The Election Season of Magical Thinking: STOP IT!

I don’t think I can remember and delineate all of the wild suppositions and conspiracy theories and miracle side steps that were tossed around in the past year as favored candidates fell by the way side. And I don’t have the energy to go back and search them all out…it sucks the life out of my soul. But from the Bernie Bros to the super delegates to the emails to the rigging to the ‘devious’ DNC to the Russians to the FBI to goodness gracious what next!

But tomorrow, Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States. Some faithless electors may cast a ballot for someone else other than Mr. Trump, but it won’t be for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump will win the electoral college vote tomorrow. Donald Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th 2017.

Stop thinking otherwise. Now is the time to get involved and oppose his agenda. Now is the time to support those electeds who will provide leadership in government. Now is the time to work with potential candidates for 2018 and 2020 who can step into the breach when the Trump regime fails.

But stop thinking the electoral college will do anything of historical significance tomorrow. (and I mean you too DFA who just sent out a stupid email suggesting we can sway the EC…sheesh…this shit is why we lost)

Ceding Federal Lands to the States

Over the last decade or so…as a part of the Bundy federal lands grazing incidents and their takeover of federal lands in Oregon…the subplot was state’s rights and federal lands should be ceded to the states. Well those conversations seem to be coming up again since the Donald Trump win on November 8th.

First, ceding federal lands to the states under these conditions is giving into terrorists…something that the US have vowed never to do.

But on what I perceive to be legal and historical grounds, the state’s have no rights to the federal lands within their borders. Because they are federal lands. They belong to me and you and every other citizen of the United States and not just to the residents of Oregon or Wyoming or South Dakota. They are held to benefit all of us as a nation not to the individual states.

And then there is the fact that most of those federal lands have been owned by the United States before any of those states even came into existence. What right do the states have to pre-existing domain?

But I fear that this will come to the forefront sometime during a Trump regime…and it must not be permitted to happen. Federal lands should be held in perpetuity for the common good.

Added 12/21/16: From the NY Times: It’s Our Land. Let’s Keep It That Way.

The Future Of American Manufacturing Under a Trump Regime!

President-elect Donald Trump has continued his threats against American manufacturers who move their plants and the related jobs out of the country with 35% tariffs on the manufactured goods that they import back to the states. The lure of low wages in countries like Mexico and China and Viet Nam may be too overwhelming to prevent those job migrations despite those threats. And here is just what might happen (and there is a hint of this in some of the press around the Carrier plant and a rumored American iPhone plant).

We might very well see new small highly automated American plants building cell phones, TVs, washers, dryers, lawnmowers, microwaves, textiles, etc…plants that stay or come back. Plants that employ 120 people instead of 800 like 15 or 20 years ago. And their productivity will be huge! Just huge! And their output will be sold in the American market and the American market only…cause it’s gonna cost 30, 50, 80% more than products made overseas.

And American plants and American jobs will continue to move overseas but their output will be sold overseas in Europe, Japan, China, India and emerging markets worldwide. They won’t be re-imported…they won’t incur the 35% tax…and the American economy will suffer. Suffer bigly. Suffer from higher prices and a loss of jobs for exported goods when those foreign markets retaliate by not purchasing American manufactured goods or agricultural products or American services.

It’s All About Trump’s Ego

Everyone keeps putting forth reasons why President-elect Donald Trump disbelieves the CIA report that Russia is behind hacking the DNC emails and servers. Mr. Trump continually denies placing the onus on Moscow. Some attribute to his lack of experience. Or his lack of understanding how hacking works. Or not understanding how computer security tracks this stuff. Or his coziness with Mr. Putin or the various ties his appointees have with the Russian government. Shrug, maybe so.

But it may be simpler than that…it just might be his big fat ego not wanting to give anyone else credit for influencing the race or affecting its outcome other than ~ Donald Trump!

[and yes his inability to accept the conclusions of our intelligence agencies is particularly troubling]

Trump and His Generals

I am going to leave the names out but here are some interesting comments from the interwebs about some of Donald Trump’s appointments.

“I know more than the generals do.”

*picks a bunch of generals*

it’s hard to build a junta without generals in your cabinet.

Inauguration Day is going to look like a North Korean army-parade.

Yes, but these generals are HIS generals…

Christian Schneider Proved Gerrymandering Exists in Wisconsin.

Ironically GOP shill and right wing apologist, JSOnline’s Opinion blogger Christian Schneider recently set out to damn the federal court ruling on WI redistricting and prove gerrymandering didn’t exist. When in fact he proved that it does.

In typical Mr. Schneider style book meanderings he starts off with something that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. And as most of us know, statewide elections whether it be for president or senator or governor hasn’t a thing to do with voting districts. But he digresses with:

It goes without saying that Donald Trump’s victory in Wisconsin nearly two weeks ago was unexpected. But according to a three-judge federal panel who just declared Wisconsin’s legislative maps unconstitutional, Trump’s stunning victory would have been all but impossible.

When you guys figure out what that has to do with the price of corn in Iowa county, let me know.

After throwing out chaff to put everyone off the scent, he got off track and proved the fact he was intent on disproving. And after talking about how assembly districts couldn’t have possibly have been designed to favor republicans, he goes exactly here:
.

A good number of Democrats win large victories without a Republican challenger, which artificially inflates their share of the statewide vote.

Now the last half is meant to deflate the rational that Democrats get the majority vote in the state but don’t hold the majority assembly seats…but in those districts without a Republican challenger there aren’t ANY Republican votes. Yes, that is all kinda round and roundy logic and you can see it from either perspective you want.

And the big BUT is “A good number of Democrats win large victories without a Republican challenger…”. Why do you suppose that is? No Republican challenger? Because the GOP leaders in Madison did in fact gerrymander all of those pesky Democrat voters into their own little safe blue districts. Far far away from the red districts just so they couldn’t muck up the Republican incumbents.

So yes, the WI redistricting was in fact gerrymandering…and this helps support that…if the other clues in the mass media weren’t already proof enough!

Nancy Pelosi Has Got To Go

I have no axe to grind with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. I respect her accomplishments as a member of the House, as the first woman Speaker of the House, and most recently as minority leader.

But if we haven’t learned from the 2016 presidential election cycle, particularly from the insurgent campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders and the eventual win of Donald Trump. that the electorate wants change, what are we doing here?

There is no way we can think about winning 2018 if we roll out the same ole some ole. We need new leadership. We need someone fresh who can take on the GOP majority. We need someone who can inspire the newly franchised, the newly involved. We need someone who will take on Donald Trump.

I don’t have a dog in this fight…other than Nancy Pelosi should not be re-elected to her house minority leadership position.

For another take on her leadership and her apparent plan to consolidate her power: Black Caucus member knocks Pelosi over leadership shakeup.

Christine Welcher: The 2016 election is over – where do we go from here?

The election is over. My mind is slowly coming out of its frozen, numb state. I’m beginning to do some deep soul searching as to what happened on Tuesday. While many are mourning over Trump’s election, my tears have been for the State of Wisconsin. Dems did not pick up any seats, in fact we lost some. Russ, our progressive leader, lost to a do-nothing candidate. I lost to an even worse do-nothing candidate. How could this have happened?

I declared my candidacy for Representative to Wisconsin’s 32nd Assembly District in December of 2015. We knew we needed time to build our reputation and get the word out about our campaign and our message of bi-partisan reform. From the very beginning I found myself fighting with the state party and the local, county party over resources, access to the VAN and training. I finally realized none would be coming and I honestly think that’s what saved my sanity through the next 10 months.

We formed a grassroots movement made up of fabulous letter writers, activists and volunteers willing to knock doors and make phone calls and people willing to make videos for us and design websites, flyers and banners. We held listening sessions starting in February. We attended community events and fundraisers. We knocked doors every weekend and even during the week, all while I worked 40+ hours farming and teaching at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. During the last 2 months we upped our game. Wednesday and Friday we held signs and waved at busy intersections throughout the district as people were coming home. Thurs, Sat and Sun we knocked doors to build relationships and let our neighbors know we were going to be there, right by their side, until things improved. Whenever I got a few minutes I worked on my call list of targeted possible Trump Supporters. You see, we knew the stats and reality. Dems can’t win in these districts by only getting out the Dem vote. WI isn’t the 5th worst gerrymandered state in history because of unwillingness to vote. It’s the 5th worst because they (the GOP) did a damn fine job making sure they would never lose a seat.

Even with all of this, I lost. The silver lining is we did do better than both Hillary and Russ in our district so we know we are on to something. This year the anti-establishment craze was so strong, no one even remotely connected to it was safe. My sin was I had a “D” behind my name. Hillary Clinton has 30+ years of ties to Washington and government. While in most years that would be seen as an impressive resume, this year it was the cement shoes that sunk us all. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but some of us have been saying this from the beginning.

I know this will ruffle some feathers, but I don’t blame the people who voted for Trump. I blame the DNC and the DPW. I especially blame the DPW because we all knew how much we needed to pick up some seats in both the Assembly and Senate. There was no mention or support for Assembly or Senate races in the Monday Messages, or the weekly Chair’s Report. Nothing! At the county level, things are so disorganized and short staffed the parties just stood back and let the coordinated campaign take over. Somehow with their fancy “science” and numbers they (The Coordinated Campaign – CC) was able to convince local people, who know the breakdown of D vs R, that it’s ok to just target Dems because, “When people turn out, Dems win!” YAY!!!! Except that didn’t happen. Not only did that not happen, but somehow the GOP got the majority of new voters to come out and vote against someone, instead of for someone, for the first time in a long time.

There were not voter registration drives in my area. There were no listening sessions or town halls to try to spread a message of empowerment and togetherness. Hell, we didn’t even try to talk to people on “the other side” because it was seen as “a waste of time.” A waste of time??? A waste of time to try and pitch your side? To try and see where they are coming from and give them a better option? I was pretty much blown over when I got that response from my local CC organizer. That’s the day I stopped coming into the county office and decided I was officially 100% independent of the party and their support.

Where exactly does the blame lie? I don’t know. I’ll be honest; I don’t know how this whole party thing works. I was naive enough to think if you put yourself out there and sacrificed a year of your life Dems would support you as best as they could. Turns out you have to be in the “inner circle” or a “sure thing” in order to get support and that’s really sad. I honestly don’t know what we could have done differently. We worked our butts off and my opponent literally did nothing.

That’s been the hardest pill to swallow. The fact that an incumbent can have a reputation for not attending district meetings, not responding to citizens’ concerns, and then not even attempt to campaign and still be elected by 20+ points. The reputation of the Democratic Party is so tarnished in the rural areas that a good candidate with an amazing team can’t even have a shot at winning. Where do we go from here?

1) Stronger County Parties
In my experience, county party boards last for a few years, get burnt out and then everyone quits. There are so few volunteers or members the same handful of people gets stuck doing everything. When they do quit there’s no records or continuity so the whole county has to start over. This is the same for candidates who try to run. No notes on where to leave signs, who’s willing to organize, make calls, knock doors, etc. Even though I declared in December of last year, it really wasn’t until July/August that we finally got things semi-figured out and organized. That’s a lot of wasted time.

The state party needs to re-allocate their budget. All counties should be able to apply for grants and assistance to keep an office open all year, every year. Parties and party members should get involved in the community on off years by volunteering, helping with community fundraisers or holiday meals, you name it. The more active the party is with their community the more support and resources they get from the state. We need our neighbors to see we value them every day, not just 2 months every 4 years.

2) More resources for training and outreach
We need a new message. We need big ideas and we need the courage to stand behind them. This is going to take a whole new approach to messaging, outreach, and basic community building. We need our neighbors to know we are just like them. We, too, want a brighter future for our kids, roads that don’t send our cars to the shop for alignment problems, better paying jobs.

We need monthly workshops on communicating with other viewpoints, on messaging and organizing. We need committees for aspiring writers who can channel their pain and anger into letters to the editor or opinion pieces. We need small subgroups to keep people involved, engage and active. I don’t know about other areas but we go from 200 members in an election year to 80 members a year later. This has to stop. We have to keep our members and continue to grow our county parties, especially with younger blood! (Sorry, not sorry!)

3) Whole New Approach to Elections
We cannot continue to pander to people for their vote. We need to start building relationships, lasting relationships. Not just to get through the presidential elections. We also need to change our focus from top of the ticket to bottom of the ticket! We need the majority of resources going to local and state races. The presidential candidates can raise their own money and can pay for their own volunteers. We are going to keep ours!

We live in this state. We don’t get to move back to some other area once the election is lost. Start investing in Wisconsin! Start emphasizing the importance of local candidates, assembly candidates, senate candidates. These are the people who are responsible for the majority of legislation that affects our daily lives. Once we turn the focus to local elections and make people understand how important they are, we don’t have to worry about low voter turnout in mid-term years. Every year is important!

This might be a good place to start, but the important thing is we start. If the state party won’t listen, we do it ourselves. What happened on Tuesday can never happen again! Democrats either need to become the Party of We, the People, or we need to replace them with a party who will. I have to say at this point I’m fine with both options. I’m done talking and thinking and “let’s see-ing.” I want change and I want it now.

Christine Welcher
East Troy, WI

What, exactly, is wrong with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin?

Last week I posted a piece about how I thought DPW Chair Martha Laning should resign. The feedback both here and on Facebook was predictable, and ran along lines we’ve heard previously.

It goes like this: the chair doesn’t really have much power, the systemic problems the party faces are beyond the chair’s control, if we want to really change the party we need to deal with both the systemic problems and the power brokers behind the scenes, etc. But here’s what we don’t know, and what we haven’t been able to find out over the last several years.

If the chair doesn’t really have much power, then exactly what does the chair actually do? How does the person in this position spend their day? And how do the 15 other staff currently listed on the DPW website spend their day? With 16, presumably, full time staff people on the job, we currently have 640 hours a week of staff time devoted to advancing the cause of electing democrats across the state.

And if the chair of the DPW and her staff don’t really have much power, then who does? Do they have names? Are they at the helm of organizations that run parallel to the DPW? If so, what organizations, and how do the people that staff these organizations spend their day?

I can almost guarantee you that the bulk of the 14,000 members of the DPW statewide couldn’t answer these questions, and neither can I, even though I’ve been asking them since well before Mike Tate left office.

It’s time for some answers. It’s probably time for a radical restructuring of the entire edifice of both the party and its allied entities, but we won’t know what’s needed until there’s some stark transparency about what’s going on now.