Lost in Wisconsin

Dave Cieslewicz looks for a path to Democratic victory



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Absolutely right that redistricting is not the only cause of Democratic losses. I have heard my representative refer to it at several town hall meetings but when Democrats were in power they did nothing to safeguard redistricting, very shortsighted and now they are hog tied. Hillary Clinton was also the wrong candidate, I could not back her and I am female and usually vote Democratic, the party didn't listen to what was being said trying to stuff Hillary in everyone's face and indeed ignored white men. Bernie Sanders was more believable. When I look at the Democratic candidates available for both State and Federal office I can find little to get excited about; where are the young enthusiastic politicians? Too many old people are seeking office and they are saying the same old things. Democrats need to rebuild their platform from the bottom up and focus less on highly divisive issues like abortion. I know several people who vote Republican solely on that issue because of strong religious beliefs even though they lean left on environmental and social issues. Dems need some drastic changes.

Pat Witter 34 days ago

$leaze Prevails

The Republicans are propped up by sleazy billionaires who can drown out any message the Democrats have to offer. When they engage in criminal acts, our courts suddenly declare crime is legal - but only for them. Playing fair against people who will break any law and do anything to stay in power is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Nicholas C Zales, Esq. 36 days ago

Against Their Interests...

The condescension and dismissal is the key for many voters. "We know better than you how to take care of you" has never resonated with any voter, and it's almost always utterly false. As many of those you spoke with said, the "uneducated", "dumb" voters who went to Trump (and those who went third party to avoid Trump) do their homework, and understand why they're voting the way they are. When a Republican says something that resonates with them (such as needing a gun in a rural school to deal with dangerous wildlife), the talking heads for the Democratic party laugh, jeer, and don't think that perhaps this isn't a joke. Even with DeVos's terrible track record with her plan, she doesn't offend Republicans because she is actually addressing a problem they face. Sanders appealed to many because he was right on social justice while also not trying to entrench himself in "we know better" politics such as gun control, and he wasn't afraid to admit that the ACA was a mistake that needed to be resolved. The US is in need of "issue triage". Fix the environment first at the cost off all else - if we die because you didn't, the rest won't have mattered. Fix the national economy second. Fix systemic social injustice third. Fix the health care system fourth. These existential threats have been kicked around and used as a club to get votes without actually doing anything about them for so long that there was no credibility when voters were told the GOP would be a disaster on these fronts.

GonzoI 38 days ago

A Couple of Wolves

Would you, Dave Cieslewicz, sacrifice a wolf or two to pick up an Assembly seat? Sure you would, you're a practical guy. Would 99% of "Dane County liberals"? No way.

Would you, Dave, continue to support Senator Baldwin even if she supports returning wolf management to the states? Sure you would, you're a tolerant guy. Would 99% of Dane County liberals?

Jim Holperin 39 days ago

Lost in Wisconsin

One thing "Democrats" might find useful is to stop saying progressive, progressive, progressive all the time without ever saying what progressive means. In other words, stop talking to yourselves and start communicating with voters. I volunteered in 2010, 2011, 2012 and, sadly, last year. Each time it was ALL about getting out the vote ("GOTV"). No attempt was made to actually communicate with voters.

One of the reasons there was no attempt to communicate with voters was that there was nothing to communicate. None of the recent "Democratic" candidates for governor stood for anything except themselves. Even Russ Feingold last year fell for the consultant-driven approach of running for himself, just a nice guy who listens. And a new-found negative campaigning. He deserved to lose, and did. Now he is through. He would have been a decent senator, but his various "Badger" gimmicks and inept self-promotion doomed him to defeat. It wasn't his seat - it was OUR seat - and he lost it.

Next time maybe "Democrats" can run as if they believe in something. Instead of saying progressive, progressive, progressive to each other, they could actually push for progressive taxation. The first step would be to EXPLAIN what progressive taxation IS. It is not the same meaning as progressive, progressive, progressive. Progressive taxation means the rate of tax PROGRESSES as income (or wealth in the case of property tax) increases. Simply put, it means TAX THE RICH. When explaining it you only need to say progressive once.

The same goes for other issues. If you are going to advocate for abortion rights you need to say that abortion is not killing, and that supposed "Christians" are wrong in their posturing "beliefs" that the "Bible" forbids abortion (and a myriad of other things). Pregnancy is part of the process of creating life, not the nurturing of a life that already exists. It is a voluntary activity throughout the process, and only when completed is there a human life in existence. To say this means to stand for something. Otherwise, as "Democrats" have done in the past, it's all about hustling a constituency, getting them out to vote (GOTV).

None of this will happen, sadly, and the more likely prospect is that "Democrats" are licking their chops, counting on the meltdown of Donald Trump to have spread effects all the way to "downballots" in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, "Republicans" will continue to fake standing for something, fooling the voters, then laughing all the way to the bank. Some people never learn.

John Hamilton 41 days ago

I Forgot to Mention..

I forgot to mention that "Democrats" need to consistently explain that we have a mixed economic system, which combines private enterprise working in concert with government operations. Government is necessary in a mass industrial system to provide goods and services that the private sector cannot or will not provide. Roads, bridges, public transportation, emergency services, regulation of industry, defense, the three branches of government, and more recently retirement and disability insurance, and some guarantees of health care. These government functions are paid for through taxation, which is not a burden but an obligation for citizens in a functioning civilization. As economist Jeffrey Sachs put it, no taxes, no civilization.

We haven't heard any "Democrats" say any of these things in recent decades - except Bernie Sanders - and even he didn't say enough. Again, the main reason that they haven't said these things is that they, like the "Republicans," don't have any real beliefs, and thus have no clue of what to stand for - other than what polling data, focus groups and paid consultants tell them to believe.

The advantage "Republicans" have is that they are genuine sociopaths, and know that they can disguise their true agenda of crony capitalism in emotion-triggering propaganda and scapegoating. Their ongoing scheme of skewing power and wealth to the already powerful and wealthy will continue as long as the opposition tries to play it "safe" by playing reliable constituencies for chumps while wooing the mythical "center" with nothingness.

The only way out of this is for the citizenry to rise up and "drain the swamp," so to speak, of these nothing "Democrats," replacing them with people who believe in and stand for something. Or start a new party, but that doesn't seem to be much of an option.

John Hamilton 38 days ago

Lost in the Wildnerness

Well done. Yes, scrap the identity politics — it is destructive. That means Black Lives Matter. But also, quit the Cult of Victimhood. Support school choice. Demand accountability from everyone.

David Blaska 41 days ago


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