In 2024, It's Time To Play Offense

In 2024, It's Time To Play Offense

“Truth does not do so much good in the world, as the appearance of it does evil.”
― François de la Rochefoucauld

Happy New Year’s Eve from the beautiful little hamlet of Minocqua, Wisconsin.
We don’t have any snow up here yet, which always makes life a little harder for the local economy because this “vacation week’ between Chistmas and New Year’s is largely dependent on snowmobile tourism.
I remember gathering a number of fellow business owners in my old brewpub a year or so before the pandemic to discuss how we were going to survive these shorter winters, given that our sales were so dependent on winter sports tourists.
“Might we need to move away from focusing on snowmobile traffic and figure out how to attract tourists in other ways—like maybe through live music, festivals, fat bike competitions, etc?" I asked.
The group I handpicked to discuss this were business leaders in town I respected. They were watching their revenues decline winter after winter as snowmobilers kept driving past us to reach snow that was more reliable in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They understood what was happening—global warming was hurting our tourism economy in little old Minocqua.
While those folks whose economic survival depended on tourist revenue were planning for a  future with less snow, our local right-wing newspaper, the Lakeland Times, wrote columns downplaying global warming by quoting nutty theories, like ones from the Heritage foundation that linked warmer temperatures to solar flares, suggesting we’d get our winters back if we just waited it out.
I noted the cognitive dissonance between those who had the business sense to connect the dots between science and revenues, and others who just hoped and prayed really hard that we’d get snow by Christmas.
As I reflect on all that the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC has done since our inception on January 4th, 2021--two days before the January 6th insurrection--up until last Thursday, when we filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission to take Trump off of Wisconsin’s ballot, I realize that most of our activism in those two years was steeped in this same sort of cognitive dissidence:
We raised and spent over a MILLION DOLLARS in the last two years, with over 30K donations averaging ~$43, to basically remind people that a sizable minority of our country is living in a fact-free twilight zone, and that the majority of us living in reality had to stand strong against misinformation and outright lies in order to save our country.

If I can recap the last two years of our political activism, I’d conclude that both years were largely focused on making sure Wisconsin didn’t lose our democracy. The two most pivotal ways we protected Wisconsin’s democracy was by electing Democrat Tony Evers as our governor in 2022, and Justice Janet Protasiewicz to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2023.
Both wins ensured that Wisconsin’s executive and judicial branches of government would be a bulwark against future attempts to overturn the will of Wisconsin voters in the 2024 presidential election.
Said another way, if Donald Trump somehow made it onto the presidential ballot in 2024 because of a gargantuan failure from our federal and state justice departments to hold him and his accomplices accountable for aiding and abetting an insurrection against the United States of America on January 6th, then AT LEAST Wisconsin’s votes in the 2024 election would be counted fairly.
I’m proud of what we did over the last two years, but I’m even more excited about what we can do in 2024, because instead of playing defense to protect our institutions from treachery, we can finally start playing offense to strengthen democracy in Wisconsin, much like our neighbors in Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan have already done (sorry Iowa, you’re even more messed up than we are).

This is what we’re going to be focused on in 2024.

  1. Removing Trump from Wisconsin’s ballot for aiding and abetting the Jan 6th insurrection.  If Colorado and Maine can do it, so can we in Wisconsin, which is one of the six most important swing states in America. We plan to file our lawsuit next week in Dane County.
  2. Get rid of Wisconsin’s parasitic private school voucher system. While we weren’t able to save a lot of money in legal fees by convincing Wisconsin’s Supreme Court to bypass the circuit court and rule on our case directly, we will be filing our lawsuit in Dane County within the next two months as we look to partner with other organizations who can help us fund this longer and thus larger effort.
  3. Help re-elect Joe Biden and flip Wisconsin’s State Senate majority.  With the Supreme Court’s ruling that ended gerrymandering in Wisconsin, there’s a real chance that Democrats can win a majority of seats in Wisconsin’s State Senate with newly and fairly-drawn districts. This majority would force Republicans to start listening to their constituents and stop their political obstruction and dysfunction that has plagued our state for almost 15 years.

Ok, that’s all I have for you. Time to get a little exercise before I pollute my liver and stay up way past my bedtime to ring in the new year.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for believing in the Minocqua Brewing Company.
Together, in 2024, we’ll beat back the twilight zone of misinformation and start delivering positive change for Wisconsin, and by extension, America--one beer at a time.
Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC

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