politics as usual” within the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Much has been made recently of the fact that Martha Laning does not have a perfect voting record and was not a dues-paying member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin until a year or two ago, but I don’t believe for a second Martha Laning is not qualified to serve as DPW Chair simply because she doesn’t have a perfect voting record or wasn’t a dues-paying member until recently. The fact is, there are 1.5 million voters in Wisconsin who vote for Democrats but who aren’t dues-paying members of the party, and I don’t consider those folks to be lesser Democrats than anyone who happens to pay dues to the party. I think it’s wrong to deem a candidate less “pure” or qualified to hold the position simply because they can’t live up to an artificial standard. The fact is, Martha Laning cares about moving the Democratic Party of Wisconsin forward, and that’s the only standard any of us should care about when it comes to choosing our next Party Chair.

Though I’m not a delegate to the 2015 Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention, I’m proud to endorse Martha Laning, because I think she would serve Wisconsin’s Democrats well as their next Party Chair.

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11 Responses to My endorsement for DPW Chair

  1. Duane12 says:

    I too thought she had some strengths and experience that would serve our party well.

  2. I spoke with a Laning supporter yesterday by phone myself (I am a delegate). I have to say, even with all of the negativity in the race, that we have several good options for chair. I wish the party office election rules were different here in Wisconsin. The DPW sent out a notice yesterday indicating that no, they will not be changed, and the candidate with the most first ballot votes will be elected chair.

    This REALLY needs to change for future chair elections. Talk about a small number of voters having a big impact. At least in Texas they have runoff elections at the convention so that the chair and officer candidates are always elected with a true majority of delegate votes.

    • John K. Smith says:

      Marcus, I agree 110%. If it is really true that the election rules cannot be changed this weekend (still not sure if I believe this based on conversations with insiders) … then at the very least it needs to be fixed this weekend for next year. There is ZERO reason to have a non-secret ballot and ZERO reason not to have some kind of simple rank choice voting (even if it was just a 1-2 or 3 rank) or a runoff voting round. Ranked choice would probably be the best logistically because there would only have to be one round of voting.

      As Democrats we should NEVER be against more Democracy in our party.

    • Bruce Johnson says:

      Agreed. If we have to vote to accept the rules, as is a common early item of business at a convention, it doesn’t make sense that we can’t change them.
      Given the shenanigans in Milwaukee, it seems there are people with a stake in preserving a large voting block and electing a chair with less than a majority vote.

  3. CJMcD says:

    Zach,

    Unless you click on the article to comment you cannot see who wrote it on your main page.
    Is that something that could be fixed? It’s nice to be able to see who authors an article.

  4. mal says:

    Laning, Jeff Smith and Joe Wineke would all be a sea change from the gang that can’t shoot straight.

    But this election is rigged by Tate and Nation Consulting.

    There has to be some way for a united front against Rae and Nation Consulting.

    If you think the Dem Party sucks now, consider the Dems run by Nation Consulting.

  5. John Casper says:

    trademark, glad you finally came around and joined the Democratic party.

    “Scott Walker’s Wisconsin worst in nation on shrinking middle class”

    http://bloggingblue.com/2015/03/new-report-scott-walkers-wisconsin-worst-in-nation-on-shrinking-middle-class/

  6. Thanks, Zach,for making your endorsement without vilifying anyone.

    As I’ve said elsewhere on this platform, I find it extremely unhelpful to attack persons, rather than ideas.

    We have our differences – some important ones – but, to steal a line from Ben Franklin, “We must hang together or most assuredly we will hang separately.”

  7. brutus says:

    Martha has a clear vision on what its going to take to turn the party around. The chair seems to attack walker. When the real problem are the policy’s the Republicans are passing.Attack all of them so our elected has something to work with. Tate has his hand picked in Rae. Basically Tate 2. An old chair is not the answer. The game has changed past performance doesnt mean future results. Martha has a plan. Not a promise. Everyone Promise’s

  8. MaseMan says:

    I agree that Martha Laning is a great choice. She will be a fresh face who will bring fresh ideas and needed change to the DPW.

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