Op Ed

Democrats Must Fight Back Or Lose

Wisconsin is ground zero for Republican scorched earth tactics. How will Dems respond?

By - Jan 8th, 2017 01:46 pm
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Wisconsin Capitol Protests. Photo by Patti Wenzel

Wisconsin capitol protests during the passing of the controversial Act 10. Photo by Patti Wenzel

It is the time of year when prognosticators offer lists of what to expect in the coming year. But instead of questionable predictions, I offer Wisconsin progressives one iron clad guarantee — we will lose every single time that we don’t fight back.

We all know what’s coming. We’ve seen the playbook already here in Wisconsin when Republicans took complete control of state government.

Times have been hard for progressives as we’ve seen the most ruthless, relentless and irresponsible Republican majorities in state history run amok. Wisconsin has been left behind after a record-setting 81 straight months of private sector job creation under President Obama amounting to nearly 16 millions jobs across the country.

Wisconsin Republicans give billions of dollars in tax breaks to the rich and corporations and at the same time our state can’t pay its bills and Republicans can’t fund simple road construction in areas across the state. Wisconsin public schools have been stripped of badly-needed resources while the unaccountable private voucher school cartel takes more and more money with less accountability.

Wisconsin is in the top five in the nation for percentage of university graduates saddled with crippling student loan debt. Wisconsin continues to be ground zero for state sanctioned voter suppression and disenfranchisement. And Wisconsin Republicans have seen to it that women, minorities, LGBTQ persons, poor people and workers are treated like second class citizens.

But the good news is that we can fight back, and we can even win.

Just look at the fight to protect voting rights and free and fair elections. A federal lawsuit in which we at One Wisconsin Institute were the lead plaintiff and worked with partner organizations and activists resulted in a judge invalidating numerous Republican efforts to manipulate the rules on voting intended to give themselves an unfair partisan advantage.

Now we’re seeing the Wisconsin playbook being opened in Washington D.C.

Do you think it was an accident that right off the bat Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives attempted to gut independent ethics oversight of their activities? Are you surprised we still haven’t been informed about how Donald Trump will prevent the appearance of, if not actual, conflicts of interest between the welfare of the people of the United States and his personal business interests?

So here’s what we need to do: get informed, get involved and speak up.

Sticking our heads in the sand won’t stop Republicans from embarking on an effort to take our tax money and give it to their friends while decimating things like healthcare, education and environmental protections. Standing by silently won’t protect our rights in the workplace or at the ballot box. And staying home on election days isn’t going to help people who want to represent progressive values in government.

There is no doubt that 2017 is not going to be a banner year for people who care about progressive politics in Wisconsin and our nation.

As hard as it will be fighting against the agenda of Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker and their cohorts the view isn’t going to be any better from the sidelines, folks. And not speaking up and making your voice heard will only ensures that it won’t be.

So let’s resolve to get to work in 2017.

Scot Ross is the executive director of One Wisconsin Now, a progressive statewide advocacy organization and a national leader for student loan reform.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

35 thoughts on “Op Ed: Democrats Must Fight Back Or Lose”

  1. Jason says:

    I don’t understand the wealthy county of Dane always goes democratic and the wealthiest suburbs of Milwaukee went blue. President Obama took a Dow Jones average of 7000 to 20000. Wall street donated hundreds of millions to Obama and Hillary and you accuse the republicans as the party of the rich. Look in the mirror.

  2. Vincent Hanna says:

    Golly gee Jason I wonder why everyone and their grandma thinks the GOP is the party of the rich. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/02/04/the-gops-party-of-the-rich-problem-in-two-charts/?utm_term=.3ab52a905589

  3. simon says:

    The answer is simple. Let’s assume the Democratic party is a party for BOTH. The Republican party is a party for only the top 1%. People in Dane county may be well to do but very few are filthy rich. They see through the lie of trickle down economics and refused to vote against their own interests. Or they are not single issue voters who have other concerns. The same cannot be said of Republican voters.

  4. Vincent Hanna says:

    I think that’s true Simon. There’s obviously a lot of money in politics, and Jason is right when he says Democrats have received a lot of money from Wall Street. But it denies reality to claim that the GOP isn’t the party of the rich. There’s a reason the majority of the American people believe that.

  5. Geoffrey Skoll says:

    The Wisconsin Democratic Party has not been an effective political force since Pat Lucy was governor. The right wing avalanche which began with the tax cut for businesses and rich people and followed by Act 10 happened because the Dems and the public employee unions were asleep at the switch. The Center for Media and Democracy had been issuing warnings for months, but the lazy, fat, and exploitive party and union leaders did not care. They still don’t. Also, people do not win political advantage in courts. They win it with good, effective politics which starts (but does not end) with listening to what people need and want. That, of course takes work.

  6. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    The more the Dopey Left fights, the worse it gets for them, cause they re backing stupid things that the people do not want.
    They lost the election cause they focus in on ice packs, toilets, sex, DC, globalism, multi culturalism, greens and other loopy left wing programs that the regular families do not care about. He just wants a job and regular raises so he can make house, car payments and feed the family, have a beer and go deer hunting.
    They want to take his deer rifle away, his truck and he sees the country going to hell morally.

  7. Vincent Hanna says:

    WCD says: “The more the Dopey Left fights, the worse it gets for them, cause they re backing stupid things that the people do not want.”

    Facts say: “Democrats’ policies are more popular.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/16/democrats-policies-are-more-popular-but-republicans-are-more-ideologically-unified/?utm_term=.c1c401d9e799

    WCD I can’t wait for your response.

  8. Tom D says:

    Jason (post 1), you say “the wealthiest suburbs of Milwaukee went blue”.

    Which Milwaukee suburbs are wealthiest? I think they are River Hills, Mequon, and Brookfield. All voted red.

  9. happyjack27 says:

    Looking in the mirror, I see:

    Dodd-Frank act
    Efforts to raise the minimum wage.
    Against the bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy
    Against corporate subsidies
    etc. etc. etc.

    I like what I see.

  10. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Funny, you clowns, the voters across the country have thrown out the Left for the reasons I have outlined. Dod-Frank wrecked small banks, causing little towns across country to lose banks.
    Min wage doe nothing for anyone, except few, but put people out of work and the people that voted for Trump were not min wagers but teamsters, lumberjacks, farmers, plumbers, small business people.
    Bush cuts spurred economy till the Mortgage mess, invented by clinton, almost destroyed the country.
    We have the highest taxes, for companies in the world, that is why they are escaping and taking their jobs with them. These dumb things did not help working families one bit, th tis why you have lost everywhere. keep it up, Follow Soros, Ellison,Streep, Hillary, Bernie and keep losing.
    We love to see you lose and then whine on this site.

  11. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Happy jack, love you. You lost 90% of the counties in country last year, so please keep doing what you re doing, we love you whining losers.

  12. happyjack27 says:

    wcd, please try to keep the level of discourse above that of an ill-behaved toddler.

  13. Vincent Hanna says:

    Why did Clinton decisively win the popular vote if voters rejected the left? Why are Democratic policies more popular than Republican ones? Your argument, as usual, is full of flaws and holes and distortions and outright lies.

  14. happyjack27 says:

    You forget he’s post-truth. Flaws and distortions and even outright lies aren’t a problem in his world.

  15. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Keep whining, you got Calif and NEW York, you lost 90% of county. You can have both of them we will take the 90% of country and you can keep whining. Happy John, keep whining. Only way I can speak to you clowns, is to get down to your level.
    Please keep up the entertainment you have lost everything and have not the slightest idea what to do except whine.
    Keep it up: remember the real issues are: gay marriage, Tranvestites, toilets, the ice Cap, the pipe lines, SUV’s, taking away our hunting rifles, killing babies and selling the parts and on.

  16. happyjack27 says:

    See, Vincent? What else could you call that but a temper-tantrum?

  17. happyjack27 says:

    I think maybe he’s learning this behavior from Trump.

  18. Vincent Hanna says:

    Oh it’s an elderly man throwing a temper-tantrum. No one here is whining. They are asking questions and attempting to have a discussion. Instead of answering or engaging he calls people names and makes stuff up (taking away hunting rifles?).

    I have such a hard time picturing WCD as a real person. It’s surreal. If he’s actually a Russian troll I would believe it. An 80-year-old man goes online and calls people names. My 67-year-old father has never posted a comment online in his life and wouldn’t know where to start.

  19. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Thanks again, love to hear the pleasurable whine of the Left as they go down the drain and are hiring Pelosi, Soros, Moore, Gwen Moore, Tammy, Ellison as you leaders. total accomplaihemtns of that gang: 0000000 Zero!!1

    You are losers Baby! I the all these and first thing every morning I read thesis to get me going and laughing.

  20. Vincent Hanna says:

    Happy to brighten your day WCD. The image of an elderly man (poorly) typing and posting insults provides me with a mix of sadness and euphoria, so I guess we’re even.

  21. happyjack27 says:

    Thank you, WCD, for your thoughtful replies to our points. I appreciate you engaging in our discussion.

    You say some Republicans voted for the Dodd-Frank act, too? Yes, 4. Out of 41. Conversely 53 out of 55 Democrats did, and 2 out of 2 independants did. So it’s about as stark as a contrast as it gets. To use the usual euphemism, “a party-line vote”.

    What was that? The fact that policies are more popular does not make them right? True, but that was not the point being argued. You were arguing that their policies were unpopular. Evidence was provided to the contrary. Since the subject was the popularity of the policies, and not the their righteousness, evidence of popularity suffices to refute the claim of unpopularity.

    Again, thank you for your thoughtul replies.

  22. Jason says:

    Tom D. #8 River Hills is a suburb of Milwaukee and it is the wealthiest and it did vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Brookfield and Mequon are not suburbs of Milwaukee County.

  23. happyjack27 says:

    Alright at this point I’m going to point out he two obvious logical absurdities with this line of argument:

    1. A few data points does not a trend make (overt confirmation bias)

    2. Oh wait there are three things here – I’m going to interject number 2 – did you see how long that took? I’m pretty sure at this point if they got that one sample point right it was by chance. They were talking out their butt and then looked it up and happened to get a good flip of the coin so they owned it.

    3. Okay now what was originally 2. There is a clear and obvious difference between being wealthy and voting for someone and being someone who someone can vote for and ring a plutocrat. Case in point, red states, who are predominately low income, voted for trump, who filled his cabinet with the very swamp of Wall Street execs he said he’d empty from congress. Couldn’t be any bigger a disconnect than that.

  24. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Lefties, just keep doing what you are doing. I am in awe. As to my age: “Before you are
    old and smart, you are young and stupid”. Congrats you guys you got that down.
    As a vet of more than 100 campaigns, last year Trump and Johnson, we know how to win.

  25. happyjack27 says:

    I guess I can never get over people who say “I’m old therefore I’m smarter than you.”, who are clearly not even as smart as Aristotle, who died hundreds of years before they were born.

    It reminds me of a cartoon “I’ve been doing this for 100 years.” “Yes and in that 100 years you did it always the same way, which was, initially wrong.” That you did a wrong thing a billion times makes it no less wrong.”

    The question is not how many times one does or has down something. The question is always how do you solve the problem before you. Time is no argument for a solution. Nor is it an rhyme t against. Always it is logic that wins out. What does that mean?

    In North Carolina they banned reporting on sea level rise. In the end, who will be right? Why, the sea! It cares not for our opinions of it!

    At the end, we all lose. It’s a matter of how long we can stay in the game. And that means putting our arrogance aside and looking long and hard at te cards and where they lie and calculating meticulously.

    There are other players, no doubt. They may have better hands and they may have worse ones. They may be better at calculating the odds they may be worse.

    The moment you start assuming your hand is always better is the moment you lose all your money.

  26. happyjack27 says:

    Or I suppose in the case of Trump, the other way around.

  27. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    We just win.

  28. Vincent Hanna says:

    WCD, the more you call yourself smart, the less reason there is to believe it. You call everyone you disagree with a racist. That is not something a smart person does.

    Maybe River Hills residents don’t like candidates endorsed by the KKK. Imagine that.

  29. happyjack27 says:

    That long soliliquoy, perhaps I deaf ears.

    I don’t really think the 21st century is all that different from the 1st.

    “I know that I know not.” remains the dividing phrase between sophism and western philosohpy. Even today.

  30. Jason says:

    What ever happened to reperations for African Americans? DEMS NEED TO MOTIVATE THEIR BASE?

  31. happyjack27 says:

    Is that your game? You really think that the difference between slavery and equality is a matter of economic debt? I overestimated you. You’re a bigger a$$hole than I thought.

  32. Vincent Hanna says:

    They should take some lessons from Trump. His appeals to white supremacy were highly effective. Certainly motivated the base.

  33. Thomas says:

    Right, ONE WISCONSIN, Dems must fight back. The triumphs of ignorance, bigotry, and charlatan salesmanship in the 11/16 election means that we must fight back with knowledge, fair- mindedness, truth to power… We could start perhaps by finding a way to stop WCD from distracting us with his ignorant, bigoted and illiterate posts. I have asked him a # of times to take a break from posting until he completed a remedial writing class, but there is no evidence that he has read those posts. I wonder if he would go away if we ignored him.

  34. Geoffrey Skoll says:

    A little history of party politics in Wisconsin would be useful. The Republican party, at least portions of it, was the leftist party and the Democrats were the right wingers until the late 1950s. Then the Dems then went through the national transformation of becoming Kennedy liberals. In the meantime, the socialist base in southeastern Wisconsin slipped away when Henry Maier was elected mayor of Milwaukee.

  35. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Why should I go away, did major job in burying Russ and electing Trump: Yeah, now whine.

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