Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What Went Wrong In The Wisconsin Primary?

By Jeff Simpson

Capper recently gave his take on the recent primary election in Wisconsin and I wanted to also weigh in.  

Last Tuesday, Wisconsin held their primary which was the first time a partisan Presidential Primary was on the same ballot as a non partisan local and state wide election was on the same ballot.  

The turnout was surprisingly high for a spring election and the ballot was confusing.  For some reason there was a a spot at the top of the ballot where you could fill out Democrat or Republican. Why that would be a an option on a non partisan ballot is beyond me.   That being said, lets move on to the individual races.

The Top of the ticket featured the first time there was a contested Presidential primary in ages.  I Will not focus on the clown show on the right, instead lets focus on the Democratic Primary.

By now you know that Senator Bernie Sanders won the Wisconsin Primary, but lets look a little deeper.  Much has been said about the Republicans superior turnout, which led to the State of WI electing maybe the most unqualified Supreme Court Justice in the history of the United States,

There is more, there is always more!

While the Republicans did receive more votes (around 97000) the leading vote getter in the Wisconsin Presidential Primary was Senator Sanders:

Bernie Sanders  - 567,936
Ted Cruz   -  531,129
Hillary Clinton  - 432,767
Donald Trump    -  386.370
John Kasich  -  155,200

In the days leading up to the primary, Bernie Sanders was traveling the state holding rallies while Ms. Clinton was holding private events when she was not flying back to New York for a Lehman Brothers fundraiser.

With polls starting to show Ms. Clinton not having a chance to win the state, something amazing happened.   Almost every elected official in WI announced they were backing Secretary Clinton.  Then instead of giving reasons why, they circled the wagons and acted offended when being questioned.

Previous champions of labor like Cory Mason, Chris Taylor, Debra Kolste and Janis Ringhand inexplicably decided that the person who was in favor of every free trade deal in our history and championed the horrendous TPP would be the best choice for the people of WI.  

Unfortunately Bernies strong showing showed us why the Democratic party continues to be insignificant in Wisconsin, the huge disconnect between the party and the voters!

Quick piece of advice to the WisDems - Progressive populism is not against the law! Until the state Democrats begin to make this a priority:

Image result for bernie sanders rally

Over this:

We will continue to be a red state.

Things are not any better on the State party level, Martha Laning, State Party Chair, said that she would use her super delegate vote for the winner of the Wisconsin primary, and after Bernie won handily, quickly switched positions to sayings he would support whoever was winning at the end.   Thus telling 568,000 Wisconsinites who braved the weather, lines and restrictive voting laws, thanks for playing but the game is over.   Sit down and be quiet until we need you in the fall.  

The way that the establishment circled their wagons for the Wall St. Senator did not go unseen by the people of Wisconsin.    With Bernie Sanders outdrawing all candidates on a regular basis to great enthusiasm, it looked like the party establishment banded together to stop the Sanders uprising.   If only they were so united for workers rights, public education and jobs.    

The Supreme Court Race:

Wisconsin, despite already electing Mike Gableman to the Supreme Court has now elected someone even less qualified.   In doing so, there is much blame and self reflection to go around and none of it belongs to Bernie Sanders.

First, Judge Kloppenburg made it clear that she did not really want the help of the Democratic party since this is a "non partisan" race and the Democratic party gladly obliged.   Her opponent, was handpicked by the GOP, coordinated her campaign with the GOP and even let it be known that there was no need to even listen to oral arguments just rule how they tell her to rule.  

The two parties are playing different games by different rules and as long as that continues to happen the GOP will continue successfully stacking the courts.

Secondly, many people loved that at the insider dinner in Milwaukee before the election when Hillary laid into Rebecca Bradley.  While it was very much justified it hurt the cause.

No sane person would think that Ms. Kloppenburg was as hyper partisan as Ms. Bradley but when the establishment Democrat, with record negatives, lays into one candidate that confirms to people throughout the state that one candidate is an R and one is a D.

Now Ms. Kloppenburg is associated with all as the Democratic candidate and is twisting in the wind with no help from the Democratic party.

Again different games, different rules, same results.

Which brings us to the Milwaukee County Executive race.

While I live in Dane county and am not effected on a daily basis of Mr. Abele's poor policies. However as an observer from afar I found something interesting that no one seemed to talk about.  

By all accounts, Mr. Abele spent approximately $5 million dollars smearing former Democratic Senate minority leader Chris Larson.  What is important to note is that Mr. Larson was the former Democratic leader of the Senate when Mike Tate was the chair of the Democratic party.  In all of Mike Tate's elections, Chris Larson was one of his biggest supporters.  

Chris Abele hired Mike Tate to help him run his campaign.   Mike Tate then promptly went to work smearing his old friend and supporter.  Everyone knows that when Mike Tate took over the party, the Dems held both houses and the Governor's mansion and during his tenure they lost all three and have become irrelevant.   We see with Tate taking a few pieces to smear a friend, the lack of values and ethics and character, and a good part of the reason why the party is no longer relevant.  

One last observation.   In the five million dollars that Tate/Abele spent to keep his $130,000/yr job, how many times did they mention the importance of electing JoAnne Kloppenburg?  The same amount of times that anyone in the establishment has spoken up about Chris Abele working against the party.

My first recommendation for the party is to have Peter Barca resign his leadership position immediately and place Rep. Jonathon Brostoff Assembly minority leader.


  1. A lot of food for thought here, Jeff. Great essay!

  2. Peter Barca is as slimy a politician as there is -- thanks for calling this out. Mike Tate, Martha Laning, Barca...

    You couldn't write a better script for total republican control of a formerly progressive state -- the problem is the state's democratic party.

    1. Or the fact that Wisconsin is no longer a progressive state. We have to get over that fantasy and look toward to a future as planned out for us by the Koch Bros.

  3. Replies
    1. The state dem party message is not all too different than the corporate agenda you root for. So yes, their message is the problem -- Wisconsin voters have few real choices.

      So, while you may have brought a legitimate point to the thread today, don 't pat yourself on the back because you just proved your irrational hate has no basis in reality.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Kloppenburg said she would use the high court as a wealth redistribution center. PolitiFact confirmed that. How is that "corporate"? How is that "irrational hate"? (And I am not the one who advertises himself as "King of the Hate Left.")

    4. No she did not and no they did not.

    5. "Kloppenburg said she would use the high court as a wealth redistribution center. PolitiFact confirmed that."

      Not to break from his modus operandi, Blaska resorts to distortion, misrepresentation, and outright mendacity. This should come as no surprise, as these are the tactics he routinely resorts to. Here's what she actually said:
      "I apply the law fairly, and thoughtfully, and in a principled and disciplined manner to answer the legal questions presented by the parties in a case. I approach each case with an open mind, and my decisions are based on the law and the facts, not on ideology or partisan politics. I am faithful to the court’s role as an independent check and balance on the other political branches of government. My duty is to uphold the Constitution, a sacred document that represents the will of the people and which contains the fundamental principles that define our democracy, protect individual rights and promote a more equal society."


      So, nothing at all about, "using the high court as a wealth redistribution center"

      It's nice to see that Blaska is still a pathetic, intellectually dishonest, sycophantic shill that reinvents objective reality to fit his twisted narrative. Bravo asshat!

  4. First part of this is true; second part false. The party tried very hard to help and was refused.

    "First, Judge Kloppenburg made it clear that she did not really want the help of the Democratic party since this is a 'non partisan' race and the Democratic party gladly obliged."

    Kloppenburg chose to "twist in the wind."

    1. I agree with your comment that Kloppenburg chose to twist in the wind. All the more reason that its BS for establishment Dems to blame Sanders' voters.

  5. There is no rule that the Party can not help a candidate if they want it or not is there?

    Voter registration drives, mailers etc.....

  6. Totally agree that "blinky" has to go. And along those lines, is there a Democratic bench? Any at all? It's a serious question if any of you have ideas. Not who you want to be elected, but Dems that could actually get elected in a statewide race. Anyone?

  7. No democratic candidate with potential is "on the bench". The current Wisconsin Democratic Party Leadership (and the state party since Tate) has screwed us for DECADES!

    So when you are looking for someone to thank for turning Wisconsin into Wississippi, remember who destroyed the state party from within.

    Oh -- and these same political hacks want us to get behind Hillary Clinton -- should scare the beejesus out of everyone.

  8. Wow, I can't believe this post. First, I love Hillary Clinton. I have for many years so please don't go on any tirade with me about how rotten of a person she is.....it won't change my opinion an inch. That said, it was hard to take some of this without raised eyebrows because it seemed that you just randomly threw mud at Hillary because you dislike her so much, or perhaps hate her so much? Whatever, it was uncalled for in this piece and makes me think I need to take what you say with a grain of salt -- particularly since I noticed that Cory Mason was supporting Hillary long before the pre-primary polls you reference.
    Kloppenberg - she lost her race all by herself. I never liked her from the first time I heard her speak years back at a county dem party meeting when she wanted our support. Her voice was soft and almost brittle, she looked like she lived on a vegan retreat her whole life and inspired not one ounce of confidence from me in regards to understanding any real world situations many criminals have had to deal with. She wanted to slip in as an independent in an election that everyone knew was going to drag out every republican with cable news access and then she lost her hedged bet - it was her bet to hedge, but don't blame people who probably would have helped her had she been more straightforward with the public in regards to her political leanings. That would be called being honest and I for one like my judges to be, among other things, honest and straightforward. (yes, of course I did vote for her anyway).
    Yeah, I'll just stop here before I get ranting too much about and how long I have disliked Tate and that horrible little PR guy he hired.....who is still with the DPW as far as I know

  9. Jeff. Very thought-provoking essay. After I shared it, it generated lots if interesting back and forth on my Facebook. I'm not sure I agree with all of the specifics, but you're raising some very important questions. Would be very interested in interviewing you on my cable TV/radio show. See www.forwardforum.net for a list of recent shows and my contact info. Thanks for all you're doing to advance this important public debate!