“All we need is fifty percent of the vote plus one,” the [Republican] lobbyist told [Dale] Schultz and his colleagues [Republican legislators]. “If we get any more than that one vote, then we didn’t push the state far enough in the direction we want to push it [to the right], because we had votes to spare.”
“He [Former Governor Scott Walker] fulfilled a promise to one of his wealthiest donors that he would use “divide and conquer” against Wisconsin’s working class to break the power of their unions. His devastating success has allowed for the transformation of Wisconsin into a laboratory for corporate interests and conservative activists, a process that continues unabated.”
These passages are from the book “The Fall of Wisconsin,” by Dan Kaufman.
They explain the strategy Republicans have used for the last 12 years--not to govern the state of Wisconsin--but to gain power and erode our institutions enough to embed their power over Wisconsin in perpetuity.
Here’s the playbook.
- Teacher’s union too strong? Foment hate against teachers, gain power, and break their union.
- University system too progressive? Foment hate against professors and academia in general.
- Private sector unions (like iron workers) too strong? Tell them that the public-sector unions are lazy, that they steal your tax dollars, and that if you support Republicans, we’ll screw them but save you….only to screw private sector unions 2 years later.
- Education too good in Wisconsin? Schools actually teach media literacy so that we know when we’re getting manipulated? Cut funding dramatically, and give public school funding to corrupt private charter schools that can exclude any kid with special needs.
- School Boards stopping you from gutting schools entirely? Create a boogeyman no one understands, like Critical Race Theory, and compel an uneducated, ignorant, and kinda-racist-but-don’t-know-it-because-your-town-is-all-white-mob to overrun schoolboards.
- Pushback from voters who think this is all way too heavy-handed? Gerrymander the districts so their votes don’t count.
- Lawyers sue because gerrymandering should be illegal? Stack the Wisconsin Supreme Court with right-wing hacks with millions of dollars of out-of-state campaign money.
- Appeal to the federal courts? Stack the U.S. Supreme Court with right wing hacks by jamming through Trump’s nominees (Amy Barrett) and refusing to proceed with Obama’s (Merrick Garland).
- Do ALL OF THIS and STILL LOSE to Democratic Governor Tony Evers? Create a sham investigation with circus-clown Gableman purporting Trump election fraud, undermining future Wisconsin elections to the tune of now $1 million Wisconsin tax dollars.
- Polls STILL showing Evers is gonna win? Ban voting by proven-safe drop boxes to suppress voting.
It goes on and on…
…and guess what? Wisconsin isn’t really a democracy anymore.
Read that again. WISCONSIN IS NO LONGER A DEMOCRACY.
Our state is an absolute mess, but somehow progressives are still hanging on. But if we swing back to the right and get another Republican governor and/or U.S. Senator, America takes a step closer to the abyss.
But WHY, WHY, WHY can’t Republican voters see this?
After 12 years of deep manipulation, Wisconsin has fallen dramatically compared to our more progressive neighboring state of Minnesota. We’ve seen increases in child poverty, non-existent wage growth, steeps cuts in public education, decline in water quality, etc.
Minnesota reported wages and salaries totaling $11.9 billion more than Wisconsin in the first quarter of 2008. By first quarter 2018, that total wage gap had nearly doubled to $22.4 billion.
Why don’t Republican voters see this?
It’s all about FEAR. They keep fomenting fear through the culture wars (guns, gays, abortion), crime (blame Antifa but not Jan 6 insurrectionists or white supremacists), pseudo-economics (inflation is Biden’s fault), and people forget ALL ABOUT the fact their country is being stolen from them right before their eyes.
It’s actually biological. Multiple scientific studies have shown that conservatives tend to focus on the negative, have a stronger physiological response to threats, fear new experiences, and their brains are more reactive to fear.
The drumbeat of fear is actually the drumbeat that conservative minds are biologically attuned to, and that’s a powerful thing.
So how do we get them to forget their fears and see how they’re getting manipulated and screwed?
Through beer, of course!
It’s actually true. The Minocqua Brewing Company tries to reach them when they’re not watching Fox News or reading conspiracy theories on the internet. We reach them at the grocery store and when their progressive friends bring them a cold one after they get done fishing.
Where else can we reach them? Well, because we’re not millionaires, we’ve chosen to do it through social media and with billboards.
We spend $500 a week beaming the Up North Podcast to all of Northern Wisconsin through our Facebook page, and just took out $20K worth of billboard space through the November election reminding people that their Senator and Congressman have lied to them, and by doing so, are aiding and abetting a “cold insurrection” than can only be put down by removing them from office forever.
But we need a little more help paying for that $20K of billboard space. Last week, 360 of you helped us raise $15,236 with an average contribution of $42.32. That’s almost what we need. If another couple hundred of you throw in $50, we might be able to buy a few more signs.
Here’s the link to donate.
Also, we’re getting requests from other progressive groups to put our signs in their cities. This one just went up on Hwy 63 just south of Hayward. If you have a place you want to put a sign and can help pay for it, reach out to us and we’ll deal with the sign people—we’re good at that by now.
That's all I got for you today, folks.
I'm asking for donations again, but we're putting your money to good use and these elections coming up in November are crucial for Wisconsin and America.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for believing in us, and thanks for chipping in so we can ALL do our part in Northern Wisconsin to get our democracy back, one beer at a time.
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC