Monday, November 4, 2013

The Democratic Divide!

By Jeff Simpson

Mike Tate was re-elected last year at the 2013 Wisconsin State Democratic convention to lead the party again:
Mike Tate was easily re-elected state chair over Joe Kallas.

Tate received 476 votes to 95 for Kallas
In a party with over 15,000 members and with a million(give or take a few thousand) votes needed to win the Governor's seat, 381 people set the agenda for the 2014 election season.

That agenda has handed us a party of choice candidate - Mary Burke:

Here is Mike Tate when asked about Mary Burke:
"Should Mary get in and run, she would be an instant frontrunner and potentially clear the field," Mike Tate, the party chairman, told reporters in a conference call.

In response to the above picture:
 Gang- I often promote the FB pages of all Dems running for an office, especially higher profile offices. More of a public service. Did the same thing in 2010, 12 and now. Not an endorsement. We promote Democrats running for office. If another serious candidate for Governor announces you’ll see myself and the party do the same thing. If you want someone else to run, go ask them to do so. Additionally there is no primary at this time and isn’t unless someone else enters it. So much as with Tammy Baldwin last year the party will promote Mary’s candidacy and should another serious candidate enter the race would promote that candidates activities too. Don’t remember anyone complaining about us promoting Tammy prior to her receiving full support of the party. No difference here.
This from a Democratic Fundraising Letter:
Most notably, in a recent fundraising letter to Democratic Party members, state party chair Mike Tate flatly refers to Mary Burke as “the candidate who is going to win the game” against Gov. Scott Walker.
“We can elect Mary Burke, win Wisconsin back and restore our progressive legacy,” the letter concludes.

When asked about Vinehout, who has done everything but declare her candidacy for Governor:

While calling Vinehout a “phenomenal public servant and intellectual heavyweight,” state Democratic Party chair Mike Tate expressed concern that she would be able to mount an effective campaign, adding that it would be a “great loss to the people of Wisconsin” if she weren’t still in public office in January of 2015.

"The reality is that while we will never have as much money as Scott Walker it is not realistic to believe you can defeat him without running a serious, professional campaign that raises enough money to get the Democratic message out,” Tate said in a statement. “The stakes are too high for our families that are struggling under Scott Walkers policies for anyone to attempt a bid for Governor that will not and cannot raise the money needed to run a grassroots campaign that can communicate with voters at their door, via television, direct mail and the Internet. Modern times require modern campaigns."
Sure does not sound like equal support to me.  Sounds like someone has picked a side!  What does the Constitution of the State Democratic Party say about picking a side?
ARTICLE VIII – Endorsements of Candidates in Primary Elections
The state organization, congressional district organizations, county organizations, the College Democrats of Wisconsin, the youth caucus, and all other subdivisions at any level of the state organization are prohibited from endorsing or supporting any candidate in a Democratic presidential preference election or any partisan primary election which will determine the candidate of the Democratic Party for the ensuing election to office unless the county or local Democratic group or congressional district recommends a certain candidate (or candidates) be endorsed or supported due to unusual circumstances and these circumstances be submitted in writing to the state Administrative Committee in a timely manner for approval of an endorsement and support of a specific candidate (or candidates) for a specific reason and the Administrative Committee approves said recommendation by a two- thirds majority.Democratic Party of Wisconsin Constitution
I know Mary Burke has received other endorsements and I say good for her.  Her job, when she entered the race was to win it.  Her securing endorsements, means she is actively campaigning and has a strategy she feels will help her win.  I applaud that.

That being said, the Mike Tate blatant fawning is inexcusable.  There is no doubt who Mike Tate is favoring, and who he is supporting.   The head cheerleader routine needs to be explained and it should be explained soon and it should also be stopped.   If we do not follow our own Constitution, why have it?   

This picking a candidate and then attacking those who support anyone else, comes from the party and trickles throughout the state.  

It is up to the party chair to navigate the waters amongst the different factions and beliefs that make up the Democratic party not to foster them.

The Wisconsin Democratic Primary will be held on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014.  

At that time, if there is a split within the party, the blame will lie exclusively upon our party chair!


  1. I agree, mostly, with this assessment -- and you know me to be a defender of Burke, so take that as you will.

    I don't think it's wrong for Tate or the DPW to place Burke's information on their page, so long as they don't make it an endorsement AND they do so equally for any candidate who joins the race later. However, Tate's latest comments are what's troublesome to me.

    He is right that if Vinehout runs and loses we might be in trouble within her district. But it's not his place to say so publicly because it does come off as an endorsement, or rather a plan to prevent others from running.

    Even Burke herself has said she would welcome a primary challenge. Now, obviously she wouldn't PREFER it, but I think the chairman needs to take a cue from her words.

  2. I think that Vinehout has to resign her seat to run for governor. Right?

    1. That is correct. She can run for governor, she can run for state senator, but she can't run for both. The only time you can run for two offices in Wisconsin is if one of them is a federal position and the other is a state (which is why Paul Ryan was able to run for his House seat while also running as the VP to Mitt Romney).

    2. but she doesnt have to resign her seat she just cant run for it again.

    3. Thats not entirely true as she was able to run in the recall for gov.
      I believe the issue is that you cant run for two offices simultaneously which would be the case here.

  3. And this is exactly the kind of crap that will cause us to lose elections. The GOP is severely divided, so why do we have to follow suit? We Democrats are so good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    1. I'm sorry, is the primary tomorrow?

      Can someone explain to me why Dems have to get behind one candidate 9 1/2 before we are forced to pick one? No one other than the insiders who lost the last 2 elections on the state level can give a straight answer on this.

      If Mary Burke is the best choice to take out Walker and get Dems elected LET HER PROVE IT.

  4. Once Vinehout declares and the Wisconsin voters see her knowledge, truthfulness and her ability to expose Walker's backdoor dealings along with her expertise on the budget, debt and deficit they will see our next governor. People are tired of money buying one party government for an express few and Mr. Unintimidated will exit the Wisconsin political scene.

    1. I could not agree with you more. I had the opportunity to her Senator Vinehout speak yesterday. What a wonderful Governor she would make for our State. I am sick of people wanting only to defeat Walker. I wish to wake up the day after the election and have a winner with whom I'm proud to call Governor of Wisconsin. Please take the time to at the very least, listen to Senator Vinehout.

  5. In these political times, a good political candidate has to be marketable and have an attractiveness that crosses political "boundaries". Frankly, Vinehout is (hate to say it but) goofy looking visually, awkward in crowds and has a "tries too hard" vibe with me when I've seen her up close and in the Recall debates. She placed a very distant 3rd place with 4% of the vote even though she said she could deliver the western part of the state. She raised an anemic campaign amount (sorry, that counts) and worse, has to give up her seat to run against Walker. She needs to keep up the fight as she has in the past. Losing her seat and losing to Walker is not in anyone's interest. The demonization of Burke by some is exactly what the Walker campaign wants. Handing him an easy victory against Vinehout not only screws up Wisconsin more but give him national cred. If Vinehout is so confident, why is she scared to declare her candidacy?

    1. Kathleen is not scared but cautious. It costs Mary Burke nothing but money, which she has in abundance, to run for governor. It could cost Kathleen her political career. She deserves to take the time she needs.

    2. Tommy Thompson was goofy looking in the commercials he produced during his first successful run for Governor against the attractive Tony Earl. Guess what, the goofy- looking Thompson won. Never underestimate the desire of the public for a candidate who looks like a normal human being. Kathleen is incredibly knowledgeable on the state budget, as well as health care, family farming and she sees the devastation that frac-sand mining is bringing to western Wisconsin. Whereas, May Burke seems to be detached from the reality of ordinary lives. She thinks open-pit mining in the Penokees can be done in an environmentally safe way, despite all the scientific evidence proving this is false. Burke is a manufactured candidate and her staff's deliberate attempt to polarize the Democratic party and shut-out the base could doom her election chances. Where will all the door-to-door workers come from? Progressives are apparently supposed to give the Democratic party their money, their volunteer labor and their votes and then sit down and shut up while the honchos make all the choices behind closed doors. Of course, this is for the good of the party and democracy, right?

      Especially touching is the faux concern from the party apparatchiks that Kathleen Vinehout will lose her senate seat. You see, they are sand-bagging her for her own good. Isn't that swee

  6. That's what primaries are for.

    Let them both run and let the people pick the best.

    Bottom line.

    that's why it's called a Democracy.

  7. Kathleen Vinehout isn't scared to declare her candidacy. She is being smart by weighing her options before making a decision.

  8. If Kathleen Vinehout declares and the DPW does not give her the same treatment....then whine and cry about it. Until then you have nothing....absolutely nothing. Some dems can be worse than some republicans with the assuming...the accusations....etc. Geez simmmer down people!


  10. Most Wisconsin Democrats wouldn't know Mike Tate if he knocked on their front door and don't care what he thinks about who has the best chance to win.

    If or when Kathleen decides to jump in she will have the chance to make her case and let voters decide in a primary and it won't have much to do with Tate.

    Tate's job is to try and find at least one candidate who has a chance at winning - he's done that and everyone keeps beating him up for it. It looks like he might have two candidates which BTW is even better.

    For the record, Joe Kallas is a nice man, but was not a suitable candidate for State Chair - I was at convention and still can't believe he got 95 votes.

    Stop complaining and get out and support your candidate.

  11. Stop with the you will have your chance BS. Its fine for us to push a candidate, but its very hard when the state chair(irregardless if people know who he is) is pushing against you.

    Most people wouldnt know who Ted Thompson is but no matter how hard you push his opinion weighs incredibly more than yours.

    i cant believe that they are fine with 500 votes total deciding such things.

  12. Go ahead - have a primary. Then will you stop your hissy fits.

  13. Egging on KV is just plain stupid. She's unelectable.

    1. And you're the expert on electability because....

      John Kerry was the "most electable." Tom Barrett in 2010 and 2012 was the most "electable."

      Stop watching corporate pundits and start listening to history and real people, and you'll see why that argument is crap

  14. Mike Tate is preemptively attacking Kathleen Vinehout for having the guts to say that the only way to get rid of the undue influence of money in politics is to run against it.

    I expect that kind of garbage from Democratic power-brokers here in Illinois, not in Wisconsin.

  15. Poor little Mike Tate. He picked a candidate that many people don't care much for and now he's being criticized and even worse, someone else may run against his chosen one. Boo Hoo Hoo. Wisconsin has a primary system for a reason, get used to it.