Some thoughts on Jason Rae

Last week I grabbed a cup of coffee and had a chat with Democratic National Committee member Jason Rae, one of a spate of Democrats vying to succeed Mike Tate as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. I met with Jason at his request, but rather than sit and interview him, he wanted to pick my brain about the DPW Chair race and the state of the Democratic Party here in Wisconsin.

As I shared my thoughts on the DPW Chair race, I started by noting the many, many criticisms of the poor messaging efforts on the part of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin over the past five years, and Jason agreed that the Democratic Party cannot win in Wisconsin with a message that revolves largely around, “Scott Walker is eeevil” or some permutation of that message. Instead of relying on a message that Democrats are against Scott Walker and that Scott Walker is “bad,” Jason noted the DPW needs to come up with a coherent message that will appeal to a broad swath of Wisconsinites, including those voters who may have some measure of buyer’s remorse after the 2014 election. Jason said Democrats need to get back to a clear message that includes a focus on public education and a minimum wage increase, because in his words Democrats in Wisconsin need to stand for something, instead of simply standing against Scott Walker.

I also noted Jason was taking a lot of criticism from many who believe because of his status as a member of the Democratic National Committee and his strong ties to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin he would not represent a real change from the status quo. While acknowledging his strong ties to the national Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin could lead to many viewing him as the establishment candidate who wouldn’t represent much of a change from current DPW Chair Mike Tate, Rae challenged that idea. He made it clear he believed the relationships he has built thanks to his involvement in the DNC would allow him the ability – if needed – to reach out to Democrats across the nation to help rebuild the Democratic Party in Wisconsin.

I also challenged Jason regarding the lack of specificity as relates to his vision for moving the Democratic Party of Wisconsin forward, and he readily acknowledged he needs to do a better job of laying out a clear, detailed plan on how he’d build the Democratic Party of Wisconsin back up into a viable statewide party. In fact, Jason noted he has already started putting together a more detailed and comprehensive plan to address concerns that his plans aren’t specific enough.

While I understand many activists and grassroots types may remain skeptical of Jason Rae’s candidacy for DPW Chair due to his perceived close ties to the current DPW establishment, our conversation made it pretty clear to me that he’s not interested in continuing along the same path that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has been on. That being said, I’m still undecided on which candidate I’ll support for DPW Chair, because each candidate possesses strengths and weaknesses.


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13 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Jason Rae

  1. Yes, messaging is a problem as is the kumbaya. I am sick to death of it and do not want to be associated with a party that cannot stand up and kick some a** for what it believes.

    1. I’ve been asking for a while now: When did it become an accepted rule that conservatives get to be in-your-face, belligerent, and adamant about their views, while liberals/progressives always have to be meek and conciliatory? Maybe the average voter would feel more inclined to vote Democratic if Democrats would actually show some spine. We saw a bit of that during the “right to work” debate (when it was too late to stop it from going through), and I’d like to see a lot more of it.

  2. 1. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Wingnut-TX) just acquiesced to legalizing marijuana, “Ted Cruz’s Cannabis Conversion Reflects The Political Prudence Of Marijuana Federalism.”

    2. Property owners vote for the GOP, because they trust them to lower their state and local taxes.
    State Dems need to hop on this bandwagon, before Republicans can claim it’s “bi-partisan.”

    This 98-second video of Ronald Reagan saying there is no “freedom,” without “collective bargaining,” gives state Dems all the room they need to run on collective bargaining.

    “These are the values inspiring those brave workers in Poland, the values that have inspired other dissidents under communist domination, who have been willing to go into the gulag and suffer the torture of imprisonment, because of their dissidence. They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost…. They remind us that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. You and I must protect and preserve freedom here, or it will not be passed on to our children and it will disappear everywhere in the world. Today, the workers in Poland are showing a new generation how high is the price of freedom, but also how much, it is worth that price. I want more than anything I’ve ever wanted, to have an administration that will through its actions, at home and in the international arena, let millions of people know, that Miss Liberty, still lifts her lamp beside the golden door.”

    1. While the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a national issue, it really targets heavy manufacturing/exporting states like Wisconsin. My guess is that a lot of small suppliers in Wisconsin are just as terrified by T-PP, as the unions. Whomever the DPW chair is needs to be really fluent on Wisconsin exports. Another piece of that puzzle is the strong US dollar. That makes it cheaper to import, and makes our exports more expensive.

  3. Jason Rae is a good, hard working Democrat. I believe he full of good intentions and high ambitions.

    I also think Jason Rae had far more advantage and opportunity to demonstrate his ability to communicate, develop a detailed plan and create better messaging than any other candidate in the race.

    He had a Facebook campaign page and Jason Rae for DPW Chair website full of endorsements and vehicle for campaign contributions fully developed and ready for release within 24 hours of Mike Tate’s announcement that he would not seek another term as chair. I’ve said it before and will say it again. It reeks of insider coordination.

    With his Jason Rae for DPW Chair web page, his FB page and additional opportunites to communicate a more detailed plan and better messaging, including the the Q&A with Blogging Blue, I’ve not seen any more expansive or detailed communications. It’s all “we need to build a deeper bench” “build our team” and “Regroup, Re-focus & Re-energize”. Honestly,it sounds like a commercial for laundry detergent.

    Even in reaching out to you, he’s had the opportunity to demonstrate more of the leadership and better messaging he alludes to. Again, a missed opportunity.

    Given the premier consulting firm that employes him, I expect he will develop some hard hitting messges and a more detailed plan in the very soon.

    As of this time, the best communication and detailed plan for the party is coming from Jeff Smith.

    1. Hard to disagree with you Mac. Sounds like he’s saying what he needs to say at the moment.

  4. Aside from “income inequality, perhaps the most critical issue for the new DPW chair is the ease with which WIGOP executed their “divide-and-conquer” strategy over the unions the last few years. The takeaway is that a majority of Wisconsin voters failed to understand that unions help them. How do we fix that?

    Again, a negative federal income tax, aka a basic income guarantee isn’t a state issue, but it has support among conservatives and libertarians. This isn’t welfare. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, every US adult gets the same check.

    “Rethinking the Idea of a Basic Income for All”

    “…In October, Swiss voters submitted sufficient signatures to put an initiative on the ballot that would pay every citizen of Switzerland $2,800 per month, no strings attached. Similar efforts are under way throughout Europe. And there is growing talk of establishing a basic income for Americans as well. Interestingly, support comes mainly from those on the political right, including libertarians.

    The recent debate was kicked off in an April 30, 2012, post, by Jessica M. Flanigan of the University of Richmond, who said all libertarians should support a universal basic income on the grounds of social justice. Professor Flanigan, a self-described anarchist, opposes a system of property rights “that causes innocent people to starve.”

    She cited a paper by the philosopher Matt Zwolinski of the University of San Diego in the December 2011 issue of the journal Basic Income Studies, which also contained other papers by libertarians supporting the basic income concept. While acknowledging that most libertarians would reject explicit redistribution of income, he pointed to several libertarians, including the economists F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman, who favored the idea of a basic universal income.

    Friedman’s argument appeared in his 1962 book, “Capitalism and Freedom,” based on lectures given in 1956, and was called a negative income tax. His view was that the concept of progressivity ought to work in both directions and would be based on the existing tax code. Thus if the standard deduction and personal exemption exceeded one’s gross income, one would receive a subsidy equal to what would have been paid if one had comparable positive taxable income.

    Capitalism runs on sales and a negative federal income tax would jump start the economy and directly address income inequality. Because I think it would emphasize their support for all Americans, I’d like to see unions get behind this. (IMHO bringing back the full holiday on both sides of the payroll tax (FICA) should come first, but that would require unions and DPW to understand that a “balanced” federal budget is very bad for both. What has to “balance” are the three economic sectors, private (domestic), public, and foreign. “Beware Of Politicians Bearing Household Analogies Our huge trade imbalance makes it more difficult to extend the federal deficit. ((Japan can afford to run a huge federal deficit, because they export so much more than they import.)) Unions should be in the lead of pointing this out.)

  5. The question Rae needs to answer is, Would he be running for Chair if Mike Tate was running for reelection. Why is no one asking him this? He and Tate are the best of friends. Maybe we don’t need to ask.

  6. Just sent BRADLEYFORJUSTICE (State Supreme Court Justice Anne Walsh Bradley) a check. Jason’s listed on a fund raiser she’s having tomorrow in Milwaukee. Hope every Dem running for party chair is there.

  7. I just got an email from “Mike Tate” talking up the fact that Russ Feingold leads Ron Johnson in polls right now, and then promptly asking for a donation to the “Senate victory fund.” Is this the same kind of stuff that will continue if Jason Rae is DPW chair?

    1. Mase, thanks. Another issue is that BradleyForJustice is trying to raise funds for the non-partisan election on 7 April 2015 to keep her place on the State Supreme Court. It’s above my paygrade to understand, but it’s not clear to me that Mike’s timing is helping her. I hope I’m wrong about that and people more fluent in this stuff certainly know more than I do. OT, because it’s a non-partisan election, Tate/DPW can’t help Justice Bradley raise money.

      OT, imho how and when liberal (and afaik tactics are pretty standard across the political spectrum) groups raise money is a poorly understood and critical part of the process. Unfortunately, imho a lot of political organizations are more interested in staying in business than in actually achieving change. IMHO, OFA (Obama’s Organize For Action) has just devastated the fund raising attempts of many liberal and progressive groups who are much more committed to liberal and progressive ideals.

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