Sunday, May 31, 2015

The DPW Chair Race And The Millionaire's Dollars Question

As the gentle reader is surely aware, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) will be holding their state convection this coming weekend.  At the convention, delegates will elect a new chair to lead the party into the vital 2016 elections.

The five candidates are:
  • Jason Rae the establishment candidate and corporate Democrat, hand-picked by the departing chair, Mike Tate. Rae's campaign has been rather disappointing with a lot of negative attacks, faux outrage and melodrama.  Due to the way the system is rigged, he is likely to be the winner, sad to say.  If Rae is elected, don't look for much to change.
  • Joe Wineke, the former chair who gave us Tate and furthered the corporatization of the party.
  • Steve Smith, basically the "who's that?" candidate.
  • Jeff Smith, running as the outsider candidate. I like a lot of the things Smith has to say, but I'm very concerned that he chose an education privatization supporter for his partner.
  • Martha Laning, some people (the establishment caucus) have expressed concerns about Laning's relative newness to the party, which shows how tone deaf they are to what the general public is saying and their hypocrisy about telling people to join and organize if they want to see changes.  Laning also is saying a lot of good things and scored big when she picked State Representative David Bowen as her running partner.
While each candidate has their strong points and their weaknesses, there is one glaring omission that causes me concern - none of the candidates have talked publicly about the elephant in the room: the plutocrat Chris Abele.

Abele has to be one of the most unDemocratic and undemocratic Democrats in history.  In his few years as Milwaukee County Emperor, Abele has actively opposed almost every tenet of the Democrats' platform:
  • Abele has attacked workers, in both the public and private sector, and has pushed his pro-poverty plantation economics agenda.
  • Abele has abandoned Milwaukee's most vulnerable citizens to corporate wolves, which has already led to increased violence and death.
  • Abele has eviscerated representative government in Milwaukee County by decimating the authority of the Milwaukee County Board and consolidating power into his inept hands. 
  • As a side effect of Abele's power grab, he has also effectively ruined the farm team for Milwaukee Democrats and shrinking their already small bench.
  • Abele has attacked and undermined other Democrats besides those on the county board, like Senator Chris Larson and anyone else who dares to disagree with him.
  • Not only has Abele gone after Democrats, he's made campaign donations to some of the most rabid of Teapublicans and even held fundraisers for them.
  • Abele eagerly agreed to become Milwaukee's education privatization czar for the Teapublicans.
  • In exchange for being their education privatization czar, the Teapublicans are letting Abele throw the poor to the wolves so that he can have a new arena.
The list of examples of Abele's malfeasance goes on, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Yet despite Abele actively working against the Party's best interests, Democratic leadership has not only turned a blind eye to Abele's misdeeds but have squelched party members who would criticize Abele.



Abele is filthy rich and regularly cuts checks to the Party and Party members.  Ironically, as they allow Abele further weaken the Party, they become even more dependent on his money and the downward spiral the Democrats are in continues unabated.

If members of the DPW wish to stop the Party's downward spiral, to make the Party whole, and to start attracting members, activists and donors instead of driving people away, it would greatly behoove them to choose a leader that will put the Party's platform before Abele's pocketbook. They will need to choose someone that can not only stand up to Abele and his coercion, but wean the Party off of his money by being able to find new ways of fundraising besides selling out to the boy prince.
If they fail to do so and instead elect another chair that will grovel to Abele for his pocket change, don't expect things to get better for a long, long time.


  1. Martha Laning is an excellent choice.

  2. I don't think this is fair comment on Joe Wineke. I interviewed Wineke in January and he told that he - like a lot of people - he supported Tate in 2009. But to attribute Tate to Wineke is inaccurate and unfair.
    Wineke knows how to win elections, but I think if you were to interview him before attributing Tate to one person, you would find someone in Wineke running for Chair not for himself but for beating Republicans with message and communications. If you compare Wineke and Tate's record, the difference between the two is black and white. And Wineke never tried to rig the election for Chair, unlike Tate and his fellow Walkerites.