All day yesterday, I was ruminating on the upcoming Supreme Court primary and the great opportunity it presents for Democrats to vote Rebecca Bradley out of the race altogether. Even though the race is non-partisan, she is clearly one of Walker’s “tools” and would pretty much put an end to any hope of turning that court around. While I will admit that I have been distracted by all the fun associated with the Holiday Season and haven’t been paying close attention to the topic, a quick search of the internet confirmed that, indeed, there hasn’t been much coverage. And even though there was a lot of stuff swirling around in my head, I just couldn’t figure out how to approach the topic for a Blogging Blue post. Last night, a Plain Talk article written by Dave Zweifel popped up in my Facebook feed, and suddenly, all my thoughts came together:
“The key question is whether the state’s dysfunctional Democratic Party can get its act together in 2016 to get the message out to the voters on what’s been going on the past several years.”
As you all know, in the last 6 months, we’ve changed leadership in both the Democratic Party of WI and the Democratic Party of Milwaukee. In June, Martha Laning was elected the new DPW Chair. A quick check of the DPW website shows an easily navigated fund raising page with very little about specific races, candidates (except Feingold) or substantive issues….there’s one page called “Stop Unlimited Corporate Campaign Contributions in Wisconsin” that looks like a petition/fund-raising tool and links to a few articles, press releases and the bills themselves, but it’s from OCTOBER. Most of the Twitter (the most immediate form of communication for most grown ups) feed is two weeks old. Seriously? It was hard to find any detailed information on anything. It was slick and I don’t mean that in a good way. A quick Google check of Martha Laning yields nothing newsworthy since November (when she did a Q&A on her goals for the Party), except for the letter from the Trump campaign asking for help in getting on the ballot. The bulk of the search cites articles about her election….in June! This is exactly the reason I let my membership lapse…the State party is clearly out of touch with the situation. I had hoped that new leadership would turn it around, but I guess they have decided to stick with the “trite and true” style that allowed the complete takeover of our State by the WIGOP.
With this negative mindset, I then turned to the Milwaukee Dems website. And I was pleasantly surprised. The first thing I saw were photos of the three Democratic Presidential candidates and a mission statement which focused on action. There was a calendar of events, current press releases, and the Twitter feed was up to the minute. Fund-raising is clearly a priority, but after GOTV action. My first thought was that they are ready to “rock n roll” and will do what it takes to get folks to the polls. This group recently elected new leadership as well, and the Chair, Robert Hansen, has clearly made a commitment to change. However, there is virtually no coverage of the upcoming Spring Primary and General Elections, despite it including the Supreme Court, the Circuit Courts, and the Milwaukee County Executive races. They clearly support a particular candidate in the upcoming County Executive race, so this is the time to go all in. To be fair, the Spring ballots are still fluid, but by Tuesday we will know who is running in every race. With this Spring election being the Presidential Preference (that just cracks me up) Primary, we know that we will have a better than average turnout. It’s a numbers game, we need to get folks who vote our way out. We know that the Republican Party of Wisconsin will be whipping their supporters into a frenzy (and the Tea Party will tell their base that ISIS will kill you personally if you don’t vote for Trump) to get them to the polls. And they will all vote for Bradley. It will be easier to take her out in February than in April, so we had better make the most of this opportunity. It doesn’t knock on your door every day, you know.
As Democrats, and Progressives, we need to take the steps to get our act together now, get the message and the voters out, and change the course we are on. Anything less is pure insanity.