There is so much mud flying, mainly from the DPW “leadership” camp, that it can be hard to keep track of the ways in which your opinion doesn’t matter, or the ways in which your vote for chair doesn’t count, is not informed, etc. Innocent questions asked on Facebook soon devolve into attacks on the asker's character, longevity with the DPW, local party affiliation, etc. ALL of the questions and answers below are based on personal conversations between Dem voters and people who know better than Dem voters: party insiders (mainly paid campaign consultants) who have a financial stake in getting their candidate elected.
We should be talking about why, as a state, less than 1% of the people who voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential election choose to belong to the DPW. We should be talking about why only a tiny group of consultants with very poor track records ever get tapped to run campaigns in Wisconsin. To quote Dr. Phil, "Based on results, how's that working out for ya?" We all know the answer to that. We see it in our paychecks, in our schools, in our degrading environments, and so much more.
Now, on to our questions and "answers" portion...
Q: What if I support someone for chair other than the person closely associated with the outgoing DPW leadership?
A1: When was the last time you came to a convention?
A2) Okay, so you went to the last several conventions. How about county party meetings and events?
A3) So you come to county party meetings or events. When did you start doing this? (This is usually followed by some reason why, if you have only been participating for 5, 10, or 20 years, you’re not really worthy, though the reason is not specified.)
Q: What if I want to vote for someone based on his or her resume? I like that some of these candidates have started or grown family businesses. That’s hard work. I like that others have lots of years of experience with volunteer-based non-profits.
A1: Some of these people have not even been DPW members for very long. That totally trumps real-world experience. I mean, how can we continue our winning streak if someone hasn’t been paying dues for years?
A2: They may not be tight with campaign consultants, and that might affect someone’s bottom line (mine).
A3: When was the last time you came to a convention?
Q: The next chair is going to need to unite rural and urban voters better than the outgoing one has. I hear so many tales of rural candidates getting ditched by the DPW. How can we compete if we keep this up?
A1: It’s who’s in tightest with the party establishment that will be able to make the biggest difference. (If you point out how poorly this has worked out for Wisconsin, they will refer you to answer 2.)
A2: How well do you understand the by-laws for the DPW or our local party? It sounds like you don’t know those, so I don’t have to listen to you.
A3: When was the last time you came to the convention?
Q: Why are so many party insiders saying that only one candidate has a plan? As far as I can tell, they all have plans, but only a couple have the real-life experience and grassroots connections to carry these out.
A1: Why are you so homophobic?
A2: That person was only chosen as First Vice Chair because they are Black.
A3: When was the last time you went to the convention?
A4: Have you even read the by-laws for the DPW?
Q: If the candidate with the deepest ties to the current DPW leadership wins, what will he do differently that will reverse the massive losses Wisconsin’s suffered since 2010?
A1: When was the last time you went to the convention?
A2: Some of the other candidates have not been members of the DPW for very long.
A3: These attacks on my favorite candidate just prove how little you know about politics/the party.
Yes, these answers are ridiculous and unacceptable. They are also real answers given to people who are sincerely looking for the best way to steer Wisconsin back to what used to be a proud Progressive tradition. Let’s vote based on experience, a candidate’s track record professionally outside of politics, and on the issues each candidate stands for. Let's stop with the non-answers and challenge everyone to make their case for their candidate, not their case against the person asking questions. May the best team for Wisconsin win!